Article posted in the Arizona Daily Star on May 2, 1999
McCreary Homes, Inc. was founded with one overriding commitment: to consistently create and build quality-crafted and skillfully designed homes that unfold as innovative, exciting living environments that people will love.
We provide full architectural and building services to coordinate your home from design through construction, and have established an excellent reputation as a full service, custom home builder in Tucson, Arizona. We are also an approved, preferred builder with many Tucson lenders, and can offer financial guidance, if needed.
We were one of the first certified custom home builders with SAHBA (Southern Arizona Home Builders Association) and are also a member of NAHB (National Association of Home Builders).
Rosey and Monty Dewitt said of McCreary Homes: "We found as we progressed with the project that there was careful attention to the minutest details, and the quality of workmanship exceeded our expectations."
"L.J. McCreary is a master at successfully orchestrating the custom home experience, a process he has carefully crafted locally over the last 13 years. He believes his distinctive philosophy is key in allowing him to produce both spectacular luxury homes and satisfied customers.
"We build nice houses, but I think if there is a product we put out, it is happy homeowners, as trite as that might sound," said McCreary, president of McCreary Homes, Inc.
"Building the house is the easiest part of our job. It's how you service people during the process that's important," he added.
McCreary originally came to Tucson from Indiana, via The University of Arizona. After graduation, he returned to Indiana and began a career in remodeling and building houses. He moved to Texas in 1984 to assist in the development of Elm Creek, a 110-acre master planned community.
In 1986, he returned to Tucson and bought a piece of property on the west side. He built a house on speculation, which sold immediately, leading to another residential project, and his business snowballed from there.
At any given time, McCreary now contracts between six and eight homes, ranging in price from $96 to $287 per square foot each. The average home price is generally in the $120 to $160 per square-foot price range, which calculates out to $400,000 plus, not including the price of the lot.
He builds in all styles, from rustic and Santa Fe to ultra-contemporary and Territorial; and he enjoys utilizing both traditional and alternative building methods such as Rastra Block and Blue Max, products of energy-efficient Styrofoam and cement-filled block.
Features and finishes in McCreary custom project run the gamut, including specialized items such as wine cellars and walls of indoor rock with waterfalls.
After all, McCreary puts a special emphasis on the word "custom," which he said is used loosely in his business.
"A real custom home is built on a specific site, built to specifications for a particular customer," he said.
Consequently, McCreary's personal team philosophy is based on client information and education throughout the entire custom process, from site selection through completion.
"It has worked the best for our clients to select the builder and the architect and go through the whole design process with that team...They are going to be much better served in the end," he said.
McCreary's management style, as detailed through multiple meetings, ideally begins with assisting clients with site selection and providing feedback on lot preparation.
Following site selection, the design phase begins. McCreary believes that his extensive background and experience provide great value during this stage.
"I've often brought good ideas to the design and provided solutions to design problems. That's the argument for utilizing someone with my experience along with the architect and the client: Three heads are better than one," he said.
The pricing and specification process follows, during which the client and builder meet with suppliers and choose finishes and materials. During the next stage, McCreary frequently employs a technique that he describes as "value engineering."
"Home building is a fairly euphoric state, and often people come in over their target budget. I help clients get back in touch with that target budget, and make suggestions for altering the house and some specifications so that it doesn't affect what I call the 'experience of the house' when you move in," he said.
As construction begins, McCreary holds a special orientation meeting.
"It's a fun slide show about what to expect during the building process. We introduce some of the players who will interact with the house on a daily basis and try to take care of client expectations. The more we can educate customers, and the more they know about the process, the better it is for both of us," he said.
He also provides clients with a building schedule developed through state-of-the-art construction management computer software.
As construction progresses, McCreary provides photo and video documentation, a service that out-of-town clients especially appreciate.
Upon completion of the project, McCreary supplies his homeowners with a large reference binder specifying warranty information and detailing materials, products and finishes utilized throughout the home.
McCreary believes this attention to detail and specialized customer service makes the difference for his clients.
"There's a distinction between building a house and having it be a good experience. There are a lot of people out there who can build a house, but custom home building-managing the whole experience through design and moving in-is a lot more than just assembling the parts," he said.
Clients John and Rosemary Adams agree. They consider McCreary not only an excellent builder but a personal friend.
The Adams ' Santa Fe-style home, which showcases the work of many local artists, boasts countless specialty features: a wine cellar, a staircase spiraling around a hand-carved wooden totem; a "smart-waiter," which transports items directly from the garage into the pantry; a kitchen that sports both electric and gas burners; and a fireplace with a face of craft paper.
The 4,400 square-foot house is built on two levels, employing an open floor plan centered around a gathering room to take advantage of the stunning 360 degree views. A wonderful gallery and a cozy library are additional amenities.
The Adams ' home seems to fall perfectly in line with McCreary's objective of providing his client with luxury and value, as well as enjoyment.
"We have fun, and our customers have fun...after all, you want to be invited to the barbecue after the house is built," he said."
Written by LONI NANNIN a Tucson freelance writer