New American Home 2013 Builder Spotlight

Ask Tyler Jones for his ideal guest list for a party at 2013’s New American Home and you understand that all his thinking is as wide open as the desert contemporary showpiece Blue Heron designed, built and decorated.

Tyler Jones

Tyler Jones, CEO and co-founder of Blue Heron, is the New American Home 2013 builder.

“This is a house you’d invite your grandparents to, just to show them something they’d never seen,” he muses. “Invite a world traveler, a rock star who’s seen everything, and they’d see interesting, unique things they’ve never seen before. I’d invite my closest friends. Any group would get a kick out of this.”

There’s an easy-going pride in Jones’ response, a mixture of intensity and Las Vegas cool. It triggers the obvious follow-up question: what was your inspiration for the exceptional desert contemporary home. “I was thinking about what I’d love in a personal residence.”

It’s a project Jones has likely been pondering most of his life. He literally grew up in the homebuilding business. “My dad’s business is Merlin Contracting and I worked there as a kid,” he begins. “I got into architecture in high school and went to architecture school.” Along the way, Jones developed his own vision for what homebuilding could be, and put it on the fast track to reality. “Blue Heron started in 2004 with my dad as a true design-build, interdisciplinary company. I wanted to have everything under one roof.” Now the thirty-something entrepreneur has built a reputation as a driving force in the industry.

One Team, One Vision

“Part of the success has been the integration of architecture, design and construction,” he says of Blue Heron. That includes three team members who were essential in this year’s New American Home: Michael Gardner, architect; Lyndsay Janssen, senior interior designer; and Kris Oesterling, project manager.

“My life story?” asks Gardner. “I was born and raised in Sydney. I moved to the US in the 80s. I came on board at Blue Heron 2 or 3 years ago, but I’ve been doing work with Tyler since 2006.” Janssen’s history is a testimony to the company’s growth. “I started at Blue Heron in March 2010. I was the only designer in the beginning, and now I’m one of many.” Oesterling, who’s been with the company for five years, says his job is to handle everything “from the dirt up.”

Jones brought his team together to create a show home that’s the embodiment of the Blue Heron three-point vision. “Desert contemporary, focus on the indoor-outdoor relationship and focus on sustainable design,” he says. “They’re the cornerstone of what we do.”

The three ideas are closely intertwined. The desert contemporary style is all about embracing the surrounding environment, so indoor-outdoor living is a lifestyle expression of the architecture. An appreciation of green design is a natural extension.

Jones also built the 2009 edition. What motivated him to an encore performance? “The New American Home is a chance to put all of our best ideas forward into one showcase home.”

The team didn’t shy away from the hurdles inherent in the process either. “Having gone through it before, we know there are a lot of challenges,” Jones asserts. “It’s ultra-complicated what we’re trying to accomplish here.”

The results are an inviting testimony to the success of the team, the build and the Blue Heron point of view. “No matter who we’re building for,” concludes Jones, “we want to create something that feels relaxing, that feels serene to come home to.”

Grandparents, travelers, rock stars, friends…welcome.

This article originally appeared in Volume 13, Issue 1 (January 2013) of Portfolio Magazine.
Portfolio Magazine is an award-winning showcase of exciting design ideas and industry insights.

Henderson, NV: A Place to Call Home

Henderson, Nevada Skyline

Henderson, Nevada: Minutes from Las Vegas and still a thousand miles away.

“We build homes where people want to live.” That pure logic from Blue Heron’s Tyler Jones is perhaps the best endorsement for Henderson, hometown of the 2013 New American Home.

Marquis Seven Hills community entrance

An entrance to the Marquis Seven Hills master plan community in Henderson, Nevada.

Known across the country for its award-winning master plan communities, this city of 270,000 is designed to be the best of all worlds. Just minutes from the Las Vegas pulse, Henderson has the Black Mountain Range in its backyard.

Henderson is now Nevada’s second largest city and, by any measure, a thriving community. Here you’ll find a bustling metropolis with its own convention center, luxury resorts, the state’s largest outdoor amphitheater as well as its largest commercial corridor, according to city sources.

Perhaps what most sets Henderson apart, is quality of life. Henderson was Nevada’s first community to partner with developers to provide no-cost land for schools, parks, and city service providers. Today, it boasts vibrant cultural arts, family-friendly amenities, and an enviable balance of work and play.

Setting a New Standard

The New American Home is built in Marquis Seven Hills, the newest portion of that master plan community. “Seven Hills is already one of the best neighborhoods in Las Vegas and Henderson,” confides Jones.

Two golfers walk off a green at Rio Secco Golf Club with mountains in the background

Rio Secco Golf Club

The New American Home also marks a new design approach for Seven Hills. “Most of what you see is Tuscan and Mediterranean,” notes Jones. “Now that Blue Heron is developing it, all of it is desert contemporary.” The look reflects the experience of the surroundings, with its low profile, clean lines and earth-tone shades.

The hillside setting creates a perch hundreds of feet above its eclectic surroundings, including the Rio Secco 18-hole golf course. From the decks and windows, a desert scene unfolds in one direction. Manicured fairways in another. A busy community close by. The Las Vegas skyline dazzling in the distance. All under a sky sparkling with stars.

Henderson has traditionally labeled itself as “A place to call home.” Its newest addition is a fresh testimony to the heritage.

This article originally appeared in Volume 13, Issue 1 (January 2013) of Portfolio Magazine.
Portfolio Magazine is an award-winning showcase of exciting design ideas and industry insights.

New Posts Coming All Week During #IBS2013

NAHB International Builders' Show logoThe International Builders’ Show kicks off tomorrow and we’ll be churning out two articles per day all week long. Whether you make it to Vegas for IBS or not, we don’t want you to miss our favorite part: The New American Home.

(If you didn’t know, Timberlake has been the cabinetry provider for this show home six years running.)

Each and every year we pull out all the stops and produce an award-winning magazine called Portfolio. Inside each issue you’ll find stories about all the key players, a laundry list of design ideas, and some of the best photography in the industry. Our latest issue featuring The New American Home 2013 is no different.

Be sure to check back regularly this week (or better yet, subscribe via email), so you don’t miss a thing!

10 Big Ideas for Builders to Consider in 2013

With the future for the housing market looking bright as we begin a new year, builders must continue to think about the next homebuyer. It may be daunting to take time to step back and think of innovative ways to reach buyers, but here are 10 big ideas to consider in 2013 as you begin to think about your business outlook for the next 12 months.

Big Ideas to Consider in 2013


1. A smart start means a lower cost completion.

Subcontractor mistakes and missed deadlines cost you money and homebuyer satisfaction. Find partners with their own platform for delivering high quality, on-time and complete jobs. Ask about worker training, processes, supply chain and quality standards.

2. Seeing is selling.

It’s not easy for homebuyers to visualize an upgrade – you need to display it in your model home. Take the time to install that CushionClose Hinge and add organizational features inside cabinets to showcase what you offer buyers in a new home.

3. Green is now a mainstream selling feature.

Costs for adding sustainable living features to a home have come down, and the payback is attractive. Today’s homebuyers want to do the right thing, and you should too by going green in your building and in the features you offer, like solar panels and Energy Star appliances.

4. Go with the (open) flow.

Open spaces with fewer hallways maximize usable living space. Not only does it feel bigger – it is.

5. Keep appliances out of view.

With the trend for uniting family and kitchen spaces, long clean lines of wood cabinetry extend the living environment.

6. Build for a family affair.

There’s no denying multi-generational living is on the rise with one third of adult Americans living with another adult generation. Create space for each generation living in the home— a second master bedroom and bath, maybe with a mini kitchen, provides private space.

7. Create a drop zone.

The mud room goes upscale as the stop for keys, briefcases, backpacks, and shoes. Favorite features? Built-in storage (cabinets or cubby holes), benches, a charging station for cell phones.

8. Technology lives here.

Big screen TVs, music systems, video games, computer centers, home
office, home control devices – reinvent the media room. Built-in cabinets keep them close at
hand and out of sight.

9. Get back to nature.

Homebuyers want natural elements like fireplaces that put heart in a home. Don’t waste any opportunity to capitalize on a view or a feature to make a home really stand apart from others.

10. Made in the USA means more than ever.

Renewed interest in our own economy is just the start. Consumers appreciate the craftsmanship and sense of security about safe, quality materials. For a builder, American-made means a shorter, surer supply chain.

Are you considering any of these? What are your big ideas for 2013? Share them and/or your successes from 2012 in the comments below.

Kitchen Gadget Gift Guide

kitchen gadget gift guide

We are always excited to talk kitchen cabinets, but we can’t forget that beautiful cabinetry holds the tools and utensils each of us uses every day. With the holidays upon us, there is no better gift to give to that chef in your life than a new kitchen gadget. With space saving in mind this holiday season, this kitchen gadget gift guide is sure to excite any chef on your holiday shopping list this year.

  1. Soda Stream: Don’t you just hate to have to wait until sodas are on-sale to fill up the fridge? Your favorite foodie can their create sodas, flavored seltzer waters and energy drinks right at home using tap water. Using reusable 1 liter carbonating bottles with a fizz-preserving cap, this soda maker will keep everyone excited about creating at home sodas concoctions well into the New Year.
  2.  Avocado Masher: Even with the temperatures dropping, every party needs some spice, and fresh guacamole can be daunting without the proper tools. This tool not only mashes, but it also scoops for the perfect portion of avocado every time – no more messy digging at an avocado with a fork.
  3. Non-stick mini-muffin  & brownie bite pans: Everybody loves to bite into the perfectly baked brownie or muffin, but who needs those oversized helpings? These pans are ideal for bite-sized portions of everyone’s favorite treats. Plus, they are American-made and guaranteed to bake evenly to perfection using non-stick Goldtouch ceramic coating.
  4. Over the sink cutting board: Designed to fit perfectly over the kitchen sink, and complete with a collapsible colander that can be removed for use on its own, this cutting board saves time on prep and clean-up, and is dishwasher safe!
  5. Aluminum pasta maker: No more hand cutting your homemade pasta in un-even strips. Create perfectly even pasta noodles in minutes using this compact, commercially styled pasta maker. The double-cutter removes easily for clean-up, and since it’s only 7.87” wide it takes up less space than a coffee maker.

Reinvent the Media Room with Cabinetry

In the 1980’s the home had a den for listening to the radio and TV watching.  Now the humble den has been reinvented into a media room – 24/7 digital domains for TV, movies, video games – and let’s not forget computers for streaming video and social media.  Families may spend more time there than anywhere else in a home – so it’s time for a makeover. We’ve talked about how cabinetry is taking center stage before, but in a media room, getting creative with your cabinetry can make all the difference in the design of a room.

Décor doesn’t have to be Geek Chic. Face it, electronics don’t add to atmosphere.  With cabinetry, you can show homebuyers a media room that reflects their taste throughout the rest of the house by bringing the same styles and door finishes into the media room.

Create a centerpiece, conceal the clutter.  We love the entertainment from our high-tech gear, but who wants to look at the black boxes and tons of wires?  Focus on the show with a wall of cabinetry that frames the screen (and the moment!) with warm wood that hides the technology behind sleek doors.  It simplifies wiring, too.  No need to run them behind walls, simply store them in the cabinets – this also makes it easy for homeowners to update their equipment as new technology changes.

Now you see it, now you don’t.  Conceal the TV screen in credenza with a system that raises or lowers the unit using wireless remote technologies.  It’s a beautiful alternative to cabinet doors when homeowners want to shift the focus from the screen.

Get organized.  Roll-out shelves in cabinets keep DVDs, CDs and other gear easy to browse.

Build in a desk for computer play.  Research shows people age 34 and under have already shifted their viewing significantly from TV to computer-based entertainment. A built-in desk can also serve double duty, offering parents a place to do a little work while the kids are occupied.

Anybodhungry? A snack bar with a fridge for drinks, and a microwave for hot food are a great bonus to any media room. What about a good-looking bar for game-day parties?  Your cabinetry mini-kitchen can include everything you need – including the kitchen sink.

That’s the big picture on our media room cabinetry ideas. What have you done to reinvent your media room?  Send us your plans and photos.  We’d love to share them here.


Behind the Scenes Video of the Portfolio Magazine Photo Shoot

In early November, members of the Timberlake team ventured to sunny Las Vegas to photograph The New American Home 2013 for the next issue of Portfolio magazine. We wanted to share with you a behind the scenes video of the shoot, and show you the fun our team has working together to bring The New American Home 2013 and our magazine to you!

Stay tuned for the next issue of Portfolio magazine to launch in January 2013. Visit our Literature Library to view past issues of Portfolio Magazine.