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.
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