New townhomes in Fairplain are an 'investment in Jackson County'

Suzette Lowe
Newly constructed townhomes in Fairplain offer a gated community in Jackson County.

When Scott and Shawn Darnold saw the acreage on top of a hill in Fairplain, they knew they had found the ideal place to fulfill Scott’s 25-year-old dream.

“I’ve always wanted to build high-end beautiful townhomes or condos,” he said. “I knew when I saw the view from here, it would be perfect,” he said.

After seeing the property at the top of the hill, few people would have the same vision as the Darnolds.

“Most people would think building in a city like Charleston or an area like Teays Valley would be the obvious choice,” Scott said. “We saw things differently. We saw the potential for a beautiful development up here.”

The end result will be four luxurious townhomes, with the goal being in Scott’s words, '32 front doors.'”

Coming up with the name that was simple but told its own story was one of the hardest parts.

“We thought of calling it Seven-Seven because of the interstate,” Shawn said. “But that didn’t feel right. We even put the question out on Facebook.”

Ultimately it was their Kenna postmaster who came up with the perfect name.

“He said, why not just call it The Ridge,” Shawn said with a laugh. “I thought it was brilliant. It’s catchy, simple and it sure describe its location and its charm.”

Scott, whose family has been in both construction and the HVAC mechanical business for four generations, said he knew there was a market in this area for these homes.

“We knew it might be limited at first,” he said. “But with the view, the quiet and the security these offer, their appeal is just going to grow. In fact, we’ve pre-sold two of the homes already.”

Local realtor Brittany Davis can attest to the demand.

The natural view will never be obstructed, according to the developers.

“I get so many calls from potential clients asking for this type of home,” she said. “They don’t want to live in the city. Instead, they want the hills and nature while still having luxury. The Ridge offers this and I’m so excited for Jackson County. With it being a gated area, it’s very safe which is tremendously appealing.”

The Darnolds have put their own labor into the project.

“I can’t tell you how many weekends we were out here last summer,” Scott said. “Clearing trees, working on the road, cleaning up was a lot of hard work. We’re not afraid to get our hands dirty, that’s for sure. Arnold Bailes, my son Noah and I spent countless hours, but it was all worth it.”

The foundation for the four townhomes was laid in November 2020 and it is hoped that construction will be complete in late August of this year.

“We did everything humanly possible to use local labor,” said Shawn. “That is always our goal. Sometimes it’s not possible, but we certainly tried.”

Shawn describes the builder they chose as being ‘family.’

“Damon Grose built our home in Kenna,” she said. “He was the general contractor we knew we wanted to use.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, both labor and supplies have been harder to get.

“The cost of materials and the difficulty of delivery have made this whole thing more difficult than we expected,” said Scott. “But we were determined to maintain our standards. We won’t let the economy dictate the quality of our work.”

They were also very interested in listening to what potential clients wanted.

“Not being able to hear what’s going on in the townhouse next door was extremely important,” she said. “We have four layers of drywall and extra insulation to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Keeping the view was also important.

“That beautiful view will never be obstructed,” Shawn said.

While the four current townhouses are two-story, there are plans to make duplexes available.

“We’re always going to be aware of what’s needed,” Scott said. “And that is one-story living with no steps. That is coming at some point.”

Walking trials and a basketball court are also being planned.

“It’s a perfect area for hiking,” Shawn said.

The Darnolds have kept a bit of property reserved for themselves.

“We’ve talked about possibly building up here,” Shawn said. “But we have our own beautiful hill in Kenna where our children and grandchildren live close by. I don’t know that I could ever leave there.”

As for the additional townhouses, Scott said they’ll know when the time is right to start on those.

“We feel like we have done something others were afraid to do,” he said. “It was a leap of faith in a way, but I have confidence that this is the right way to go. We knew without a doubt we wanted to invest in Jackson County.”

Scott also hinted that he has another project in mind, although he would not say where or what it would be.

“I’ll have to convince my wife that we need to do it,” he said with a grin. “But I have my kids backing me up. She says she’s done, but I’m determined. It’s even bigger than this.”

After seeing his dream of The Ridge coming true, it’s a safe bet that the new project will happen as well.