Editor's note: This is part one in a two-part series on the construction of this house. Azcentral will provide an update on the house this summer.
Lego interlocking bricks were launched in 1958 and twice named “Toy of the Century" for their ability to inspire creativity in children and adults.
But in the West Valley, the Fetters brothers have taken that creativity to an entirely different level with their Lego-inspired house.
Gary and Rod Fetters grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri, where they excelled in high-school building trades classes. They exhibited an aptitude for mechanics and building throughout their youth.
Both joined the U.S. Air Force and served for more than two decades in aircraft-support squadrons, finishing up their careers at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale. They retired as senior master sergeants and are the only pair of brothers ever honored at Luke with a dual retirement ceremony, in 2005.
Now, they run a custom-home construction company.
They launched Castle Rock Custom Homes in 2004, a year before their retirements from the Air Force. It began with the purchase of several lots near Peoria and 159th avenues.
They simultaneously launched a sister company, ICF Specialists Ltd., and began installing insulating concrete forms for commercial and residential clients, giving them an opportunity to build capital while waiting for an economic recovery to create a favorable market appealing to custom homebuyers.
Insulating concrete forms, or ICFs, are hollow foam blocks that can be stacked, reinforced with rebar and filled with concrete to form walls.
Homes built with ICF construction are considered hurricane-proof, earthquake-resistant, termite-proof and sound-resistant. They don't burn as quickly and are more energy-efficient than many other building materials.
It is typically more expensive to build with ICF compared with conventional wood framing.
Fourteen years later, Gary and Rod’s vision proved on-point.
The lots they bought are east of Loop 303, and have mountain views to the west. Other homes in the neighborhood are selling in the half-million-dollar-plus range.
Last October, Castle Rock Homes took on a special mission — the Palo Verde chapter of Special Olympics Arizona.
In an effort to raise funds for the organization, the brothers built the exterior of a 3,600-square-foot house in one day using ICFs. They also added one more component: a Lego theme.
They recorded the process and in addition to presenting Special Olympics Arizona with a $500 check, they have committed to donating 1/8 of a cent to the organization for each click on their YouTube video.
According to Castle Rock Homes office manager Vicki Connell, 12 gallons of paint in primary colors and a party of three with rollers transformed the ICFs into Lego-like blocks.
Then began the real challenge — build it in a day.
A nine-person crew wasted no time burning daylight. The ICF framing for the expansive custom home was completed well before sunset, and included the installment of exterior windows and door frames.
The second phase of reinforcing the ICF walls with 64 yards of concrete and building out the roof happened later.
With the house visible from Loop 303, curious motorists were lured to the neighborhood to check out what they couldn’t believe they saw as they were flying by at 60 mph.
The Lego-like house, located in the unincorporated area of Waddell, trended on Facebook and local media. Word-of-mouth fanned an air of childhood excitement among adults and children. Deanne Drive has been lined with cars trying to get a look. Children and adults often pose in front of the construction site and play with the forms set out by the brothers for exactly that purpose.
The Castle Rock Homes Facebook page and website are peppered with live video updates on the home’s progress.
The house will eventually be stuccoed, covering up the brightly colored blocks so its color at least will look unremarkable from other homes in the neighborhood.
Construction and sale of the Lego home is expected to conclude by early summer, when Gary and Rod Fetters turn keys over to its owners.