Category Archives: home design

FIVE STRATEGIES FOR MINIMIZING WESTERN SUN EXPOSURE IN ARIZONA CUSTOM HOMES

Minimizing the Impact of Arizona’s Intense Sun When Designing and Building a Custom Home

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As Arizona custom home builders, at Woodridge Custom Builders LLC  the position of the house as it relates the sun has always been an important consideration.  In Arizona, north or south exposures have always been the most desirable direction for a house as it sits on a lot.  In some subdivisions, the lots with north or south exposures are offered at a premium to east or west facing lots.  In some well-planned subdivisions, nearly all of the vacant lots have north and south exposures.   There is usually a main vehicular artery in the neighborhood that prohibits this completely, but as many lots as possible are created with north or south exposures.  In other parts of the country this may not be as important as in Arizona.  Outlined below are five common strategies for minimizing western sun exposures in Arizona custom homes. 

1)  At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, we work with our customers and their architect or home designer with the placement of the house on the lot for the best sun exposure, minimizing the worst sun exposures.  Turning the layout of the house on the plan, perhaps just angling the house slightly can affect how the sun’s rays hit the house and any western exposures.  Continue reading

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SPANISH COLONIAL… EVER POPULAR HOME DESIGN

Arizona Custom Homes…  Spanish Colonial

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There is something totally unique about Arizona custom homes.  The homes in Arizona are not like any other part of the country.  Some may say, “Santa Fe”.  Perhaps, though many of the homes in Santa Fe are true to the Mission or Territorial architectural styles.   As a custom home builder, California actually serves are a great inspiration source for our Arizona custom homes.  It isn’t the inspiration of new homes in northern San Diego, but sometimes it’s the old, but true classics found in San Marino and Pasadena. The old Spanish influenced homes with fully arched windows, white smooth stucco,  red terra cotta roofs and big heavily carved wood doors, this architecture still inspires Arizona custom homes.  Spanish Colonial makes one think of Billy Wilder’s film, Double Indemnity as Fred MacMurray approaches such a house to renew an insurance policy only to find a dangerous and sultry Barbara Stanwyck.  Watch the first minute or so of the clip to get the feel of the Spanish Colonial as Fred MacMurry approaches the front door.  .

The Spanish Colonial home design is what; at Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, is our term for the custom home that resembles the home highlighted in the movie clip.  This is probably not termed correctly to the professional designer or architect, but the custom homes we build today rarely seem true to one particular style.    Continue reading

CUSTOM HOMES… EVER POPULAR SPLIT FLOOR PLANS

Still Strong, The Split Floor plan

Ever strong in Arizona custom homes is the split floor plan.  The split floor plan is not limited to high-end custom homes.  It is a very popular floor plan for homes of any size.  Simply, this floor plan places the master bedroom on one side of the house.  The secondary bedrooms are located on the opposite side of the house.  The family room, kitchen and public rooms of the house are placed between the bedrooms in the center of the house.  This sets the master bedroom apart from the rest of the house helping achieve the master retreat feel.  The floor plan may not work for everyone, but for families with teenagers it works out great.  Loud music or slumber party laughter doesn’t usually travel to the master retreat on the other side of a house.  It is sometimes referred to as the Mother-in-Law floor plan.  This floor plan works with any home style from Santa Barbara, Tuscan, Spanish Colonial to traditional ranch.

The attached floor plan is an example of a split floor plan.  The master retreat is on one side of the house and the secondary bedrooms are on the other side of the house.  The master retreat has a guest bedroom on the same side of the house.  In this plan, the guest bedroom includes two entrances, one from within the house and a private exterior door located under the covered loggia. This floor plan can be modified if the entrance within the house is not desired creating more privacy for the guest quarters as well as the master retreat.

As custom home builders in Arizona, at Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, we stay abreast of changes in floor plans, home styles and various amenities.  We built our first split floor plan in 1990, yet this plan had been popular in Arizona long before that.  This is a floor plan that has staying power and offers a custom home buyer good resale value. 

Split floor plan in a Tuscan Courtyard style custom home

Split floor plan in a Tuscan Courtyard style custom home

ARIZONA CUSTOM HOMES… WOOD BEAMS AS POPULAR ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES

Tuscan, Andalusian, Spanish Colonial… Including Wood Beams Compliments Many Home Styles

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Popular Arizona custom home styles include Tuscan, Andalusian, and Spanish Colonial.  When designing, planning and building a custom home, at Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, it is never our intent to imitate a Tuscan villa as though it were physically moved from Tuscany and relocated in Scottsdale.  It is more a reflection of the Tuscan style incorporating the best of the features into our own Arizona desert lifestyle.  One of the most beautiful architectural features found in these homes are wood beams.  Wood beams are often used inside the house, on the exterior of the house, and on patio ramadas.  Some are actual structural support systems, while others are complementary architectural details. 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