As we are celebrating our 30th year of building homes in Nashville and Middle Tennessee, I began reflecting this Father’s Day on this long journey and our legacy. Naturally, my thoughts turned to that of my father and the influences he has had on not only my life but that of my brothers as well. I am a second-generation builder as my father entered the home building business in 1957. Fresh out of the Air Force and having served in the Korean War, he was attending Florence State on the GI Bill.  Being married to my wonderful mother, he quickly figured out that dissecting cats in Biology wasn’t going to pay many bills so he dropped out and began his home building career – a decision that would turn out to be life changing.

James Carbine, Carbine & Associates

James Carbine and his father, Gene Carbine,  in a 1949 Mercury two- door coupe similar to the first car he owned.

The home building industry was much different then than now.  His first contract to build was a total of two short paragraphs signed by both parties.  He still has that original contract.  Today, many contracts are ridiculously lengthy covering every type of scenario imaginable. Footings were dug by hand – not backhoes and mini excavators.  The same guys that dug and poured the footers also framed the house, roofed the house, hung the drywall, hung the doors and trimmed the house as well as build the cabinets onsite. There were no nail guns as these men could sink a 16-penny nail with two strokes of the hammer.

During the summers, it was a special day when it was your day to get to go to work with dad.  Mom would fix you a lunch just like she did for dad each and every day.  After an early breakfast, off you would go in the unairconditioned two-door Ford truck that sounded like you were in a tank when you closed the door.  We would visit the job and always each lunch with the crew usually under a shade tree. I remember watching and listening as dad talked with each one asking about their families, their children etc.  At the end of that special day, dad took us by the building and supply store to pick out a knife! It was special not only to me but my older brother, Denzel, and younger brother, Rusty, as well.  Little did we know then that years later we would follow in those same footsteps and make the decision to enter the home building industry.

Denzel entered first in 1984 as my Dad offered him a position in Nashville running a major project.  Denzel was a practicing civil engineer in Mobile, Alabama at the time.  The opportunity to begin building homes in the Maplewood community in Franklin presented itself in 1985 and the second generation of Carbines began building.   I joined Denzel in September of 1986 and Rusty, also a licensed civil engineer, joined us in 1988.  Rusty moved to Florence in 1990 to work with my Dad and eventually take over his commercial construction company. In 2007, we lost Denzel in an auto accident.

So a decision in 1957 by my father began a 58-year journey in the building industry that still continues today and we celebrate 30 of those years building homes in middle Tennessee.

Thanks Dad and Happy Fathers Day!


James Carbine and his father on the night James was inducted into the Home Builders Association of Tennessee Hall of Fame.

James Carbine and his father, Gene Carbine, on the night James was inducted into the Home Builders Association of Tennessee Hall of Fame.

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