Photographer / Jim Hunt

When it comes to building homes, Chris Monroe of Kokomo-based Monroe Custom Homes refuses to cut corners.

“I’m as much of a perfectionist as I can be,” Monroe says. “I only like things done one way, and that’s the right way.”

Founded in 1994 by Chris and his wife Vanessa, Monroe Custom Homes, Inc. builds homes in Central Indiana with a focus on Kokomo. With projects large and small alike, the company uses a no-nonsense approach, while also making sure customers are always satisfied.

Originally born in Oxford, Ohio, Monroe worked for Baker Concrete Construction, Inc. from 1989 to 1994. While on a job in Kokomo with the company, he met his wife Vanessa. Eventually, he decided to leave Baker Concrete Construction in order to pursue his own personal dream. This is how Monroe Custom Homes began.

“I didn’t want to travel anymore,” Monroe says. “I really liked building houses. That was the thing that I really wanted to do. So I just quit and started from scratch here in Kokomo.”

Like any new company, Monroe Custom Homes had a humble beginning.

“I had enough money to buy a lot, and then I did a little spec home,” Monroe says. “I ended up selling it. And then, I did a second one and sold it. I started getting some open houses and some customers and things just kind of snowballed from there.”

Over the years, Monroe has seen the city of Kokomo change. Nevertheless, he’s still happy to call it home.

“When I decided to start my business, at that point in time, Kokomo was a thriving town,” he says. “We had all the automotive business and housing was booming, so I thought this was as good a place as any to start.

“I like it here,” he adds. “I like the size of it and everything about it.”

Recently, Monroe worked on a unique home for Barb and Brian Adams of Kokomo’s Adams Auto Group. To give the home a rural look, he used reclaimed barn wood that he stumbled upon through another project.

“I really wanted to build a log cabin,” Brian says. “Chris was up for that, but my wife wasn’t quite that rustic. So we made a happy medium by using a lot of reclaimed wood out of these barns.”

 Inspired by the show “Barnwood Builders” on DIY Network, the Adams’ home turned out just the way they had in mind.

“We still have all the amenities of a new, luxurious home,” Brian says. “But when you walk in, you’re wowed with the workmanship. These beams were all hand-hewn. They were done more than 100 years ago by guys using axes. This all still shows up [in our home].”

 By project’s end, Barb and Brian Adams also had a new friend in Chris.

“We started out as acquaintances, but we finished out this job as close friends,” Brian adds. “I certainly would recommend him to anyone at any time.”

Monroe Custom Homes is located at 1836 S. Plate Street in Kokomo. You can also visit them online at and give them a call at 765-455-2993 for more information.

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