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DeerHart Design Homes
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About Craig and Elaine

    Craig began his construction career at the ripe old age of 12 when his father decided to put his young son to work on his form crew during school vacations and Saturdays. While it was not a mutual decision, it did give Craig spending money and by the time he graduated from high school he knew the trade well.
   For the next 11 years, Craig worked for various sub contractors learning all phases of residential carpentry. Because this period was during the 80's, work was scarce in Spokane and so he was forced to work for several small contractors but this gave him the opportunity to learn a variety of styles and tricks of the trade. Though times were slow, Craig never had to draw unemployment because he had learned well from his father how to work hard.

    In 1988, at age 29, Craig and Elaine,his wife of 5 years, moved to Annacortes on the Coast where for the first time he was unable to find a job and so he started his own business doing siding, finish and decks. From the day he started, he never had a down day. 
   During a vacation in Spokane Craig was approached by Bill Lawson of A&A construction and asked if he would do the siding on the apartment building he was starting at the bottom of the Argonne hill. And so they moved back to Spokane in 1990 with their firstborn, Jesse who was one year old.
   After siding the first building Craig asked Bill if he could also do the finish and cabinets. Bill agreed saying, "After watching how you work, I believe you could do anything you wanted." That project kept him busy until the spring of 91 when Craig became a partner with his mom and brother building houses.
   Their company, Homestead Construction, was well positioned for the oncoming building boom and during it's peak they built as many as 86 houses in one year. Craig's subcontracting company, Swanson Construction, did all the framing, finish, cabinets, painting and flatwork on all the houses, employing as many as 17 carpenters.
   During this period , Elaine was busy tending to four young children, doing the bookwork, and running Homestead's warranty program. She developed Spokane's best program in which she would do a thorough walk thru with the new owners at 30 days, then schedule workers to take care of any problems.
She repeated this process at 11 months.
   After 10 years and more than 400 houses, Craig had had enough of production building and wanted to design and build more creative homes and so they started Dearheart Design Homes. For the next three years they built one house at a time, with Craig drawing the plans and doing all the carpentry and painting with one helper. Elaine did the scheduling, books, cleaning and interior design.
   Next they made a major career change and opened a nightclub and restaurant called the Rock Inn at the old Plantation at Sprague and Vista. It was a fun learning experience and they made it a success by working it very hard but after nearly four years they decided it was taking too much of their time away from home and so they decided to leave when the landlord wanted a large increase in rent.
   In 2006 they started Craig's Building Services,  doing custom homes and remodelling. Again Craig was back in the field with his nail apron on leading his crew like he had for so many years. But Craig is a diverse fellow with an eye for designing as well as building and so he soon started Spokane Discount Drafting and began putting his years of experience in framing, and foundation work and homebuilding and plan drawing to work drafting plans for other contractors and home owners.  
    Next they were able to resume building and designing original new homes to sell (spec homes). So they brought back DeerHart Design Homes and once again began building homes unlike nearly all local builders in that they are original designed homes built by the builder's own hands with the very large added bonus of having a woman's designing touches.
    While building and drafting by day these past few years, Craig has also been busy writing his quarterly newsletter called the Spokane Valley Scoop which features profiles on interesting Valley people as well as has interesting tidbits on Spokane Valley history and ways to save money in the Valley. He also does a blog with the same name that comments on Valley hospitally businesses and different meandering thoughts as they meander through his head.

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