Generational Talent

Burley Building Company’s Nate Reister continues a family legacy on his own terms

Photography by Grant L. Gursky

Nate Reister is as skilled and worldly as a man twice his age. The 36-year-old owner of Burley Building Company also believes truth and honesty should prevail in every builder-client relationship and that producing value, not profit, should dictate decision-making. Founded in 2015, his Burley Building Company has quickly generated a reputation for creativity, ingenuity and the ability to seamlessly accomplish new-construction and historic-renovation projects. 

Born and raised in Berlin, Nate grew up in the building business, watching and working with his dad, Henry “Clay” Reister IV, at Reister Enterprises Limited. Their family, whose legacy as carpenters in Maryland dates back nearly 300 years, was responsible for building a significant portion of Reisterstown, appropriately named, before relocating to the Shore in the 1970s. 

“Learning the family trade was important to my father,” Nate said. “I can definitely say I would not be doing this today if not for my father and that legacy.”

After graduating from Stephen Decatur High School and Wake Forest University, Nate moved to Mexico to build wattle- and-daub structures for nonprofit organizations. From there, he ventured to the Great Northwest, settling in Vancouver, BC, where he spent the next decade working for premium builders of the region — including one that constructed exceptional timber-framed offshore cabins for wealthy clients. The experiences and materials are found in the unique, hybrid timber-frame construction style Nate employs today.

“We primarily have a craftsman-farmhouse style and incorporate some timber-frame applications to our designs,” said Nate. “Most people associate timber framing with raising them barn-style, like the Amish do. I’m more building the house out of conventional framing and then putting a timber frame inside it once it’s built, which allows me to control moisture variables inside the building. Once the envelope is up, it’s great for creating a longer-lasting product and reducing sag or gaps in the floor.

“Another benefit of timber framing is that it allows us to create energy-efficient balloon-frame models that then allow us to insulate closer to the outside of the house,” Nate continued. “The last one we built, at Ironshire, the monthly heating-and-cooling costs are next to nothing because the entire envelope is sealed properly.”

Burley Building Company’s small but supremely talented crew literally build their homes from the ground up. Nate said his team’s old-school construction principles are rooted in meticulous craftsmanship and limitless creativity. They pour their own foundations, construct and finish their own cabinetry and lay their own tile, which additionally minimizes the number of subcontractors on and off the project, limits costly mistakes and reduces overall project delays.

“This is where we have another competitive edge,” Nate added, “because we’re able to shave a tremendous amount of overhead that traditionally gets marked up and passed on to the homeowner. Everything is managed in-house, so our clients can enjoy peace of mind, knowing there are very few people on and off the property.”

Burley Building Company’s work is becoming instantly recognizable throughout Berlin, in particular, as the company’s talents are on display in a number of new-construction and historic-restoration projects throughout the town. Nate and his team have also built recently in Ocean Pines, West Ocean City, Snow Hill and Public Landing, among other locations, and will travel as far north as Bethany Beach for a new endeavor. 

“I want to produce homes of quality that are exceptionally well-made and will endure the tests of time,” Nate said. “And it’s important that we do it the right way, through open and honest conversations with our clients. We’re here to be their advocates and to build their dream homes with great care and quality at an affordable cost.” 

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