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Posts Tagged ‘Custom Home’

Is BackCountry right for you? Three questions to ask yourself.

by | October 21st, 2015

No man is an island, they say, and neither is a home. It’s critical that your “perfect home” be in a community that’s equally in sync with your tastes and lifestyle. Because, after all, you do have to go outside sometime.

If you’re considering BackCountry for your future home, ask yourself these three questions. They’ll help clarify what’s unique about the community and if it’s right for you.  

1. How important is the outdoors to you?
If you moved to Colorado for its natural beauty and endless outdoor activities, then go ahead and skip to question #2. In other words, run, do not walk, to BackCountry—you were made for each other. Otherwise, let’s explore this idea a bit. First of all, depending on how it’s situated, your home can offer magnificent sunset vistas of the mountains and foothills, which are easily accessed thanks to BackCountry’s southwest metro location near C-470. Also, within South Rimthe community’s private wilderness of 467 acres, you can walk, run, or ride bikes and spot all kinds of wildlife. Keep going and you’ll head straight into the Backcountry Wilderness Area, home to 26 miles of trails, more critters such as deer, elk, and wild turkey, as well as regular Highlands Ranch-organized activities such as archery, horseback riding, hikes, camping, and hunting. And if you just want a nice and easy after-dinner walk, stroll on one of the many winding trails within the neighborhood or visit one of the six parks.
On the other hand, if the Discovery Channel gives you all the nature you want, consider Question 2.

BackCountry map Highlands Ranch Colorado

2. Do you like to know your neighbors?
Like anyone else, hermits are welcome to live in BackCountry—but they sure will miss out on a lot of fun. BackCountry is a gated community, which helps to create an exceptional sense of friendliness. (In other words, why not talk to strangers? They’re all your neighbors.) Residents are quick to tell you how warm and welcoming people are here. Amenities such as a resort-style pool, the Sundial House community center with its pub and lounge, and the outdoor amphitheatre and network of trails, promote easy, frequent connections between residents. And an active HOA is always cooking up community-wide events, such as summer concerts, golf tournaments, art shows, and holiday parties, as well as more intimate gatherings such as book club meetings and empty nester potlucks.

3. How do you like your architecture?
Chances are, you didn’t answer that with “corner-cutting and cookie-cutter.” That’s good, because you just won’t find that in BackCountry, which was conceived of as a community with exceptionally high standards. Architecturally, the community feels cohesive with a Colorado-inspired emphasis on stone, stucco, and other natural materials that complement the area’s natural beauty. Varied neighborhoods, and within those, multiple floor plans and elevations, keep streetscapes as interesting as they are beautiful. And by being selective with builders, the community aims to keep quality (and home values) high. Our current builders include Shea Homes, whose homes range in price from the $500s to $700s, and Paragon Homes, which offers semi-custom living priced from $1 million. Additionally, seven builders offer custom homes at varying price points.


So now that you’ve mulled over the possibility of living at BackCountry, maybe it’s time for a visit. Seeing the place—with its natural beauty, strong sense of community and high-quality homes—is the best way to definitively answer these questions, and any others you still have.      

Two months, eleven parties

by | May 26th, 2015

Ten days after Larry and Val Hay moved into their new BackCountry home, while most of us would be struggling to unpack, they hosted their first party. And within two months—from November 1 to January 1—they had hosted eleven parties.

What’s that all about? While you’d never accuse these two of being introverts, apparently there’s something about BackCountry that makes people want to throw parties.

Friends at BackCountry

Val says, “We were never this big on entertaining before. But BackCountry is extra-friendly. It’s gated, so you know everyone you see is a neighbor. It’s just so easy to say ‘come over.’”

Larry agrees. “People walk by all the time, or we’ll just wave when people drive by and half the time they’ll stop to chat. Before you know it, we’ve invited them in and we’re sharing a beer or a glass of wine.”

a spacious Sunshower kitchen

Their home itself has also contributed to their entertaining ways. The Hays bought The Sunshower model, with an open flow between kitchen, dining room, and great room that allows for “lots of conversations going on,” says Val, and parties of up to 50—so far, anyway.

The kitchen itself is key, too. The Hays have an extended island—nine feet long, five feet wide—that they can fit lots of chairs around, plus three ovens and “a microwave that talks to you,” says Larry. This kitchen is a true playground for Val, whom Larry describes as an instinctive cook who can whip up anything from whatever’s in the spacious pantry.

Sunshower kitchen

But perhaps the biggest factor is the view, which is always the first thing they share with guests. Their home looks west into the mountains, giving them an epic, 45-mile view that includes Waterton Canyon, the Flatirons, Golden, and beyond. Fittingly, their kids gave them a telescope for Christmas. In fact, it was the view that sold them on the place.

One day, Val got a phone call at work from Larry asking if she had her checkbook. “Come over right now,” he said. He was standing on the site of their future home, gaping at the view. They reserved their lot that day, and then set about building a house to suit the spot. Which happened just as seamlessly.

Another Hay party

“We had a great experience,” says Larry. “We had lots of interaction with the superintendent and workers. Any concerns we had, they’d address right away. So by the time of the walk-through, our punch list was basically done.”

Val feels the same way about the design process. This was the first time she had a new home built and found it to be fun selecting among “so many selections.” She says, “Julie [the designer] was so helpful. We kept her running with our changes, but everyone was very patient. We are so happy with the way it all turned out.”

BackCountry entertaining

Now that spring is here, their parties can move out to the oversized patio, where guests can ogle at the views, sit around the firepit, and listen to the waterfall the couple had installed. If two months of winter inspired that many parties, can you imagine what summer will bring?

Three common homebuilding myths, debunked

by | May 11th, 2015

Never bought a brand-spanking new home before? Well, there’s no denying that you’ll notice a difference between buying new and resale homes. But before you decide what’s right for you, make sure you’re not falling prey to misinformation. To give you a clearer understanding, we asked a few Shea Homes associates to share the most common myths they encounter among first-time buyers.


Myth #1: “Buying a new home takes too long.”

If you’re comparing an existing home to one that’s just a twinkle in your eye then, yes, buying a resale home can be a speedier proposition. But keep in mind that new homes are available in all stages of construction, from idea-on-paper to partially-built to all-wrapped-up-with-a-bow—and landscaping. Keith McCann, a Shea Homes Lead Superintendent, notes that building a typical home from digging the hole to final touches takes only about 140 days (weather permitting, of course).

If you arrive later in the construction process, there can be little to no time difference between moving into a new or a resale home. A new home doesn’t require the previous owner to move out—which depends on their next home’s availability. The good news about entering the process a littler earlier is that you’ll have lots of possibilities for tailoring the home to your tastes. Not an option with a resale home. (Hello, stressful and expensive home renovation.) Which brings us to Myth #2.

Myth #2: “Choosing all your finishes is overwhelming.”

“One of the main reasons why people purchase a new home is they can pick everything that goes in it. Then the home is a reflection of them, of their personal taste,” says Scott Beaumont, a Senior Community Representative at Colliers Hill in Erie. Buy someone else’s home and spin the wheel. More often than not, their tastes won’t mesh altogether with yours. Which means that adapting the home to your preferences and lifestyle will happen after move-in. (If you don’t think that’s overwhelming, talk to anyone who’s just navigated the minefield of a kitchen renovation.)

With the right builder, selecting your finishes shouldn’t be overwhelming, but exciting, rewarding…and nicely assisted.

Shea Colorado New Homes Design Color Scheme

“At Shea, we all have design backgrounds,” says Senior Interior Designer Melanie Best. So when people come to the Design Studio, “they don’t have to go through every single tile—unless they want to. Once we nail down the buyer’s style, we can just bring out things we think they will like.” In fact, it can all happen in one or two 2-hour sessions—or as many as you want.

As Amy Baumert, a Senior Community Representative at BackCountry in Highlands Ranch has seen with her customers, “It means the world to people to visit our design studio and become part of the process in capturing and implementing what they’ll be calling home.” For a further breakdown of the design process, read this past interview with Melanie.

Myth #3: “Home builders are all alike.”

Jeff Palumbo, Shea’s Safety and Environment Manager, believes that “one common myth is that all builders are ‘Big Bad Builders’ who cut corners to save a buck. Really, that’s what separates Shea Homes from the rest. Being a Shea homeowner myself, I can reflect back on our process and it couldn’t have been a better one.”

Sadly, as in every industry, there are vendors who cut corners and those who are committed to creating quality products. Scott Beaumont encourages people to ask each builder, “What differentiates you as a home builder? Is it price? Features? Building process and construction?” While adhering to your budget is critical, make sure that a builder’s low price doesn’t translate to low quality. After all, this isn’t choosing between a generic and brand-name box of cereal. A home is an extremely complex project that uses constantly evolving materials and techniques, plus the expertise of more than 60-70 individuals.

Shea homes construction and development

Which raises a couple of other questions to ask: How long have you been in business? What kind of turnover do you have on your construction crew? Shea Homes, for example, has been in business since 1881. And its workers stay on longer than average, which leads to greater expertise and efficiency, says Keith McCann, who points out that his framing contractor has been on the job for 15 years and his foundation crew for six.

A home is likely your largest financial investment ever—usually at least 10 times the price of a car. So protect yourself by checking out reputations online and with real human beings. Get details on the warranty program. And find out the truth behind any other myths that could keep you from buying the home that’s right for you.

What Goes Into a Custom Home?

by | April 20th, 2015

You’ll find scenic views and gorgeous amenities at the Custom Collection at BackCountry.

Have you ever thought about going beyond selecting features and finishes in a new house to creating the home of your dreams from the ground, up? Many neighborhoods in BackCountry offer models that can be personalized to individual tastes. But if being more immersed in the process sounds inspiring, then custom is the way to go. Custom homes are one-of-a-kind. These homes are designed for specific homeowners, with their input and their needs in mind. Building a custom home is a once-in-a-lifetime experience—the home you’ve always dreamed of is created especially for you!

At BackCountry, we believe the perfect home requires more than impressive design and exquisite craftsmanship. Chemistry is an essential element in the process, so we put a strong emphasis on matching prospective new homeowners with the right builder. And we work with seven of the finest custom home builders in Colorado.

BackCountry’s Custom Collection features 94 homesites on seven streets. Lots range in size from 1/3 acre up to a full acre. Panoramic mountain vistas draw discriminating buyers to the Custom Collection, as these homesites are located at the southern edge of BackCountry and border our private open space, The South Rim. All homesites are within easy walking distance to our award-winning Sundial House and the other wonderful community amenities.

This recently completed home was built by Ades Design Builders Inc. Since construction of its first house 27 years ago, Ades Design has completed more than 300 custom homes in Front Range neighborhoods, with an emphasis in recent years on home-building in Douglas County. Ades Design is known for using newer technologies, including Built Green and Energy Star construction practices, and incorporating sustainable and recycled products.

Ades Design homes in BackCountry Colorado

Ades Design homes in BackCountry Colorado

Is the idea of too many choices a bit overwhelming? If you’re looking for some guidance and the best of the best in home building, be sure to check out our current inventory of available custom homes. These homes are built with the buyer in mind and all the custom features you’d expect, but with more input and direction from the builder. (So, more personalization, but fewer decisions!)

Take this new estate currently under construction by Terracina Custom Homes on Homesite No. 80, for example. Priced at $1.649 million, the five-bedroom, six-bath, two-story home will have 5,010 finished square feet and an additional 2,400 square feet of unfinished space in the basement, not to mention an oversized four-car garage.

Terracina Custom Homes in BackCountry Colorado

Terracina Custom Homes in BackCountry Colorado

Terracina’s President John Russo began driving nails on construction sites when he was just 10 years old. After studying Architectural Design, he started his own construction company, United Masonry, which he ran for 28 years. In 1993, John began building custom homes. Twenty years later, Terracina Custom Homes continues to thrive.

You can visit the Custom Collection in person during our office hours: Monday and Tuesday by appointment, or Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm. All homes in the Custom Collection are priced from $1.5 Million.

For more information on BackCountry’s custom lots and sales, or to see the current inventory of available custom homes, visit You can also call the Custom Collection Sales Director, Anne Shirer at (720) 344-4303 or email her at BackCountry’s Custom Collection is exclusively marketed by Keller Williams Executives Realty, LLC/Luxury Division.

Take a peek inside the Shea Design Studio

by | March 23rd, 2015

When it comes to making a house feel like a home, it’s all in the details. The little touches that express your unique individuality can make two homes with the same floor plan feel wonderfully, beautifully different.

In Shea communities, you can enjoy a dinner party at any neighbor’s home without that awkward sense of déjà vu, thanks partly to the unusually large amount of choices available in the Design Studio. Located in Highlands Ranch (and with a smaller studio in Erie), the Shea Design Studio is where buyers meet with designers to create their home’s unique style.

Shea’s studio is more comprehensive than many other builders’, notes Senior Interior Designer Melanie Best. For instance, other builders might offer just one national brand of tile, granite, and natural stone. But Shea offers selections from Dal, Arizona, Emzer, Capco, and Glenrock.

A sample of many available choices at the Shea Design Studio

A sample of many available choices at the Shea Design Studio

“We like to give our clients lots of choices,” Melanie says. And that’s what she and Shea’s other six highly experienced and educated designers love about their work. “With so many kinds of materials, we can get very creative.”

Which leads to this question: Can the design process feel a little overwhelming? “Even if it doesn’t start out fun, it ends up fun,” Melanie laughs. “We really try to minimize that overwhelmed feeling. We all have design backgrounds, so people don’t have to go through every single tile—unless they want to. Once we nail down the buyer’s style, we can just bring out things we think they will like.”

Figuring out your style is just part of the process, which breaks down like this:

Preview Meeting
Before you sign a contract, you can catch a one-hour group meeting at the Design Studio to see what selections come standard and what upgrades you might decide to include. A designer will answer questions and give you a tour of each section of the studio, including four completely decorated kitchens; tile and carpet; wood for flooring and trim; natural stone; cabinetry; and a granite room.

First Meeting
This two-hour meeting will be one-on-one with your designer. First up: getting clear on your tastes. Through a series of questions and looking at samples together, you’ll clarify your style. (Feel free to bring ideas, though. See the tips below.) You’ll start with cabinetry to set the tone of the house, then move onto kitchen and floor choices. A spreadsheet of your picks will help you keep track of your budget.

Second Meeting
At this two-hour meeting with your designer, you’ll move on to choices for your master bathroom, laundry room, and secondary bathrooms. Samples are portable, so each time you meet, you’ll see all your choices assembled on one of the kitchen islands like an inspiration board. This way, you can make sure you’re still loving everything you’ve chosen and see how it’s working together.

An interior designer and a new homeowner choose samples

An interior designer and a new homeowner choose samples

Subsequent Meetings
While some owners will complete the process in one or two sessions, others may take five to seven. No pressure—the pace is really up to you.

Once you’re comfortable with the plan, you’ll sign off on final selections. But do consider the Design Studio as a lasting resource. Long after closing, many homeowners email the staff for design insights—which Shea designers don’t mind at all—and provide feedback about how much they love their new homes.

“When it’s a year later and we hear how happy people are in their home, with the design and function of it, that’s a great feeling,” says Melanie. “It’s where you come home every day, so it’s important to have everything just the way you like it.”

Melanie’s tips for prospective buyers:
While Shea’s staff of designers is experienced enough to sleuth out anyone’s style, you can speed up the process by doing a little homework before your first Design Studio appointment. Spend some time on design websites like where, perusing their 5+ million photos, you can create idea folders of your own. Buy some home decorating magazines and dog-ear your favorite photos of kitchens and master baths. Just defining those two areas can help drive the design of the entire house. And finally, watch some HGTV. Melanie says just spending an hour a day thinking about design can make a huge difference in choosing something you’ll love for the long run.

A professionally designed kitchen showcases many available options

A professionally designed kitchen showcases many available options

Save the date—July 19th—for the Shea Design Studio annual fundraiser for the Inner Circle Foundation, which supports those diagnosed with rare-aggressive cancers and their caregivers. This silent auction offers hourly giveaways and the chance to take home items like tile, area rugs, signed footballs, spa gift certificates, and more.

Final Opportunity for a Walkout Homesite on Braesheather Court!

by | March 13th, 2014

Featured Home November 2013 - New Homes in Highlands Ranch

Toll Brothers at BackCountry announces a final opportunity for a walk-out home site, on lot 47, that backs to open space, is located in a private cul-de-sac just off the walking path and in close proximity to the Sundial House. You can choose from four impressive floor plans, ranging from 3,798 to 4,165 sq. ft. with 4-5 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, and 3-car garage. Homes start from the upper $600,000s.
For information contact Caroline Rudee at 303-791-4288 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 303-791-4288 FREE end_of_the_skype_highlighting or, or visit

Final Custom Lots on Evergold Released

by | February 13th, 2014

Featured Home November 2013 - New Homes in Highlands Ranch

“Our sales and accolades have continued to fuel our ambitious forecast for success and growth, so I’m delighted to announce that the final six, previously-unreleased Evergold Way homesites are now available.” That’s the description from BackCountry’s Custom Collection Sales Director Anne Shirer describing the newly-available half-dozen homesites on highly sought after Evergold Way.


Custom Home with Mountain Vista Available Summer 2014!

by | February 13th, 2014

Featured Home November 2013 - New Homes in Highlands Ranch

Custom Collection
Price $1,479,000*
10806 Rainribbon Road
Highlands Ranch, CO 80126
Approx. 4,800 sq. ft. + 2,200 sq. ft. Unfinished Basement
5 bedrooms | 6 bathrooms | 3 Car Garage

Stunning two-story custom home spans 4,844 sq. with comfort, luxury and fine details throughout, includes 5 bedrooms, 6 baths, and an oversized 3-car garage with plenty of storage and a work area. The front courtyard sets the stage to a beautiful open floor plan with spectacular mountain vistas from the master bedroom, study and upstairs loft. For more information on this one of a kind home contact Anne Shirer at 720-344-4303 or

*Price is subject to change.

BackCountry Featured Home – Ravello Design Group

by | September 18th, 2013

BackCountry Featured Home

Ravello Design Group
Custom Home
Priced at $1,325,000*
10826 Rainribbon Road
Available Late 2013 – Home Not Yet Under Construction

Uncommonly beautiful, family-friendly 4 bedroom 2-story / Each bed w/its own bath & walk-in closet / Master and Beds 2 & 3 face mountains / Entry courtyard with planter and stucco wall / Double doors from dining room to front courtyard / Open, dual-island kitchen with walk-in pantry / Large entry foyer / Butler’s pantry with sink / 2 powder baths on main level / Nicely-appointed mudroom with benches and cubbies and 1 of the powder baths / Custom wardrobe in large master closet / Oversized master shower / Bed 2 has double doors to private balcony w/west orientation / Covered outdoor living area off kitchen / Open patio with optional fire pit / Volume ceiling in great room (could add upstairs loft over great room) / Elegantly-angled, partial side-load oversized 3 car garage with storage or shop area.

For more information please contact: Anne Shirer at 720-244-4303

View the BackCountry Featured Home

*Price, specifications and availability are subject to change without notice. Square footage is approximate. Actual homes as constructed may not contain the features and layouts depicted and may vary from photo.

BackCountry Featured Home Ades Design Builders

by | September 18th, 2013

BackCountry Featured Home

Ades Design Builders
Custom Home
Price: $1,349,000
Ades Design Builders
Summer 2012

Uncommon quality and elegance are found throughout this available 2-story home with 4,600 sq. ft. and additional 1,200 unfinished sq. ft. in the basement. 4 bedrooms each w/own bath; 4 1/2 baths. Volume entry is flanked by the large study w/12′ ceilings and the living room w/1 of 4 fireplaces in home. Gorgeous, curving staircase w/wrought iron railings spanning 3 levels of home; dining room w/beautiful ceiling detail; open kitchen appeals to the most discriminating buyer. Great room w/fireplace leads to large deck. Double doors grace the upstairs master entry; main floor laundry w/lg mudroom w/built-in bench / storage area. Outdoor living w/fireplace & built-in barbecue. Expansive windows throughout showcase the stunning mountain and city vistas! Walk to resort-style amenities.

For additional information on this home, please contact Anne Shirer 720-344-4304 or

View the BackCountry Featured Home

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