Old Town Design Group transforms Carmel neighborhoods
By Stephanie Miller
“Outstanding Locations, Timeless Designs” - this rubric in action elevated Old Town Design Group from new unsettling neighbor to established well-respected resident just months after presenting their first model home in one of the city’s oldest sections. By securing obscure pockets of raw land and replacing aged structures with lively homes, partners Jeff Langston and Justin Moffett steadily transformed Carmel’s core community from retired to inspired.
Agents of Change
Born and raised in same the neighborhoods they are sprinkling with indelible charm, the pair share a passion for community, camaraderie and investing with the goal of making their hometown a great place to live, work and play. “We started building in the heart of downtown Carmel during the recession in 2009,” says Justin, CEO of Old Town Company, the land development and commercial property division. “Due to the downturn, we didn’t have work and figured we had nothing to lose.” The younger member of the team, just starting his career and a family, Justin expresses appreciation for his wife who was very patient with all of the struggles of launching the new business in tough times.
As a successful home builder/remodeler, Jeff Langston, CEO of Old Town Design Group and owner of Heartwood Custom Homes, was feeling the pain of the recession but hesitated to venture into a new scope he had been considering. “I wanted to do something in the core of Carmel to help bring people back to downtown living, but did not want to do a one-off and take the risk,” reflects Jeff. “My brother introduced me to Justin who had tied up two pockets of property that were large enough to build custom homes and create an upscale cottage-style community.”
Blackwell Park, located at 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street, and Cobblestone, along the Monon at 136th Street, was the start of a company that would grow to revitalize tired neighborhoods at a time when it was becoming acceptable to invest in downtown Carmel. Initially, some residents reacted negatively to the new developments as the agents of change swept into settled areas, demolishing, refurbishing and building new structures. Justin contends that someone was going to change the face of these neighborhoods, but unlike national competitors, as a local business their reputation is on the line and positive results matter. “It is my neighborhood too. My parents and grandparents live on the same streets where we are building homes,” says Justin. “We respect all opinions and go above and beyond to be good neighbors.”
Fit versus Fight
The difference between Old Town Design Group and everyone else is what has attracted more than 250 new homeowners since its inception in November of 2009. “We are all about building relationships and community in addition to building classic, innovative homes. Most important, we listen to our clients and give them exactly what they want,” explains Liz Yust, director of sales and marketing. Starting with an inspiration plan, future homeowners can select the specific features that fit their needs or choose to start from a blank canvas. “We help them find the right place for a new home that fits their budget. And we work with clients on every detail from concept to completion and beyond.”
Since setting the trend for craftsman-style homes influenced by east coast architecture, Old Town Design Group has expanded outside of Carmel’s old town to other neighborhoods in key locations. Jeff credits his wife, Wendy, a native of Connecticut and owner of interior design partner, Everything Home, for helping imagine and implement a coastally influenced blueprint that would “fit versus fight” existing traditional Midwestern architectural design.