Local Real Estate Agent Tony Cornner Has Been Working On His Dream Home. He Began With A Stunningly Beautiful Deck On The Water
Many people consider building a home part of the great American dream. In Southwest Louisiana, that dream often includes a home on one of our many waterways. A home in such a location provides easy access to boating, fishing, and recreation.
Tony Cornner, a local real estate broker with Century 21, has been working on his dream home for the past two and a half years. He started the process by buying a double lot on River Mist Drive in the Southpark Manor II subdivision in Moss Bluff.
“We bought this property from Sonny Mathis and I had a vision of what I wanted to do,” says the 47-year-old Moss Bluff native. His vision includes an elaborate 200-foot-long deck along the narrow bayou that meanders through the neighborhood and connects with the West Fork of the Calcasieu River. “It’s really peaceful here,” he says.
The deck work is nearly complete, and the family has already enjoyed bringing their jet skis to the site and eating crawfish at the covered picnic table.
Within a couple of months, Cornner plans to begin work on a 4,200-square-foot home, complete with a pool and outdoor kitchen.
The road to a dream can often be rocky, fraught with problems and setbacks. Cornner’s first challenge was to dredge the one-foot deep waterway, which was essentially only a drainage ditch initially, to a depth of six feet. He hired Dean West and his track hoe to help with the work. Then Cornner built a bulkhead to shore up the bank.
“We put the wall up, but we had problems with it. One night, we had about five inches of rain. The water tore the bulkhead into the water.” All their hard work washed into the ditch.
Fetching the bulkhead out of the water was the next major challenge. It took several months for Cornner to renew his confidence, but he persevered and started over. This time, he incorporated additional drainage and expects the wall to remain secure. “We’ve made it through several hard floods and it’s holding.”
A Labor Of Love
Cornner has done the majority of work himself, including building the deck and walls and landscaping with plants and grasses. He’s had help from his brother Dennis. And his wife Sandra provides support and basic cheerleading.
But his son Jarren, a 20-year-old McNeese University student, has been Cornner’s greatest asset. “He’s wonderful. He’s helped me through the whole process,” Cornner says with pride.
“You probably don’t realize how much it means to you until you’re almost finished. While you’re working on it, you might not think it’s worth that much, but it’s made us real close. He’s been with me working on it since the beginning. It’s not typical of a young man his age. He’s very respectful, and I think he’ll do very well in life.”
The Cornners have another older son who lives out of town.
Building A Neighborhood
Cornner is president of the homeowners’ association at Southpark Manor II. There are currently three homes in the neighborhood. Five more, including the Cornners’, will be built within the next year or two.
As president, Cornner has taken it upon himself to do some neighborhood improvement projects, such as planting Japanese Clumping Cane, which will eventually form a privacy hedge along the highway.
He originally purchased three lots on the subdivision. He sold one, and considered selling these other two, but he’s put so much work into the double lot, he’s decided the property is home, and he’s excited to build on it for himself and his family. “We love it here,” he says. “We love Moss Bluff.”