Clay Chapman the Renaissance Man
Webster defines Renaissance Man as “a person who has wide interests and is expert in several areas.” This fits Clay Chapman to a T. He is a complexly simple man who can always manage to have an interesting conversation on just about anything. When he is not scaling the 30 ft tall chimney’s he likes to finish himself, you will find him in his hunting kayak, on the dock fishing with his kids, swimming the cove or picking his mandolin on the front porch. All of these things feed the mystery of who Clay Chapman really is. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, he will do a 20 foot free dive off the dock and finds a boy’s iPhone that sank to the bottom a month earlier. All this because he has a big heart and wants to leave a lasting legacy in his family and his work.
Clay is also the ultimate family man. One of his famous child rearing quotes is “Say ‘no’ less, mean it more.” Basically, don’t be a joy stealer and let them be kids. Let them pick snails from under rocks, catch frogs, or find friendly snakes. Let them play in the mud, run around without shoes, sword fight (with foam swords, wood swords were outlawed after an “incident”), scale the scaffolding at the job site, or pretend the empty lot across from our house is their “fort”. But, along the way, teach them how to respect nature and allow nature to do the job God created.
If you think Clay is amazing, you should meet his precious wife Katie. She is a wonderful woman who understands the life of a home builder, having been raised by one herself. Katie plays a very important role in the task they have taken on in Carlton Landing. She keeps the home front, volunteers at school as the librarian, keeps Clay focused, pays the bills, approves the home designs, and pretty much allows Clay to be the creative guy we all love. If there was no Katie, I don’t think Clay would be the man he is.
Clay Chapman is on a mission. We are HUGE fans of New Urbanism and Clay is a leader in promoting the principles of New Urbanism. We have started a series on those principles here, but Clay’s nearest and dearest is sustainability. He founded Hope for Architecture to spread the word about sustainable building practices and keep “Masonry Mass Wall” construction relevant in a disposable world. It’s hard to believe how disposable the things we use on a daily basis have become. Clay’s mission is to reverse that trend and not only leave a family legacy of home building children (hopefully), but a legacy of buildings that could last 1000 years! Just think, as the neighborhoods you knew growing up are being torn down and replaced with the same disposable stick frame structures, Clay’s homes will stand the test of time and provide a multi-generational legacy to those it serves. These structures are amazingly beautiful buildings that have benefits far beyond what this post can do justice. So, Clay took some time to answer some questions on why he does what he does and how it will impact the generations to come. Enjoy!
( apologies for the wind and crowd noise, there was a serious Bocce Ball game happening)