Craft Realty

As a fledgling broker 17 years ago, a Realtor told Brandon Craft about her personal journey as a foster parent. Before leaving the office that day, he printed a stack of papers and forms to bring home and show his wife, Cherith. He excitedly told Cherith about being a foster parent, but she didn’t match his enthusiasm. She looked up from nursing their oldest daughter, Adlee, who was just two months old, and said, “We’re a little busy here.”
The couple abandoned the idea for over a decade as they raised their three girls, Adlee, now 17, Myla, 15 and Ciel, 11. But the big visions that come to Brandon and Cherith never go away, though they may lie dormant for years. The pair rely wholeheartedly on faith in God to open doors for them in His perfect timing. They dream big, work hard and walk step by step into the plans God has laid out for them.
As Brandon celebrates 20 years in the industry, he recalls hating real estate during that first summer he spent going door-to-door to talk to owners of properties for sale by owner.
“But little by little, I began to gain momentum,” he said. The seminary student bound for a life of missionary service overseas suddenly saw the mission right here at home. Two years later, he started Louisiana Dream Home and cut his teeth as a broker. That was 16 years, dozens of homes, and countless innovations ago.
What’s in a Name?
Brandon and Cherith run three small businesses out of the sleek and spacious spec home on Jefferson Hwy. Craft Realty Interiors Homes houses a full-service real estate brokerage, a luxury construction company, and a furniture and design company that creates spaces that inspire peace and hospitality.
The elegant decor and open floor plan draw guests in, while the drink menu and kitchen island make you feel at home. The showroom features a handpicked mix of classic and modern furniture pieces accented by ornate light fixtures that lead the eye straight to the gift table - a wishlist Pinterest board come to life. “We have our own line of candles and cocktail mixes, and last year, we developed a coffee table book that we put in each of the homes we build to tell our story and showcase our work,” Brandon explained. “It’s all part of our vision to create a crafted experience - no pun intended.”
It started with Craft Homes, a business Brandon never intended to create. After selling his share of Louisiana Dream Home in 2008, Brandon and Cherith began building their forever home. “That was seven homes ago,” Brandon laughed.
Soon after Myla was born, they completed a new build across the street that they moved into using little red wagons. When their original house didn’t sell, they pulled their wagons right back across the street. Thus began a cycle of build, sell - if it doesn’t sell, move - and repeat.
“These were big challenges to us at the time, and we look back on them now and realize it was the Lord providing a way for us to be in this business,” he said. “I didn't intend to be a builder - I was just building a home for my family.”
Craft Homes “clunked along” until 2012, when their bright and open home designs took off, and they built almost 30 homes in the Settlement at Willow Grove. Brandon, who had held on to his broker’s license, enlisted the help of a Realtor who worked with Cherith on interior design projects. Other Realtors joined the team one by one, and at four, they thought they had plenty. Then came Jen Burns.
“Jen saw the opportunity to build something significant,” Brandon said. “She is a force in this industry.” Brandon’s leadership style is to hire good people and get out of their way. And that strategy is the foundation of their iconic brand. Today, Craft Realty is home to 19 agents, with plans to welcome 20 more in the coming years.
“My hope is that people don't look at Craft and see me, even though it's my last name, but that they see a bunch of high-producing people excelling in their passions, whether that be as a Realtor, interior designer or part of the home building team.”
Unreasonable Hospitality
Each expansion in their life and businesses has come naturally. It always starts with solving a problem or a way to extend unreasonable hospitality - a book that has been a source of inspiration to the whole Craft team.
Their newest venture is their boldest yet. Craft Farms will be a luxurious equestrian community with a farm-to-table restaurant nestled in Mississippi but only 85 minutes from their Baton Rouge home. “The challenge is that we have a bigger vision than we have provision. It’s a huge undertaking that will take decades to be fully brought to light. But we are ready for it.”
The Crafts have started with 200 acres of land ripe for riding horses or dirt bikes and taking long walks in the woods. “At first, we bought it to keep our kids off of iPads, and that’s worked, he said with a smile. “When I pull onto that long gravel drive, my blood pressure drops, and peace begins to fill me up.”
They originally purchased 100 acres. Then, the neighbor's land went up for sale. When they went to take a look, Brandon envisioned aloud the farm-to-table restaurant he’s always dreamed of with a little house next door. Instantly, they remembered a conversation they had the first year they were married.
Cherith had just earned her degree in animal sciences. Her final project focused on hippotherapy, a physical, occupational, and speech therapy that utilizes a horse's natural gait and movement to provide motor and sensory input to improve neurologic functions and sensory processes for patients with physical and mental disorders.
The newlyweds dreamed of a sprawling subdivision with horses in the middle and houses around it, with hippotherapy available. “We decided then that it would take about 1,000 acres. And at the time, we had maybe $45 in the bank,” Brandon said, smiling.
“Buy it,” Cherith said as they looked at the sprawling acreage. And so they did. Yet another natural step into the next chapter God has already written for them.
It’s not the first time they have waited on God’s timing. Seven years ago, they officially became foster parents. “At the time, we were struggling to find our place in the church and a way to serve as a family,” Brandon explained. “We went to a campaign fundraiser for a mayoral candidate, and as they discussed the challenges our city is facing, it came together for us. We realized that we can give back by welcoming children into our home because one of our gifts is hospitality. I love to cook, and we are always entertaining. Hospitality comes naturally to us.”  Since quietly taking foster care classes seven years ago, the Crafts have offered nine children solace, safety and stability while in their care.  
“I hope that when my life is over, it is said of us that we ran our business with integrity. That we made time for rest. That I set my phone down during family time. That when I meet the Lord, I have lived the life that He laid out for me.”