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Our Team

 

Jeff Kerby:

I was raised in eastern Oregon, son of a ranch manager and a nurse. In between making hay and weeklong mountaintop cattle drives, we built barns and remodeled our bathroom (“In forty years”, my mother now laughs, “that was the only time we considered divorce”). Growing up two hours from a grocery store and five from a shopping mall or home center meant that we muddled our way through what seemed like everything, from roof leaks to new foundations, much of which could not be accomplished with baling wire. Not being satisfied with that much adventure, I went to study at a university across the country, then to a couple across the Atlantic Ocean.

In Europe I came to love the art of building – not so much the monuments and museums, but the look and feel of back streets and country villages. My desire to help create and renew such architecture grew during a stint teaching literature at a university in north Africa, and eventually overwhelmed me when I came to New Orleans. I undertook an accelerated apprenticeship working for a series of contractors, met Jackson, and soon felt compelled to start Kerby & Company.

Our company is the culmination of my childhood and my travels, together with Jackson’s passion and talent for carpentry. My hope for the future is to draw on all our experiences and express our values in first-class renovation projects that instill pride in homeowners, craftsmen, and communities.

 

Jackson Flanagan:

All I wanted was a treehouse. I never planned on becoming a builder.

While enrolled at Loyola University in New Orleans I spent my free time drawing plans and considering the logistics of building in the trees. I attended treehouse building workshops, read about the load-bearing abilities of local trees, and toured all the construction projects in my neighborhood. I observed and I sketched diagrams of how carpenters had framed walls and built windows. With a drawing in one hand and a nail gun my dad bought me in the other, I began my first house.

Several months later my dad spotted a story in the paper about a TV show that was coming to Louisiana to build a treehouse for a young boy with leukemia. Next thing, I was on the Discovery Channel show, Monster House, working with some of the greatest carpenters I have met to date. My luck kept improving, as several months after we filmed that episode I got a call from California. The producers wanted to fly me out to Los Angeles so I could be on an “all-star” episode featuring their favorite builders from past episodes. Once again, I joined them for a whirlwind project. One week in the California sun convinced me to stay. I continued working with Monster House as a behind-the-scenes carpenter. We built pirate ships around swimming pools, turned jet planes into playrooms, and ran roller coasters through family rooms.

At the same time, I also worked with a residential contractor who remodeled high-end homes around Beverly Hills. Those projects turned my interests from the Disney style hijinks of Hollywood to the serious craft of carpentry. Following a rigorous apprenticeship I returned to the recently devastated city of New Orleans. While helping rebuild the city, I reconnected with my life-long love for old buildings and architectural salvage. As I worked on renovations throughout the city I met another carpenter who shared my enthusiasm for old New Orleans homes. After several projects together Jeff and I decided to start our own company, one that would emphasize quality craftsmanship and improve on the management and customer service failings that we had observed in other contracting companies. These continue to be the goals of Kerby and Company.

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