Category Archives: tempe

BUILDING AN ARIZONA CUSTOM HOME… CLAY OR CONCRETE ROOF TILES?

One Decision That Can Save Money When Building A Custom Home…  Clay or Concrete Roofing

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At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, more often than not lately, our custom home buyers are asking us how they can get the most for their money and still get the home of their dreams.  There are so many decisions that a custom home buyer must make beginning with the size of the home and the selected floor plan.  Once the floor plan is completed, selections from toilets, to plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures to accent lighting, floor coverings, sinks, cabinet wood and style, appliances, custom built-ins, doors and door hardware, counter surfaces, among others must be made.

We are happy assisting our custom home buyers with economical selections that can save thousands of dollars without impacting the quality of their custom home.  Just one example of cost savings can be found when comparing clay roof tiles with concrete roof tiles.  Choosing between clay roof tiles and concrete roof tiles is one often consideration for Arizona custom home buyers.  Continue reading

FIREPLACE SURROUNDS IN THE CUSTOM HOME

So Many Options for Fireplace Surrounds…  Where to Begin?

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As a custom home builder, at Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, our custom home buyers have many choices to make during the design and construction process.  Options include everything from flooring, cabinets, doors, door hardware, and light fixtures among other features and amenities.  One such selection a custom home buyer may need to make is the type of fireplace surround to choose.  There are so many styles from traditional wood mantels to stone.  Many times it depends on the style of the home, a very traditional style home in the Midwest may be very different from the custom homes we build in Arizona. 

Becoming very popular in Arizona custom homes are those fireplace surrounds that have the Old-World look.  This look can be achieved with stone fireplace surrounds, precast concrete, or crushed marble fabricated surrounds.  Precast concrete is a masonry product that simulates natural stone and is more cost effective than natural stone.  Precast concrete mantels are cast molds of concrete, or made with reinforced high-density industrial grade fibers.  The finishes resemble natural stone finishes in a variety of earthy colors.  These fireplace surrounds are beautiful and can be very economical.  Other fireplace manufacturers cast their surrounds from crushed marble and bonded with white Portland cement.  These fireplaces are faux finished to give the custom homebuyer the exact look they desire. Continue reading

BUILDING THE CUSTOM HOME MINDFUL OF BACKYARD SPORTS

Tennis Anyone?  Golf Anyone?  …In the Backyard?

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In Arizona, not all yards are large enough for a tennis court, but many Arizona backyards are large enough for a sport court, putting green, batting cage, trampoline pit, or skateboard ramp.  Popular in Arizona, are small sport courts and half-court basketball, as shown in the photos here.  Courts can be used for multiple purposes, or dedicated to one sport.  Whether it is a half-court for basketball as shown here, or multi-sport court for volleyball, tennis or badminton, each comes in an array of colors and designs.  Because these are custom courts, each court is built to meet the unique needs of the custom homebuyer and designed for the specific space available. 

There are several types of surfaces and choosing the correct surface depends on the intended activity.  Many of these sport courts are made of a modular polypropylene surface with an interlocking design, and placed over a draining system.  Most surfaces are smooth and non-abrasive and come in a variety of UV protected colors and designs.  When running or jumping on the surface, it offers some ‘give’ helping absorb shock and minimize impact to the knees and joints.  Many are virtually maintenance free.  Continue reading

STONE… THE NEWEST ‘OLD’ LOOK IN THE CUSTOM HOME

As an Arizona Custom Home Builder, We See Stone and Stone Veneer Showing Up Everywhere!

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More often than not lately, as a custom home builder, we are incorporating stone to the front of custom homes, around fireplaces, wet bars, swimming pools, and other accent areas of the home.  Stone can fit with almost any architectural styles from modern and contemporary to the Old-World looks of Tuscan and Andalusian. Usually the stone is not authentic stone, but recreated using unique molding methods that capture the finest details of natural stone. These recreated stones offer the authentic and natural beauty of real stone at a fraction of the cost.  There are several advantages to using faux stone or stone veneer, it is lighter weight and allows easy installation over any existing surface without requiring additional support or foundations.

The color choices are phenomenal including light gray, soft creams, golden umbers, and light coffee to deep rich quarry tones.  The varieties of styles are also endless.  The stone can be stacked without the look of grout, or it can be a hybrid of horizontally oriented fieldstones and ledge stones with chiseled edges.  For the popular Tuscany look the stone can be over grouted, meaning the pasty look of the grout covers the stone as well as the joints and gives it the Old World look. 

For the near future it seems stone veneer is here to stay.  The quality and functionality continue to improve with new manufacturing methods and the natural beauty of stone endures.  The stone veneer on the custom homes shown below have been placed in selected locations, particularly on the two pop-outs of the front elevation and the over turret above the entryway.  The second photo is stone on a Tuscan style home and emphasizes how stone added to the rear of a custom home completes the look and complements the outside living area.

CUSTOM HOME LAUNDRY ROOMS… FOR MORE THAN LAUNDRY!

Custom Home Laundry Rooms Complete with Storage and Multiple Washers

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At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, laundry rooms are often times more than laundry rooms. They become utility rooms, larger than closets, sometimes even containing a closet as in the photo included here.  This laundry room houses two washers and two dryers.  These custom homebuyers preferred having two washers and two dryers in one location.  The family wanted to get their dirty laundry to one room where all of the work could be done.  Other custom home buyers prefer having two separate laundry rooms, perhaps one upstairs and one downstairs, or one in the master closet, it depends on the family and what the specific needs might be.  Continue reading

THINKING OF A CUSTOM HOME? WHAT’S YOUR FIRST STEP?

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Many potential customers at Woodridge Custom Builders LLC often ask us how to get started when thinking of a custom home.  First, there is not really a right or wrong way to get started.  Some of our customers find us after they have purchased the land or lot for the home, others want our help in this area.  Some are referred to us by previous customers.  Some are referred to us through our network of architects and home designers as they work on their house plans.  Outlined below is an overview of the custom home building process.  Detailed construction steps are not included here.

Planning and Preparation:  At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, we believe that each project is an investment for our customers therefore each home we build is a signature of our work.  A fantastic benefit of building custom homes is helping our customers realize your desires for your dream home.  Each one of our customers has unique lifestyle preferences and we take great pride working closely with you to create a home where you and your family can enjoy your personal lifestyle. 

Home Site Selection:  If you don’t already have a lot for your custom home, we can help you find the ideal location for your dream home.  We are familiar with many of the prominent custom home communities in Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, Chandler, Rio Verde, Cave Creek, Tempe, and Carefree.  We’ll need to find out if you want the natural beauty of our Arizona desert landscaping, the greens of a golf course or mountain views.  What size of a custom home would interest you?  What architectural style interests you?  Once we understand exactly where your interests lie, we can focus our attention on an ideal neighborhood for you and family.

Floor Plans and Illustrations:  When the lot is selected, we partner with you and your architect or home designer to help design a home that will fit your family’s unique needs.  We begin working on a set of house plans designed for your lot.  With your lot selected, we can design the house for maximum views, best layout for minimizing western exposures and maximizing north and south exposures.  The home designer will want to know what home style you prefer, Tuscan, Santa Barbara, Andalusian, Spanish Colonial, Hacienda, or contemporary.  This is the first time your vision is transferred to paper.  We encourage you to bring in a collection of photos, magazine clippings, preliminary designs, a rough floor plan and any other visual tool helping transfer your ideas to a floor plan, elevations, and illustrations. 

Materials:  While the floor plan is formalized, we can begin working on the home’s materials and details.  Exterior stone, exterior color, stain colors, gates, wrought iron accents, formal entry door, driveway materials, exterior fireplace and grill locations must be made.  Then we’ll ask you to make similar selections for the interior of the house including cabinet style, counter surfaces, flooring materials, door style, door hardware, plumbing fixtures and lighting fixtures among other selections. You will work with our suppliers and visit showrooms to make these selections.  For example, if you choose granite materials, you will actually walk the warehouse and select your own slabs of granite.   Once the floor plan, elevation and materials are selected, each can be submitted to your design review committee for approval.

Bidding Process:  When you have made the many selections for your home, we can begin the bidding process.  We bid competitively each and every project to get you the best possible price for your home.  Our tradesmen are proven and talented contractors that understand we bid each and every job.  We will discuss and contemplate the cost and efficiencies of different designs, structural features, and material selections.  We believe its better for you to take your time making material selections and receive an accurate bid based on these selections, than get a rough estimate up front.  When working with our suppliers and showroom professionals they can assist you with selections that keep your budget in mind.

Permitting:  During the design review committee approval process, all required documents are professionally gathered and submitted to the city for permitting.  The length of this permitting process varies per city but can take anywhere from two to eight weeks.   During this time we will walk through the plan together on paper and specifically review the materials you have selected and mark the specific location of these materials on the plan. 

Construction:  After proper planning, design review approval and city approval we can break ground.  There are various phases of construction beginning with site preparation, the foundation, the vertical stage, the roof dry-in phase, the rough mechanical and rough electrical phase, insulation, lathe, stucco, drywall and trim stage, interior finish stage, cabinets and interior trim detail, finish electrical, plumbing, and mechanical stage, flooring stage, and finally a finish and final clean phase. 

Progress:  During the construction process, you’re welcome to visit the jobsite and see the progress on your home.  During several phases of construction you’ll be asked to re-evaluate or confirm your selections for the location of telephone outlets, light switches, soap dishes, and other details that had only been done on paper before.  As much as possible we keep our jobsites as clean and free of debris as possible, yet during major construction activities this can be difficult, since your safety is our concern, we encourage you to walk the jobsite with the project manager.  If your having your home built while you live elsewhere, you can have private access within our website where photos and updates of your home’s construction will be posted.

Inspections:  Throughout the construction process, your home will go through various inspections by the city to assure that your home is built consistent with the required building codes.  At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, we are proud to offer our customers additional inspections throughout the home building process by an independent inspector.  We are proud of our work and welcome an independent inspector on the job to keep our subcontractors as judicious in quality as we are.  Our customers appreciate the openness with which we encourage an independent inspector.

Final Approval:  Once the city has approved the completed project and issued a certificate of occupancy, you’re closer to moving in.  Before taking possession we will walk through the home and identify any items that need correction before moving day.  You will receive a warranty booklet and directions on maintenance of the new products in your home.  When all the punch list of items has been addressed, moving day has arrived.

Your Custom Home:  You deserve a custom-designed and built home that will bring your family years of enjoyment.  Your home is unique for your character and lifestyle preferences, it is a place to be proud of especially because or your own influences from the design and layout, to material selections, to the finishing touches.  It is your dream home!

FAKE GRASS IN A CUSTOM HOME? DRAMATIC RESULTS!

The Popularity of Fake Grass and the Forever Green Lawn

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In Arizona grass lawns are at a premium.  Not naturally indigenous to the Sonoran desert areas of Arizona, grass is a landscape amenity.  Grass lawns are not possible in Arizona without a well-planned and well-managed sprinkler system.  Look at it like the perpetual golf course, never breaking for fall and winter.  Finding the perfect low-maintenance alternative to the green lawn is the desert landscape strategy.  Planting low-water use plants in rock gardens is a very popular desert landscaping technique in Arizona.  Many of these plants are absolutely stunning and include many varieties of flowering plants.  Yet to some, there is nothing like that green lawn that says, “home”. 

At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC we have recently had one of our custom home buyers use an alternative to the unnatural green lawns in Arizona with the latest alternative, synthetic grass or fake grass.  This waterless, low-maintenance solution looked absolutely fantastic in this homeowner’s lawn.  We were amazed at house natural, realistic, beautiful and functional it turned out.  The custom home buyer used the synthetic grass in the front yard, and backyard where he had also installed a putting green.  The pictures below show the beautiful results of this lawn. Continue reading

MANY USES OF THE UNDER-COUNTER REFRIGERATOR IN CUSTOM HOMES!

Chilled to Perfection!

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Under-counter refrigerators seem to be showing up everywhere lately.  In the custom homes built by Woodridge Custom Builders LLC we have placed them in kitchens, wet bar areas, coffee bars, home offices, garages, and guesthouses.  Woodridge has also placed them in the master suite.

Popular brands for these refrigerators include U-line, Sub-Zero, GE, Viking, and Kitchen-Aid.  Some of these units have pull out drawers, and glass doors.  The glass doors can be switched to an endless number of alternatives from the standard appliance look to matching kitchen cabinets. Continue reading

THE CURRENT HOUSING MARKET – PHOENIX AREA

Phoenix Area Turn-Around?

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Distressed property sales accounted for more than half of all housing sales during the month of July 2009.  Distressed sales include bank owned/foreclosures or short sales, accounting for 69% of all residential sales in Maricopa County or the Phoenix metropolitan area.  These distressed sales are a major impact on the Phoenix area market.  July also saw a nearly 11% decrease in the number of pending sales, although this is still the 5th highest month of sales in the 36-month period from July 2006 until the present.  An unusual characteristic of this market is the list price for active listings has become the base price when making an offer on a home, primarily in house priced below $200,000.  The list price used to be considered a top, as offers came in less than the asking price, in today’s market that has changed.

Although the Phoenix housing market saw a decrease in pending sales, the good news is associated with the average sales price.  July saw an average sales price increase of over 2%, the fourth month in a row for increases in the average sales price.  Though this doesn’t mean the Phoenix real estate market has completely turned-around, it is nice to see the average sales price is the highest it has been since January 2009.  Continue reading