Park City, Utah, may not have felt the housing downturn as hard as some other U.S. cities, but it still got a taste, according to high-end homebuilder Paul Berman. Berman, who is president of Big Canyon Homes, says that the ski resort town is more insulated from market swings than other areas but it still had to deal with some smaller slopes. Fortunately, the company’s diverse skillset allowed it to ride those ups and downs with more ease than many of its competitors. 

“We started in the commercial business and have done some fairly sizable commercial projects,” Berman explains. “We’ve done industrial projects, commercial remodels and tenant improvements for the past 20 years, so when the market fell apart in 2008, we were already diversified going into that. During those slow times, we did a lot of stuff that isn’t as high on our priority list as far as what we enjoy, but we were able to stay busy and never laid off an employee or cut salaries. We powered through it.” 

Based in Dallas, Bauhaus Custom Homes has established itself as an innovative design/build firm. From mid-century modern to classic European, the company designs based on client needs, providing the greater Dallas area with fine, high-end custom homes.

Founded by Marc Kleinmann, a German native, the company brings German building sensibilities to its home design/build efforts. The company was established in 2007, and it has grown despite starting up in the midst of recession.

Shelly Basso has been in the homebuilding industry since she was 19, and in 1993 she started her own custom homebuilding company: Aspen Homes Inc. in Pewaukee, Wis. For those who personally know Basso, a career in homebuilding had always been something of an inevitability. 

“Aspen Homes Inc. was built on a foundation of experience,” the company says. “Our family comes from generations of contractors and tradesmen who know what quality and hard work are all about. It’s about getting the job done right, and above all, exceeding expectations.”

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication for a contractor to remain in business for nearly 50 years, and those are the exact qualities that Alpha Construction Co. Inc. has brought to the Southern California market. Since 1965, Alpha Construction has distinguished itself as a respected and sought-after builder in numerous markets, but primarily focused on the affordable housing sector. 

President Irvin Laxineta says that even though the company faces some intense competition in Southern California, Alpha Construction’s collaborative approach to construction helps it stand apart from the rest. “A successful project is one that had a team effort between the designers, the owners and ourselves,” he says.

The new mantra of the retiring baby boomer has become “affordability.” In a conservative lending environment for retirement homes in Florida or Arizona, Northerners from states such as Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois are choosing the low real estate taxes in Crossville, Tenn., the absence of a state income tax and the region’s moderate climate. Helping them with that choice is Zurich Homes, which specializes in European-style custom homes with high-end features in a moderate price range.

“We really see ourselves as a niche builder that is developing a product that caters to this 55-plus buyer,” President and owner Isaac Zuercher declares. “They tend to be more demanding and know what they want. They have a whole list of things they need us to try to accommodate when we sit down and design a home.”

When Wes Hanson Builders Inc. constructs a home, it tries to give customers something they can’t get anywhere else. “We try to make our homes one of a kind,” owner Tom Hanson says. “We set a precedent.”

Based in Crosslake, Minn., the family owned company designs and builds custom homes for clients in the Brainerd Lakes area. Hanson’s uncle, Wes Hanson, started the company in Bloomington, Minn., in 1986.

At the time, Hanson operated it with his wife, Marilyn Hanson, son Todd Hanson, and nephews Tom Hanson and Brad Mytling. In 2007, Wes Hanson sold the company to Todd and Tom Hanson, who continue to run the company to this day.

Today, “We tend to cover the whole realm of projects,” Designer Matt Schmidt says. “We try to fit the need of our clients and anyone that’s out there.”

Some people don’t believe it’s right to throw away something that has value. For Ralph and Helene Belisle, that applies to houses, as well — and that’s why they started a home renovation company in their city, Vancouver.

In many ways, Vancouver is an exciting collision of contemporary and charming. One looks up at a downtown skyline filled with modern, Asian-influenced high-rises and down at cobblestone streets lined with brick buildings dating back to the Wild West.

But the Belisles were seeing too much of the old torn down to make way for the new. “I would fix almost anything before throwing it away,” says Ralph, a carpenter by trade. “Not only is it more ethical, I find it a lot more fun and interesting, as well.”

With its location on Massachusetts’ South Coast, the Bay Club offers the luxury and beauty of the state’s best-known coastal communities without the traffic and exorbitant housing costs. The residential and country club community in Mattapoisett, Mass., is within an hour’s drive of Boston, half-hour of Providence and close to beaches and recreational opportunities as a result of its proximity to Buzzards Bay, giving it a convenient location while also offering a getaway amid one of the nation’s most densely populated regions.

“Statistically, more than 40 percent of the population of the United States resides in the Northeast,” Bay Club Director of Sales Dave Andrews says. “What’s unique about this community is it is on the western shore of Buzzard’s Bay, a deep warm-water harbor. We have great boating, swimming and fishing opportunities and are connected to the Interstate highway system, making us easy to get to.

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