Between Pinterest, design magazines, and numerous televisions shows showcasing all the modern trends, we all have a picture of our dream home somewhere in our imagination. If the new year has you in the market for a new home, these three local homebuilders are embracing contemporary style and the newest technologies to make your dream a reality.
Arista Development, LLC
The Team: Mike Fraembs, director of build operations, and Matt Adams, director of architectural design, both grew up in Las Cruces and they’ve been best friends since kindergarten. Mike studied construction engineering at Arizona State University and cut his teeth working on large, high-end commercial projects. Matt, who started studying AutoCAD in high school, spent six years with a luxury architecture firm in Scottsdale. The two paired up with Dr. Dave Dever to found Arista Development LLC in 2015. They also brought on board real estate agent Crystal Martinez-Fraembs (she and Mike married last summer) for her expertise on the local marketplace, and Ervina Adams serves as office manager.
Signature Style: Rustic Industrial and Farmhouse. While they can build to any style, Arista prides itself on bringing something completely new to the community. Mike says they considered going the more traditional route, but Matt’s “wild brainstorms” coupled with Crystal’s Pinterest boards, inspired them to try something that really stands out in the marketplace. Some of their signature elements include rustic wood paneling, gas rod piping, open shelving, concrete floors and countertops, carriage house garage doors, and tons of natural, exposed light. This spring they’ll be finishing up the Las Cruces Home Builder’s Association Anniversary House in their new Farmhouse style. It includes a dining table with bench seating attached to the kitchen island, skylights with cedar cross beams, a 16-foot overhead door that expands the living space to the outdoors, and a 50-inch electric fireplace.
Design Process: Arista can do a completely custom home built entirely to the buyer’s specifications and they also offer affordable, predesigned floorplans with a selection of finish options to choose from. They also do semi-custom builds that allow the buyers to make floorplan or finish modifications as they see fit. “Mike and Crystal answered about a million questions and worked tirelessly with me to design a home I would love,” says client Joni Autrey.
2017 Styles and Trends: “Big homes aren’t as popular anymore,” Mike explains. “People are downscaling and opting for more modest floor plans. Instead of long hallways and formal areas that never get used, we have large, open, well-designed spaces. This really allows us to offer beautiful, high-end finishes to every income level.”
Crystal says they also strive to incorporate multi-functional spaces and elements. “When you have a party, everyone tends to gather in the kitchen,” she points out. “We incorporate it into the dining and living area so you have that much extra space for guests. Plus, we add in the outdoor living space. You can open up the overhead door and everyone just flows in and out. The dining table does double duty as an island and the open shelving means that the decorative plateware everyone has these days is now décor and much easier to access. Modern families have so much going on; they don’t need ‘pretty’ stuff that never gets used.”
Why Choose Arista Development?: “Originality,” Crystal says. “So many people stop into our model homes simply because they’re so different than anything else in this area. With our in-house architect, we truly have the ability to custom design features. If you have an idea, he can change the floorplan to make it happen. We make a lot of our finishes in-house, like our wood elements, so you really can’t find them anywhere else.”
Hakes Brothers, Inc.
The Team: Brothers Kimball, Josh, and Chris Hakes have been in the industry since they were teenagers working in framing and other trades. They launched their own business in 2006, with the completion of two homes, including Kimball’s own. “Our team is phenomenal, it consists mostly of local talent from New Mexico State University and the University of Texas at El Paso,” says Kimball. “We like working with local talent as much as possible. We have a three-man team that exclusively drafts designs for homes, as well as an interior designer who meets with buyers and helps them choose the right style elements. That’s part of the process. It’s been a lot of fun watching the company grow and promoting from within.”
Signature Style: The Hakes Brothers started out building luxury homes, but ultimately found their niche in more economically-sized homes. This experience allows them to incorporate that luxury look and feel without the high price tag. “Las Cruces has been more traditional than other markets, which I think is fine. It’s a great culture of style that we have here, that’s a little more timeless in not following crazy trends” Kimball says. “The most popular styles here are Tuscan and Spanish Colonial. In El Paso, we noticed that there’s a lot more interest in modern, contemporary styles and interiors. It’s been harder for that to catch on in Las Cruces, but it is gradually coming into this marketplace as well.”
Design Process: Hakes Brothers offers a variety of predesigned, pre-engineered and pre-priced plans, all of which customers can customize by selecting finishes like carpets, tiles, backsplashes, granites, and cabinets, with the assistance of their in-house interior designer. They also offer several bathroom configurations and a deluxe kitchen option.
2017 Style and Trends: Kimball says oversized windows, multi-panel sliding doors, and outdoor living spaces with extended patios are popular options. “We keep up with modern trends through websites and our interior designer is very good about keeping tabs on what’s new and popular,” Kimball notes. “Some of it really catches on, but there’s always some common ground that applies to pretty much everybody, no matter what market: open floorplans, large kitchens, kitchen islands, those features.”
Why Choose Hakes Brothers?: “We have a very high customer satisfaction rating. We actually do a survey with all our homebuyers. We compile the results, and it’s a top priority for us to make sure that we’re providing excellent customer service,” Kimball explains. “Our rating hovers right at 90 percent. It’s our mission. We take good care of our buyers. We feel like they are part of the Hakes Brothers family.”
The Team: Veloz Homes was founded 15 years ago by Raphael Veloz. Current owner Jason Lorenz joined the company in 2007 and worked his way up the ladder, taking ownership in 2012. “I went to college to be an engineer, but found that I really enjoyed making connections and the process of creating something personal for customers,” he says. Jason’s wife, Julia, is also a partner in the company and his sister, Wendy Curtin, handles purchasing and estimating. “Our project manager, Steve Safranek (aka Super Steve) is also crucial to the team,” Jason adds.
Signature Style: While they build a lot of the Spanish and Tuscan homes that are popular in the area, Jason is very excited that the contemporary style that’s been going strong in the national marketplace has finally reached Las Cruces. “I’m a minimalist myself,” he notes. In the Veloz Spring Showcase home, instead of the dark, heavy, stone-inspired finishes found in Tuscan builds, expect to see cleaner lines, lots of natural light, and functionality taking the place of pretty, but useless elements.
Design Process: “If you start with blank sheet, the chance of getting a perfectly functioning home is slim,” Jason points out. “The beauty of production building is that we repeat it often so we find those problems and improve over time. We start with a plan library, which includes a number of floorplans that we’ve built before, but we allow our customers to modify that in any way they want. It could be as simple as a specific light fixture or dramatic as a floorplan change that involves reconfiguring rooms or adding square footage.”
2017 Styles and Trends: “These days, function is taking over. Everyone wants not necessarily more space that they’ll have to take care of, but usable space that functions better,” Jason says. For example, now that technology is compact, portable, and wireless, they’ve traded in the office spaces once necessary for bulky equipment for tech nooks closer to the main living areas, which allows homeowners to look up recipes while cooking, monitor their kid’s computer time, and help with homework.
The Veloz team also keeps in mind the need for convenient storage spaces and mud rooms, and Jason says they’re integrating more modern technologies like LED light fixtures and smart switches, and cost-saving heating and cooling options.
Why Choose Veloz Homes?: “We bridge a gap between completely custom builders and larger production builders,” Jason explains. “We pride ourselves on building every home to the specifications of the owner, without the burden of a custom project. Our floorplan selections are similar to each other, but with important differences that speak to the particular buyer. A retired couple uses space differently than a family of five, so we ensure that it works correctly for the buyer. We design inherent flexibility into our floorplans. In the Barletta model, there is one room that could be a study, a bedroom, a theater, or a third car garage. Having that built in flexibility allows us to custom fit to the buyer without having to fit a square peg into a round hole.”