Father and son, Walt and Kyle Lackey, worked alongside Wright Holman (seated)
to cook shrimp for the Wrightsville Beach Museum’’s annual shrimperoo fund-raiser.
They have continued the tradition since Holman’’s death in 2011.
WBM FILE PHOTOS
WALT recalls that one of their first projects was to transform
the building that now houses the Bridge Tender from a
vacated Duke University marine science laboratory into a
The experience of working with Holman was not reserved only for Walt
Lackey. Walt’s son and now business partner, Kyle Lackey, grew up on the
construction sites of the two men and took to the trade naturally.
“I was always attracted to the trade and would work summers between
college semesters with my dad and Wright. In 2006 I came on full-time,”
Kyle Lackey says. “I mostly started working with Wright and he taught me
how to treat people, whether that was the carpenter or the customer, and
to always stand behind your work. You should treat everyone like they are
As with any father-son relationship, Walt and Kyle have had their share
of disputes when learning to work with each other. The shared love of
building brings them back together.
“It has been fun, but we have had our disagreements,” Kyle says. “But
then you work it out and keep on moving, and a majority of the time my
dad was always right about whatever the disagreement was.”
“And Wright was always right,” the elder Lackey adds.
Stemming from the influence of Holman and with Walt’s history, the
Lackeys prefer building homes that honor the legacy of the traditional
beach cottage. One of Walt’s favorites, 524 South Waynick Blvd., is a
testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the team. Without a single
piece of drywall used in the new construction, the house features shingled
siding made from cypress. The Lackeys recall one passerby congratulat-ing
the crew on doing such a good job restoring what they thought was a
“We took that as a compliment,” Walt Lackey says.
The ever-changing taste of the clientele keeps the Lackeys’ interested.
Invested in catering to their clients’ tastes, the Lackeys current project
list includes two homes that epitomize a couple of the prominent styles of
homes found at Wrightsville Beach. One, situated just south of the Block-ade
Runner Beach Resort, is a modern home built for a younger couple,
while a traditional beach cottage is in the works on West Charlotte Street
for an older couple.
“There is a place for both; variety is good, and we enjoy building both
styles,” Walt Lackey says.
Every home the Lackeys build comes with an unwritten warranty — if
there is a problem after construction is complete, they will be there to fix it.
“If there is something wrong, we’ll take care of it,” Walt Lackey says.
“We are going to be here to service the house. After the hurricane hits or
when the pipes freeze, we’ll be there.”
Now in his 45th year building homes on Wrightsville Beach, Walt
Lackey says the love of his trade keeps talk of retirement at bay.
“I think I’m just going to work as long as Kyle will have me, until he fires
me,” Walt says, laughing. “Building is almost a hobby. It is a job, but it is
fun. And watching everything come together is very rewarding.”
WBM june 2020