Can you imagine hand-selecting every feature of your home, from the layout and the design to the finishing touches? Tim and Pam Drexler did just that when they custom built their 6,600-square-foot house inside a gated community in Chandler.
The couple has lived in their dream home for just less than a year. Design and construction took them about two years.
The homeowners worked with Amy (Bubier) Klosterman from AB Design Elements for the furnishings, and Pam handpicked all the fans, light fixtures and many other elements herself. Her inspiration has come from decades of reading magazines and tearing out pages, traveling and searching for unique pieces online.
There are backyard raised vegetable beds, geometric ceiling treatments, brick wall and ceiling accents, a modern stand-alone bathtub, a wine room and numerous cozy outdoor seating areas.
“I have always liked looking at magazines,” she said. “My poor husband knows, I get quite a lot of them. We travel quite a bit, and we stay at really beautiful places or rent houses. So I get inspired by those places.”
Pam said it was crucial for her to be involved in every step.
“I liked the process, when we decided to do a design-build firm, because we had a lot of input along the way. We tweaked and changed plans,” she said, saying she spent hours scouring websites like Houzz.com and designer portfolios online.
As soon as you walk through the tall, arctic glass front door, you find yourself in a spacious great room with a direct view into the backyard pool area. A large sliding glass door opens all the way to give a sense of seamless continuity between the inside and the outside.
“When you come into the house, you see the pool and it’s very inviting for people to go out,” Pam said. “We didn’t want a formal living room. We wanted a great room concept."
She said Klosterman was instrumental in choosing the furniture.
"I found some pieces like the lamps and the rugs and accessories. But she was really terrific in creating something at the right scale for this big room that was comfortable and fit our style, which is not too formal," Pam said.
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The Drexler home's most notable feature is its outdoor seating areas. There are so many that the homeowners couldn't provide a number when asked. Toward the end of the home tour, we counted 10.
The couple’s two children and grandchildren live out of state and stay with them during special occasions. And the Drexlers always like to entertain large groups of friends and neighbors, taking advantage of Arizona outdoor living.
Cooking is another of their hobbies.
“We love the fact that everyone comes to the kitchen,” Pam said. "I think that’s true for most people. You invite people and everyone comes to the kitchen. So I really wanted that area where people can sit while you’re cooking."
She said the kitchen's layout and large granite countertops allowed plenty of room for 25 family members at Easter. And a second prep sink made it easier to put those guests to work.
The kitchen is the focal point of the great room; it features an arched brick ceiling with cove lighting.
Tim has automated the house so that the couple can command every light, window and lock through Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant.
Pam just needs to say, “Alexa, turn on kitchen cook,” to light up the cooking areas or “Alexa, turn on kitchen dinner” to dim the lights into a cozy glow. When the homeowners go to sleep, they give Alexa a simple command that instructs her to turn off every light in the house except their bedroom, and to lock every door.
Years ago, Pam retired from her position at Make a Wish Foundation of America, where she was in charge of all chapters across the country. Tim used to own a construction company.
Both are originally from out of state, where they grew up in homes with basements. This, and their HOA's prohibition against two-story homes, led them to build a basement.
“Tim and I wanted the basement to have a totally different look. We made it very modern," Pam said. "But I didn’t want low ceilings, so we made them 11 feet tall. Also, every room in the basement has a view to the outside for some natural light.”