Joey Crews

Joey Crews at his home on Hilyer High in Anniston.

Joey Crews has always liked helping people find their place. During his days at Weaver High School, he was the self-appointed welcome wagon for military kids new to town.

Today, he is still helping people find their place as a top-selling real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Group. Drive through a neighborhood with Crews, and chances are he can tell you who built that house, and who bought that house, and whose parents live in that house.

Crews found his place in 2009, up on top of a mountain in Anniston. If he had to write his own real estate listing, it would go a little something like this:

4 bedroom, 4 bath. Frank Lloyd Wright-esque. A little bit contemporary. 1 ½ stories with a full finished basement. Dramatic views.

The views are his favorite part.

The house was built in 1985 by Betty Faircloth, an art teacher and avid gardener. Her husband, Charles, drew up plans for the house but passed away before it could be built.

The house sits askew from the street because it is aligned precisely with the points of the compass. There are no windows on the north side of the house, but the south side features dramatic views down the mountainside, overlooking woods that bloom with redbuds in the early days of spring. At night, the lights of Oxford twinkle in the distance.

On the east side, windows in the bedrooms let in the sunrise. On the west side, floor-to-ceiling windows let in light that streams all the way to the other side of the house. “It all glows with the colors of the sunset,” Crews said.

Working with Anniston designer Scott Skinner, Crews has turned the house into a home that is at once comfortable and dramatic. There’s a statement chandelier in every room — sometimes two.

The walls are hung with abstract artworks, most of them prints made by Crews during his years as an art student at Jacksonville State University.

“I didn’t want to paint what I could see. I wanted to paint the things you couldn’t see,” he said.

Crews’ artwork is about emotions, colors, layers and textures — the qualities that also define the rooms in his home.

Crews grew up in Weaver, and was the drum major in high school. He started at JSU as a pre-med major before taking a job with the fashion-forward Merry-Go-Round clothing chain. He spent eight years working at stores in Birmingham, Georgia, Florida and Virginia, before the company declared bankruptcy in the mid-1990s and Crews decided to move back home.

He went back to JSU, where an art professor introduced him to the idea that art can make a statement, and Crews fell in love with printmaking.

Sometimes he would add texture to his prints with tiny beads or scraps of fabric. Sometimes he would take prints that didn’t turn out right and print something new on top of them. Or he’d tear up a print and use it in a collage.

“Experimentation is really what I love,” he said.

After graduating in 1999, Crews worked at the Anniston Museum of Natural History and at Southern Custom Exhibits, before deciding it was time to settle down and buy a house. He picked up a New Home Guide and realized that the magazine was about marketing, graphic design and sales — all of which he knew how to do. Plus he really liked talking to people. Real estate, he realized, was what he was supposed to do next.

He got his real estate license in 2002. Last year, he said he sold $33 million worth of homes.

Crews is attuned to connections, whether it’s connecting people with a place, or the past with the future. One of his artworks from college is called “Shifting Reality,” and it incorporates images of a keyhole and windows. Almost 20 years after he created it, Crews looked at it and asked, “Who knew I would be in real estate?”

Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or ldavis@annistonstar.com.

Features Editor Lisa Davis: 256-235-3555.

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