A latex unicorn mask hangs on the back wall near the window of Katherine Bardis-Miry and Rachel Bardis’ shared office.
“We’re kind of weird,” Katherine laughs.
They are different, at least. The mask, a remnant from a Christmas party a few years ago, is an unusual detail in an otherwise normal-looking office that’s a metaphorical reminder that they, as young women in the construction industry, are rare.
The cousins, founders of Bardis Homes, based in Sacramento, come from a family of builders — their fathers have been developing homes and office complexes for nearly half a century. Rachel, the elder of the cousins by 12 years, and Katherine weren’t close growing up because of the age gap and they lived in different towns (Rachel in Sacramento and Katherine in Pebble Beach), but the Bardis family network always stayed connected. Katherine moved to Sacramento to attend McGeorge School of Law, and in 2012, she was in her final year, studying for the bar exam and doing an internship when Rachel — who by then had already worked in real estate, property management and homebuilding — asked Katherine, “Do you want to practice law, or do you maybe want to do some development together?”
Katherine’s father, Christo Bardis, offered them four lots in the Pocket Area to develop as Bardis Homes, and despite Katherine’s load, she took on the challenge.
“I don’t know how she survived,” Rachel says.
“I’m still recovering,” Katherine jokes.
Since then, the business partners have worked on multiple development projects, predominantly modern-style single-family urban infill, including The Good Project and The Savoy in West Sacramento, and their largest project, The Mill at Broadway in Sacramento.
The Mill, in an industrial corner of the city south of Broadway, is on about 30 acres, with homes priced from the high $200,000s to the $600,000s. “They range from 500 square feet to 2,000 square feet, so they’re perfect for a single person or first-time homebuyer,” Rachel says. At full build-out, there will be more than 1,000 homes. So far, 300 are completed.
Katherine says Bardis Homes is trying to fill a void in the Sacramento housing market. “A lot of the first-time homebuyers specifically were underserved with the opportunity to buy a new home,” she says. To differentiate themselves, they chose to build and market their homes for young professional adults who want to live near the city’s core and have a minimal carbon footprint, “kind of a new wave of buyer,” Katherine says.
Another kind of homebuyer that sought out Bardis Homes is Fair Oaks EcoHousing. The cohousing community, featuring extensive community facilities and a strong green focus, hired the company to build its 30 homes, says Marty Maskall, founder and future resident, based on a recommendation from D&S Development (Katherine’s father-in-law, David Miry, is a cofounder of D&S, and her husband, Bay Miry, also worked for D&S before starting his own firm in 2018).
“They really believe in our project,” Maskall says of Bardis Homes. “I think they are breaking ground in the things that we need to be doing … rather than building typical suburban sprawl.”
Rachel says they liked the idea of neighbors building a neighborhood together, but also because it is a creative way to approach housing in the region. “We have a huge issue on housing that we all need to take an active role in — developers, builders and everyone in between — to try and solve. This is our hometown, so it’s important,” Rachel says.
“We’re super appreciative of the opportunities that our families have given us with laying the foundation and paving the road and giving us the ability to be female builders and come into that role and continue the building traditions,” Katherine says, because “our purpose is not just creating this business for ourselves, but for our families too.”