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  • Writer's pictureDO&Be Agency

Building Dreams and Making a Difference: The Marnella Homes Story

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

In the real estate and home construction world, there are those who build houses, and then there are those who build dreams and make a difference. Tony Marnella, the founder of Marnella Homes, falls into the latter category. This blog post delves into the inspiring journey of Marnella Homes and its owner, Tony Marnella, who epitomizes the values of DO&Be Agency's belief that if we do better, we will be better.

Tony Marnella's journey began with a childhood admiration for his mother, a trailblazer in the male-dominated engineering field. While he initially considered following in her footsteps, a fascination with design and drafting in 7th grade set him on a slightly different path.

Tony took one of the first-ever Computer-Aided Design (CAD) courses offered at Clackamas Community College. A subfield of engineering, CAD utilizes specialized software to create modular 3D computer models of objects and materials.

Behind-the-scenes work drafting plans left Tony unfulfilled, prompting a decisive shift in 1986 when he transitioned into his inaugural role at a real estate office. This bold departure from his initial career path marked the commencement of a vocation committed to aiding individuals in discovering not merely houses but homes — spaces where they could construct their lives and craft enduring memories.

Venturing into New Home Construction

Driven by a passion for design, Tony ventured into the realm of new home construction. As a real estate agent, he was drawn to work with home builders and often helped them customize their floor plans to suit their needs best.

Eager for his next challenge, Tony entered into uncharted territory by acquiring land in Canby, OR, where he designed and built two homes. Expanding his horizons, he developed land in West Linn, OR. During this phase, he was fortunate to partner with industry luminaries, including Dennis Palisch and Mark Nelson. He acquired invaluable insights into the essential qualities that distinguish a high-caliber builder.

In 2022, Tony formed a dynamic partnership with Nick Stearns, beginning an exciting chapter in home construction. This collaboration not only brought new challenges but also helped Tony to refine his skills as a home builder further. During this time, Tony was first introduced to the best practices of green home building.

The Unintended Value of Green Home Building

The decision to embrace green building practices wasn't automatic for Tony and his team. However, after learning about the PGE GoodSense program, he decided the incentives made it worthwhile. Almost immediately, customers began raving about the quality of their homes, and it became clear the value was more than just the incentives.

Tony Marnella Green Home Builder in Clark County

Tony realized the numerous benefits of building green homes. The focus on sustainability resulted in energy-efficient homes and significantly reduced warranty claims. As he continued to refine his construction processes, the pursuit of building green became a passion for Tony. Marnella Homes proudly offer "inspired natural living," with most homes exceeding code requirements by 30% to 40%.

Orchestrating Love and Compassion

In 2019, St. Jude Children's Hospital approached Tony Marnella with a monumental project: building a St. Jude Dream Home Showplace for the Clark County Parade of Homes. Despite just completing his own battle with cancer at the time, Tony took on the challenge wholeheartedly.

Marnella Homes donated 100% of the profits from the first St. Jude Dream Home Showplace to St. Jude. This proved to be a great success and inspired them to build a second home for the 2023 Parade of Homes, with all profits also going to St. Jude. The two homes together raised almost $1 million in contributions.

large group of happy people in front of a new home celebrating st jude
The community coming together to celebrate the 2023 St. Jude Dream Home!

Participating in the Building Industry Association of Clark County's Parade of Homes is no small feat. This event showcases the latest in home design, technology, outdoor living, and space use. Only the best builders in Clark County participate in this event, eagerly awaited by thousands of community members. Coordinating a St. Jude Dream Home, on top of that, adds to the achievement.

Tony humbly deflects the praise thrown his way, attributing the success of these projects to his trade partners and vendors. He emphasizes their generosity in donating time and supplies and infusing their work with passion and compassion.

"I am the orchestrator of love and compassion; my partners make this a success."

— Tony Marnella, owner of Marnella Homes.

During the construction of this home, an exceptional level of cooperation was required from all the different trades. Twelve various trades were working simultaneously in the same space at one point. Typically, a project would not see this sort of overlap, but during that crucial week, they came together seamlessly to meet the urgent requirements of the project. This exemplified their shared commitment to the cause and the intense pace at which the home needed to be built was successfully accomplished.

A Vision Beyond the Homes

For Tony Marnella, the St. Jude projects are about more than just homes; they're about creating a culture of giving in Clark County. He envisions laying the groundwork for a community where builders come together to make a lasting impact on important causes. The success of Marnella Homes in raising funds and awareness and creating a positive experience underscores the power of collective goodwill.

The vision is beyond the homes, but the homes are beautiful. The photos shown above are from the 2023 Clark County Parade of Homes.

The St. Jude Dream Home Showplace program is a community-wide movement benefitting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Trades, vendors, and local businesses donate labor, materials, and services. After the house sale, the builder's profit is donated to St. Jude. The program is one of the largest single-event fundraisers for the hospital, having generated over $500 million for research and treatment since 1991 through the construction of more than 500 homes nationwide.

A Legacy of Inspiration in Home Building

Marnella Homes and Tony Marnella embody the spirit of "do better and be better." Their commitment to quality, sustainability, and community impact sets them apart in the world of home construction. As they continue to build dreams and make a difference, the legacy of Tony Marnella and Marnella Homes inspires others to follow in their footsteps, creating positive change one home at a time.

As a dedicated marketing agency specializing in the home building industry, DO&Be Agency takes pride in spotlighting builders who share our passion for better. We invite you to subscribe to our blog, stay connected on social media, or reach out through our contact form to remain informed about industry insights, trends, and the stories of builders shaping a better future. Join us in celebrating the transformative journey of those, like Marnella Homes, who are dedicated to not only constructing houses but also fostering positive change within our communities.


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