By Lori Wilson » Photos by G. Frank Hart

Vahue Custom HomesThroughout their careers, realtors tour an abundance of homes. They hunt for their clients’ perfect space, no matter how many listings it takes. They’ve probably seen it all—from modern industrial houses to Southern-style cottages. But what happens when realtors take the time to think about what’s perfect for their new house?

Between the two of them, husband-and-wife team Sherwood and Diane Strickland have a combined 40 years of real estate experience. Just to give you an idea: one home per week would equate to touring 2,080 houses in their lifetimes thus far. They’ve seen all kinds of styles and features, and, along the way, they developed likes, dislikes, and must-haves of their own.

The Stricklands knew for years that they wanted to build their own custom house, but they patiently waited for the right lot. On the must-have list: a three-car garage for him and a pool for her. Larger lots for this sort of build are in short supply within Wilmington city limits. So, when a 0.51-acre listing close to their office and former neighborhood became available, they jumped on the opportunity.