Dan Stewart of Tri-City Construction is revered for his unique designs in the luxury custom home market.
WHEN CUSTOM HOMEBUILDERS need inspiration, designers often turn to social media networks like Pinterest and Houzz or the HGTV cable network.
All Dan Stewart has ever needed to deliver luxury homes throughout Utah is the parameters of a lot, the budget and his imagination.
“When I go into the project, I can see the space before I frame it, add detail to the space prior to the finishes, and I know what all my connections and lines are going to be,” says Stewart, who founded Tri-City Construction in Draper, Utah, in 1998.
“Anybody can build a house,” Stewart says. “It is what you do with the plans that makes it a piece of art.”
Tri-City Construction immediately began targeting large custom homes when it was launched in 1998, building million-dollar homes throughout Utah. The company has since grown into a builder of mega-milliondollar homes, a natural progression considering Stewart’s background in the business.
Stewart’s father, Glen, spent his entire career as a general contractor, and he got his son involved with the industry early on.
Stewart says he started out as a framer before moving into drywall, finished carpentry, concrete work, cabinet building and roofing.
“Having an in-depth knowledge of those trades, I started building spec homes here and there,” Stewart says. “That provided a foundation to where we’re at today.”
Thanks to his lifelong experience in construction, Stewart says he has a firm grasp of the building and design sides of the homebuilding process, which gives him a distinct advantage over the competition in the Utah marketplace. Stewart’s goal is to give every client something that is uniquely their own, not just something that you can find anywhere else.
“I never look at Pinterest – I create out of my head,” Stewart says. “I’d rather be a leader than a follower. There are competitors taking photos of my projects – I’ve never taken a photo of another contractor’s house because I create all of my designs.”
Door of Opportunity
For example, Stewart often designs customized doors and moldings for the homes he builds so his clients have a one-of-a-kind item that was created specifically for them.
“I constantly create for the next project because I don’t want to follow the same pattern as the one before,” Stewart says.
Considering Tri-City Construction often builds four or five houses at a time, designing unique features for every home could be taxing for most homebuilders. But for Stewart, it comes naturally – and he looks forward to each and every challenge.
“People that I’ve talked to have asked, ‘Where do you come up with something like this?’” Stewart says. “It’s a gift to see things in my head, and I don’t know where they come from. I don’t know why I do what I do, I just do it!”
Understanding the Client
A client’s dream home always has financial constraints, whether a budget is $1 million or $20 million.
That is why Stewart insists on getting to know each customer who calls upon Tri-City Construction’s services before placing pencil to paper for designs.
“I need to learn their likes and dislikes and figure that out on the front end,” Stewart says. “Once I understand that, I can roll with the build and make the dream come true.”
This process also helps clients determine whether Tri-City Construction is a good fit for their custom homebuilding needs, as well. Stewart says clients sometimes prefer a standard build, and if that’s the case, he encourages them to find another builder who is not as hands-on as he is.
“I don’t want to be a guy who builds a house from the dashboard of my truck,” Stewart says. “I’m on every one of my job sites every single day.”
It is this attention to detail that keeps Tri- City Construction employed through the highs and the lows of the homebuilding economy.
Despite the increasing demands for his work, Stewart intends to maintain Tri-City Construction’s pace of building four or five homes at a time so he can be as involved as possible.
That is how he’s known in the industry today, and he intends to keep that reputation intact for as long as possible. What makes the company a leader in custom homebuilding is the keen ability to carefully orchestrate the team of architects, engineers and subcontractors needed for each project.
“That’s what people hire me for – the creative side of it and seeing the quality of the work we actually do when the house is handed to them,” Stewart says. “For me, every day is a vacation because I absolutely love what I do.”