Tag Archives: custom home design


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


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


Arizona Custom Homes…  Spanish Colonial


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


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


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


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


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


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.


The Popularity of Fake Grass and the Forever Green Lawn


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


Chilled to Perfection!


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


At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, it’s our business to know what is popular for custom homes.  Some styles come and go quickly while other trends seem to have more staying power.  It is amazing how long the faux finishing craze has lasted, in fact, the finishes seem to get better and better the longer the style sticks around.  Current kitchen styles are particularly important since the kitchen is a predominant area of the house. To get it right it begins with a good set of house plans and home design.  Outlined below are features designed and built into some of the homes constructed by Woodridge Custom Builders LLC.  For the most part… by the lists below, anything goes!

 What’s Hot for the New Custom Home!

  • Kitchen islands rather than kitchen peninsulas
  • Cabinets and islands that look like stand-alone furniture
  • Cabinets made of a variety of materials from traditional stained cabinets to distressed, painted and glazed cabinets
  • Multiple cook kitchen designs
  • Mixing cabinet colors
  • Dark alder wood with a glaze-finished on cabinets
  • Granite countertops
  • French doors
  • Outdoor kitchens including a grill, sink and refrigerator
  • Kitchen-like spaces in the master bedroom for coffee-making areas and under-counter refrigerators for morning juices and bottled water
  • Wine storage, from shelving to niches to wine refrigerators
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Commercial grade ranges
  • High kitchen ceilings
  • Large windows, no longer reserved for the space above the kitchen sink
  • Large islands.  Really large islands
  • Pendant lighting
  • White cabinets
  • Under counter icemakers
  • Useful pantries
  • Natural stone flooring
  • European Apron front sinks
  • Multiple ovens, sometimes a full-range and wall oven/microwave combination
  • Cabinets with corner posts and/or hand-carved corbels
  • Oversized range hoods, designed with mass and constructed with mantels, and niche
  • Stylish stone backsplashes with decorative elements scattered throughout
  • Hand painted scenes or still life tiles located behind the cook top or range
  • A fireplace in the kitchen or dining nook
  • Under counter refreshment refrigerators located on an island, just for bottled water, or sodas.  No need to open the full-size refrigerator just for water or have a water dispenser in the refrigerator door
  • Round kitchen tables
  • Soft under cabinet lighting
  • Two dishwashers
  • Sofa and chairs in the dining area so family and guests can comfortably hang out with the cook
  • Great kitchen lay-outs ergonomically designed with form and function in mind
  • Tuscan style kitchen themes
  • Modern style kitchen themes

 What You’re Not Likely to Find in a New Custom Home!

  • Whitewashed oak cabinets
  • Blond cabinets
  • White appliances
  • Cathedral arched cabinet doors
  • Laminated counter surfaces
  • Low ceilings
  • Soffits
  • Ceramic tile counter tops
  • Fluorescent lights
  • Sliding doors
  • Kitchen desk areas
  • Wallpaper borders
  • Dining chairs with wheels


Custom Home Theatre Viewing Room

Custom Home Theatre Viewing Room

Custom Home Theatre
Custom Home Theatre











Including a Home Threatre in a Custom Home… Is it Worth the Expense?

Woodridge Custom Builders LLC

Is a home theatre worth the extra expense and space when building a custom home?  At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, as custom homebuilders we have heard both sides of that debate and understand the various viewpoints. Let’s face it, there are some of us that just don’t; that is DON’T; go to movies or watch many movies at home.  For those people building a custom home, the home theatre is not considered as a useful option.  That’s not to say that an exercise room or a large game room is out of the question.  Each of our custom homebuyers designs the home of their choice and includes the features most important to them. 

For some custom homebuyers, especially in today’s market, a room dedicated to showing movies or watching television has been postponed to the next custom home.  In today’s market, custom homes are getting smaller with emphasis on the most important and frequently used spaces.  The home theatre is one of those rooms that have been eliminated by a few of our custom homebuyers.  Not only has the complete home theatre room been scrapped but also, the rarely use formal dining rooms and formal living rooms have been eliminated replaced by large great rooms and larger kitchens designed with family and entertaining in mind.  

For those custom homebuyers that are movie families, the families that adore going to movies and even more would enjoy the movie experience without ever leaving their home, the home theatre is in.  For these custom homebuyers, the ability to enjoy professional, cinema style presentations of movies or sporting events all in the comfort of their own home makes a home theater a valuable and useful amenity to them. 

 A home theatre, without a dedicated room, can be as simple as a large entertainment area within a family room or game room that delivers the ultimate in large screen display and a sound system that simulates the cinema experience. The home theatre can also be the ultimate in home entertainment with a dedicated room for movies, favorite television programs, and sporting events.  Theatre style chairs, lighting, temperature controls, black out shades, sound absorption or custom draperies, and the ultimate in state-of-the-art electronics systems can create the ultimate relaxing and entertaining cinema style experience.

 At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, we have constructed dedicated rooms as home theatres for some of our custom homebuyers.  The rooms begin as any other room, yet at the rough electrical stage of construction we begin installation of the structured wiring necessary for the locating audio and video central control units and ancillary speakers throughout the room.  During the insulation stage of construction, we make a point to insulate these walls reducing transmitted noise.  The floor is elevated by several inches one or more times in the framing stage of construction for elevating theatre style seating allowing unobstructed views of the large screen.  In the finishing stages of construction the fine details of the audio and video electronics systems are worked out.  Finally, the entire system including lighting, temperature controls, draperies, sound and video are controlled by one centralized remote control.  When accessorizing or decorating such rooms, voluminous flowing curtains or other wall treatments may be added to absorb reverberated sound minimizing its transmission to the next rooms.   Accessorizing these rooms with theatre style chairs, colorful large print carpet, flowing draperies adding the elegance of an old theatre and popcorn machines add to the fun and relaxing atmosphere of these home theatre rooms. 

The cost of a home theatre varies by the size and complexity of the construction and electronic systems selected.  The structural and construction details of the room are similar to construction of other rooms, but the varying costs of a home theatre are totally dependent upon the type of audio and video and electronic systems selected.  There are generally packages available from home theatre electronics companies ranging from $6,000 to $30,000 per package. 

At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, we recommend that if a home theatre is planned and designed for a custom home, to include the home theatre in the initial construction stage.  We have had some custom homebuyers reserve a third or fourth car garage-stall for a home theatre to be constructed later.  It’s been our experience, that it is actually more economical to install the home theatre with the initial custom home construction.  This makes sense for a couple of reasons, such as modifying a garage means partial demolition of the garage to replace with sound exterior walls and removing existing drywall and insulation for complete rewiring the room with the necessary structured wiring.  Then rebuilding the interior of the space.

As custom homebuilders we enjoy assisting our custom homebuyers decide if a home theatre is right for them.  If so, is a large screen television in a family room with a great audio system enough for them, or is an ultimate cinema-style home theatre better for their lifestyle?  Whatever our custom homebuyers choose, our network of architects, subcontractors and home theatre experts can help them to achieve the theatre of their dreams.

 This home theatre room highlights some of the features of a custom home theatre.  This home theatre room is located in the center of the home off a hallway. This room, located on the interior of the home, doesn’t have any windows for natural light.  All lighting is overhead or wall-mounted.  The speakers are inconspicuously flush with the walls.  Controls are mounted on either side of the screen enclosed within cabinetry.  The carpet selected by the homeowners is a large colorful print in movie reels and popcorn.  The theatre style chairs have been elevated permitting unobstructed views of the screen.  The arms of the theatre style chairs are flanked with drink holders adding to the cinema style experience.