Tierra Custom Homes

Building a custom luxury home can be an exciting yet complex process, with many components and decisions to make. Future homeowners can feel overwhelmed with the process on the way to building their dream home.

Tierra Custom Homes tries to make the new home planning, construction and finishing process as straightforward as it can for buyers. “The primary approach we take is a design/build concept where the architect, contractor, interior designer and other professionals come together in a collaborative environment at the beginning of the project in order to promote the efficient integration of ideas and a synergy in achieving the client’s goals and objectives,” says Joe Storey, president and co-founder of the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based homebuilder. “As an integral part of the team, we make sure we are personally involved in every detail of a home in order to maintain cost controls and best methods of construction in process, material selections and final execution.”

Storey personally maintains regular contact with clients by documenting every part of the project through electronic media, pictorial documentation, regular site meetings, computerized scheduling and construction management systems. “I believe in the old-fashioned idea of say what you will do and do what you say,” he says. “I try to be an over-communicator in terms of relating progress, changes and issues that need resolution in a timely manner and in writing. What we do is serious business and our clients are relying upon us to do a professional and quality job.

“My clients feel that I take a personal interest as though I’m building my own home,” Storey adds. “I’m not just spending their money, I’m trying to find ways to help them value-engineer in order to accomplish their goals the most effective way possible.”

Attention to Detail

The company, founded by Storey in 1994, works in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and the surrounding area. Tierra is experienced in working hand-in-hand with architects, craftspeople, interior designers and others to ensure the homes it builds reflect their owner’s character and personality as well as the surrounding area. “The art of assisting clients in the creation of custom homes that blend the elements of their design requirements with the beauty of the natural surroundings is our passion,” Storey says.

“Our attention to detail sets us apart,” he adds. “There are a lot of individual pieces that go into a high-end custom home, and a number of craftsmen working on the project to coordinate. We pay attention to all of the little details including finishes and other elements that all come together to make a home what it should be.”

Current Trends

Tierra Custom Homes’ average contract value is between $1.5 million and $4 million, which makes it even more important for Storey that his clients get exactly what they want. Many of the company’s clients are cash buyers. “Financing is not an obstacle to people who want to buy a property in the communities we serve, but we have seen a movement in recent years toward people who want smaller square footage while still maintaining a high level of finish,” he says.

The company also has seen a change in the type of finishes being requested. More requests are being made for limestone and imported porcelain floors versus travertine floor, composite countertops versus granite tops and handmade clay and glass products are in demand, Storey notes.

The color pallet is moving into lighter and brighter finishes, and there is a preference for light gray tones to be the new “neutral.” In addition, the style of living or “liveability” components of the home are changing. With the trend towards a more casual lifestyle where homeowners want living space to be more connected, the company is seeing the “great room” concept with its open orientation to the kitchen and eating areas become more popular. In fact, the idea to have only one eating area in the home that can serve both everyday and more formal occasions has developed into a specific design criteria for a transitional eating space in the home that can function for both.

“Morning rooms” or small sitting areas off the kitchen with a fireplace and possibly a computer station create an intimate opportunity for the primary residents to enjoy morning coffee, read the newspaper or catch up on e-mails. Exercise rooms within the home have been a design element requested by residents with a more active lifestyle, Storey says.

Lastly, outdoor spaces have always been important in Arizona because of the state’s weather, but Tierra is seeing more requests for these spaces to take on more functional aspects as fully developed living spaces. Outdoor living rooms with TV viewing and fireplaces and outdoor kitchens with covered eating spaces and entertainment bars become extensions to core living environments in the interior. Many of the company’s designs then incorporate retractable pocket door systems to allow these spaces to become part of the core house when the owners are entertaining.

The notion that “function leads form” seems to have taken hold, as homeowners are requesting design elements that are simpler and more functional to the everyday lifestyles they lead, Storey adds. 

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