They say things get better with age, and I couldn’t agree more. As I sit and reflect on the eight-year anniversary of the partnership between Schumacher Homes and the Earnhardt Collection, and more importantly my friendship with Rene’ and Kerry, I realize that the same words I would use to describe them, are the same words I would use to describe the elements of an Earnhardt Collection home: authentic, family oriented and inspired by nature. If someone were to ask me today to build an Earnhardt Collection home myself, there would be a few design characteristics I would be sure to include that would feature those same authentic, family oriented and inspired by nature elements.

There is nothing more authentic and real than incorporating wooden beams in your home. Similar to the beams in the new Charleston Earnhardt, exposed beams provide an architectural details unlike any other. When installed in an open concept home, they can help unite spaces and provide ceiling height, making the space feel even larger.

Family tested products are a must. With an active household, muddy boots and our four-legged family members, utilizing a strong, durable flooring throughout the home would be a must-have in an Earnhardt Collection home. A perfect option would be luxury-vinyl tile (LVT). LVT is highly durable and scratch-resistant, making it an excellent option for heavy traffic areas. It is available in several unique colors and designs, many inspired by natural, outdoor patterns.

In several of our Earnhardt Collection homes, kitchens are the central hub, a place where families gather and traditions are made. And that is no different for my family. It is the go-to gather spot for us. Similar to the design of the Charleston Earnhardt kitchen, an open kitchen with a large island would be an essential element. Timeless, white cabinets with a textured tile, shiplap trim and sleek stainless-steel hardware blend together nicely for a traditional, Carolina home feeling. I would also incorporate wood beams, that extend from the great room to the kitchen and earthy, tone flooring, providing an inspired by nature element, that is complemented by the natural light from the wall of the windows.

René, Kerry and their entire family are one of the great All-American families, and just like the values wrapped around the Earnhardt name, there is something very distinctive in an Earnhardt Collection home – authentic, family oriented and inspired by nature. Those same characteristics are also true of René and Kerry.