Category Archives: custom home builder

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

MASTER CLOSET SYSTEMS… IN THE CUSTOM HOME

No Need For A Dresser or Chest of Drawers with Master Closet Systems

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When planning and designing a custom home, the decision regarding the master closet ultimately surfaces.  At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, most of our custom homebuyers elect to have the master closet built-out by a professional closet and storage company.  These custom closets create significant more storage than a dresser or chest of drawers, and frees the master bedroom of such furniture pieces.  The space and organization created by a professional closet system is incredible.  The number of styles and combinations are endless, stacked shelves, open shelves, shelves closed by glass doors, shelves closed by cabinet doors are shelf options alone.  Rack styles are also endless; half-rack with shelves above, full-floor length racks, and two half-racks are just a few choices for hanging clothes.  Including a bank of drawers creates additional options, standard drawers is one option, while sock drawers, and jewelry drawers offer specialty options.  Unique storage areas for large hats, handbags, dirty laundry, and even luggage are possible.  Shoes can be hidden or exposed and maximized to hold as many pairs as one desires.

Using a professional closet and storage company can instantly double or triple storage space. Jeane Perantoni is an experienced designer at California Closets (http://www.californiaclosets.com/) and works with our custom home buyers; Jeane excels at creating space yet matching selections to the homeowners’ style.  Initially understanding this benefit helps a custom homebuyer understand that the shell of a master need not be excessively large.  Building-out a closet significantly adds storage space, yet it can add match any interior style as well.  Most closet and storage companies offer multiple materials, fixtures, finishes and amenities that can match or complement a homeowner’s style. The finishes include cherry, alder veneer, white, oak or maple among others.  These units can be installed as full-floor to ceiling or placed at a comfortable height for the homeowner.  Depending on the size of the closet, an island of drawers or shelves is also possible. 

The photos above show the basics of a master closet build-out; in on of the custom homes built by Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, there are combinations of shelves, rack, and drawers.

 

 

 

  

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

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!

CUSTOM HOMES… THE AT-HOME COFFEE BAR

Our Love for Coffee Hits the Master Suite

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In custom homes built by Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, a new trend is to include a coffee brewing area or ‘coffee bar’ in the master suite and/or kitchen.  For some coffee lovers, getting the coffee maker going in the morning is as important as starting the shower and grabbing the morning paper.  So for coffee lovers requiring that cup of Joe in the morning while getting roused, up and ready to face a great day, it makes sense to these coffee lovers to include a coffee bar in the master suite.  Placing a small coffee maker in the master suite minimizes the numerous trips to the kitchen to start the coffee, to get the cup of coffee, and possibly a refill. 

The photos below highlight, a coffee bar area was built into this master suite area.  The space was actually designed as one of two large master closets.  These custom home buyers decided one of the closets was too large and its particular large size of no use them.  So they reduced the size of one of the master closets and created this coffee bar.  The coffee bar is about four feet wide.  The area includes a 48” granite countertop that includes a wet bar sink for obtaining water for the coffee and an under-counter refrigerator for storing cream.  Since only one of the homeowners was a coffee drinker, the under-counter refrigerator also stores bottled water and bottled orange juice.  Upper cabinets provide storage for cups, filters, coffee and other supplies.  This area, although an afterthought to the original house plans, provides a functional and delightful use of the space.  Decorative wallpaper with a coffee theme and coffee accessories add to the charm of the coffee bar.   

Although these homeowners elected to use a coffee maker that rests on the counter, there are more and more built-in coffee makers designed for home use.  At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, our custom home buyers visit with Andy Welemin of Westar Kitchen and Bath, Tempe, Arizona ( www.westar-sw.com) for assistance with appliances when making selections for a custom home.  Westar Kitchen and Bath represents a wide variety of appliance manufacturers, including those that produce terrific built-in coffee-makers and under-counter refrigerators.

 

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

CUSTOM HOMES AND POWDER ROOM TRENDS

The New Powder Room Vanity… Forget the Pedestal Sink!

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Tired of the pedestal sink often found in standard powder rooms?  Why not consider the wide variety of alternative sink options?  These include antique pieces of furniture transformed into vanities.  There are also many reproduction pieces including a vanity sink.  Glass or stone bowls that can sit atop a vanity have recently become popular.  At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, some of our custom homebuyers have scoured antique shops looking for just the right piece to transform into a vanity.  Others have designed the powder room vanity around a specific glass bowl.  With a bit of imagination a powder room can reflect a custom homebuyer’s personality and chic. 

 Many of these newer style sinks are not expensive yet add a high-end flare to any powder room.  The stand-alone furniture vanity shown in photo 1, fit perfectly in the niche designed for the sink.  The color and details of the vanity’s base went well in this Spanish Colonial home.  The vanity included a small brass sink and surface-mounted fixtures.  The mirror, lighting and accessories enhanced the vanity and created the complete old-world look.

In photo 2, these custom homebuyers found a glass bowl they treasured.  Finding the stand-alone piece became part of the fun creating the powder room.  The vanity is actually a piece of furniture modified to hold the sink.  Modified to hold and hide the plumbing fixtures underneath the sink, in some cases, the top drawer becomes unusable, though the bottom drawers remain functional.  The additional storage space these stand-alone furniture pieces offer is one of the reasons why customers appreciate these pieces so much, a pedestal sink, on the other hand, offers no additional storage.  As both of these photos show, the furniture pieces are larger than a pedestal sink, but offer counter space and under-counter storage, storage always at a premium. The fixtures in this home were installed on the wall to extend over the sink as opposed to the first photo where the fixtures were also installed on the furniture’s deck.  These are typical options the custom home buyer makes when creating the desired look.

Other trendy vanities include a sink placed on custom-made counter surfaces with wall-mounted fixtures.  In this Tuscan style home shown in photo 3, the homeowners had this vanity custom made to hold the glass bowl they had found.  The material is strong yet opaque enough to reveal the under-counter lighting.  The wrought-iron support system complements the Tuscan style of the home and the wall-mounted fixtures extend over the beautiful glass bowl.

There are so many new styles for stone and glass bowls that opportunities for creating the perfect powder room are endless.  Cheryl Koteita at Westar Kitchen and Bath, assists our customers at Woodridge Custom Builders LLC’s, to select the perfect bowl and fixtures.  Westar carries a wide variety of manufacturers, yet Cheryl Koteita’s expertise helps our customers simplify this, sometimes overwhelming, process ( ). www.westar-sw.com

 For a short video on powder room trends click here…  Powder Room Trends YouTube VideoTo enlarge the photos below, click on each photo and use the ‘back’ key to return.

 

 
 
 

 

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

BUILDING AN ARIZONA CUSTOM HOME… SHOULD IT INCLUDE RV STORAGE?

RV Storage at a Premium, Some Custom Home Buyers Build in Storage Space

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For owners of recreational vehicles, (RV) storage is an important issue.  For RV owners, storage is as important as its use.  Many Homeowners’ Associations (HOA) in place today prohibit RV storage on a homeowner’s property for more than a couple of days, unless enclosed in a garage.  A standard car garage isn’t remotely close to the size required by most recreational vehicles.  Storing an RV off-site becomes a necessity without a property large enough for enclosed storage in an HOA regulated area.  If  one is fortunate enough to live in an area that is not regulated by an HOA, you may be able to store the RV in the driveway or side yard area, but this doesn’t mean your neighbors like it.  Storing an RV off-site is typically an inconvenience when preparing for a trip, and unpacking from a trip.  Most RV owners would agree that the ease of loading and unloading for a vacation, camping trip, or other adventure is much more convenient when it can be done at home over a few days without rushing to get the RV off the property before the HOA jumps down your throat.  Storing an RV off-site at a local storage company may cost anywhere from $30 to $90 a month depending on where you live.

At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, as custom home builders some of our customers have experienced these RV storage issues.   If at all possible, RV storage was constructed with their custom home if the lot was large enough and allowed by their HOA.  Aside from the difficulty with adequate RV storage space on the lot, incorporating such a large garage into the architecture of a house that meets with HOA approval is sometimes challenging.  In many custom homes subdivisions, all garages must have side-entries.  Difficult for a large RV, a lot must be extremely large to allow for any kind of side-entry.  RV garages must be higher than a standard car garage and this too can create an architectural challenge.  Most HOAs will not approve a custom home design and floor plan if the RV garage is an unsightly large box better fitting in an industrial park than a residential custom home neighborhood.  

For custom home buyers interested in incorporating RV storage with the construction of their custom home, a well-planned home design and floor plan can save time later with HOA and city code approvals.  Waiting to construct an RV storage garage until after the home is completed is not recommended unless it has been initially incorporated into the house plans.  In most municipalities, homes constructed on residential lots are permitted to cover a certain percentage of the lot.  Failing to let the architect know that an RV storage garage is planned for later, the architect may design the house and standard garages without leaving enough room for RV storage as required by designated zoning.  Exceeding lot coverage may require a variance by the municipality and approval by neighbors prior to construction.

At first glance it doesn’t seem as though the custom home in the photo below includes an RV storage area.  In fact, this large lot included RV storage in the back of the home.  As shown in the second photo, although large enough for a 36 foot RV, this garage is located in the back of the house and not overbearing and overpowering to the architecture of the house. 

 

ARIZONA CUSTOM HOMES AND THE ‘KID ZONE’

Floorplans Designed with Kids in Mind!

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Designing a custom for home for exactly how a family plans to use the home is one of the most rewarding benefits of building custom homes.  Many families that have the opportunity to design and build their dream home; do just that.  The floor plans selected or created can be very specific to a family’s needs.  One of the great features recently included in custom homes is the ‘kid zone’.  The ‘kids zone’ is not necessarily a playroom, although it can be for very young children, but an area of the house where kids can have a television, use computers in a supervised area, play video related game, and just hang out with their friends.  At Woodridge Custom BuildersLLC we have built these kid friendly areas adjacent to the children’s bedrooms using the popular split floor plan.  It is very popular in Arizona to build a house with a split floor plan, this means that the master suite is located on one side of the home, while secondary bedrooms such as children’s rooms or guest rooms are built on the other side of the home. 

Having the children’s bedrooms on one side of the house and designing a separate playroom or children’s family room near their bedrooms, offers a terrific way for kids to play video games, watch television, play loud music, play on a computer or just hang out with friends without isolating themselves in their bedroom.  Depending on the age of the children, these rooms can evolve as a child grows.  These rooms can begin with the Little Tyke type toys, walkers, kitchen sets, tents and other large toys familiar to parents of very young children.  As the children grow, the room transitions to an area where kids can hang out after school with friends, and play video games for example.  When things settle down for the day it can be a great study or reading area.  Eventually when the kids move out, it may be possible to convert this area to a home theatre, craft room, work-out room, or other area just for the parents.

At Woodridge Custom BuildersLLC we have seen these kid zones become much more popular, not only popular, but much more useful and lived-in areas of a custom home.  Initially, we used to see these kid areas located adjacent to the kitchen as study areas for kids.  Honestly, some of those areas just became cluttered cubicles for the kids to throw their stuff when they got home from school.  This newer trend to have a designated children’s area adjacent to the secondary bedrooms seems to be much more kid-friendly and useful living space.

COLUMNS… AND THEIR TIMELESS BEAUTY IN ARIZONA CUSTOM HOMES

Architectural Columns Work In Many Custom Home Styles

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Working well with nearly every architectural style, architectural columns popular in Arizona custom homes offer timeless beauty and a classic look.  At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, we have installed columns in Santa Barbara style homes, and Tuscan style homes, and everything in between.  Outlined below are examples of these timeless towers of beauty that we have installed in homes of our custom home buyers.  The columns outlined in these photos were made of pre-cast concrete and then painted.  Columns can also be constructed of cantera stone and assembled.  Cantera stone columns are not usually painted, but rather used in it natural stone color.

A Santa Barbara style home is named after those homes in the southern California city of Santa Barbara.  These homes derive their origins from the Mediterranean region of Spain, Italy and Greece.  Popular features of a Santa Barbara style home include red roof tiles, smooth white stucco, huge white columns on the exterior as well as interior of the home, and wrought iron accents.  In the photos below of this Santa Barbara style home, majestic white columns support the large formal entry.  Inside the home, the white columns define the entrance to the living and dining rooms.  The rear of the home also includes exterior columns as they support the covered patio of this home.  In Arizona, the Santa Barbara style has been around for years, and because of its classic style will likely remain so for many years to come.

The Tuscan style home is also very popular in Arizona.  Columns work just as well in this home style.  The first photo below highlights an exterior column on the rear patio of a Tuscan style home.  This column has been faux finished to complement the earthy colors of this home.  The second photo emphasizes how smaller columns work well with the Tuscan style.  These small columns support the entrance gate to this home and harmonize with the stone, wood, and wrought iron gate of this home.  Highlighted in the third photo are columns used in an exterior Ramada of this Tuscan style home.  These columns, in a faux finish complement the Ramada’s arhitecture.  Click on each photo to enlarge.