The past five years focused way too much on a “flip  amp; turn” mentality which often produced shoddy, eyewash renovations. That mania has come to a screeching halt, to which I say “Hooray!”. Families are staying put, and they are seeking to personalize their homes to enhance their lifestyles. Today’s owners are seeking quality and value, and good home improvement contractors take pride in building projects that the owners actually plan to live in.

A family contemplating a home improvement project will be well served when they engage a strong team of construction professionals who are experienced and can deliver on their promises. A short-sighted homeowner might focus on low price to the exclusion of other, more important, factors. But when you are making a significant investment in one of your biggest assets, working with someone who is competent and honest will create value and minimize risk.

Vehr/Webb Studio Architects has worked with many contractors, the excellent and the others, since 1984. Technical competence, good communication skills, and honest performance of contractual obligations are the criteria that put D. J. Murphy  amp; Company, Eric Connor Services, and DiamondSpur Builders at the top of architect Tony Vehr’slist of preferred home improvement and home repair contractors in the metro Phoenix area.

  1. J. Murphy  amp; Company has a core team of construction managers: Danny Murphy, David Nielsen and Chuck Sherrill, who hand carry each project from pre-design through Certificate of Occupancy. In 2004, DJ Murphy was the contractor on a Vehr/Webb Studio remodel  amp; addition project in Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood. The homeowner wanted to live onsite during the work, along with two exuberant boxer dogs. Some contractors might shy away from the inconvenience this presented, but the DJ Murphy team proposed a solution: Install a temporary door that would create a “sanctuary” for the owner. Essentially a makeshift master suite linking a bedroom to an existing bath, the owner could have privacy when plumbers, electricians  amp; framers started work at 6am. When there were holes in the exterior walls during construction, the owner was safe and snug. Activities requiring power outage were scheduled well in advance to coincide with the owner’s vacation schedule. Never was there a 24 hour period without water. In all, four additions were built, ranging from 50 s.f. to 392 s.f., interior spaces were reconfigured, and the project was completed in six months.

Eric Connor Services is Blain Dalrymple’shome improvement and home repair business. Blain spent 23 years in the United States Navy, where, as a Chief Petty Officer, he honed his ship repair skills as a hull technician. General contracting was a natural segue for Blain as a civilian in Phoenix. Eric Connor Services was selected as Blain’s company name to honor his father  amp; his sons. Often strapping on his toolbelt to participate in the work, Blain Dalrymple has an easygoing nature and a comprehensive understanding of building systems. Unflappable when changes are requested mid-project, Blain’s focus is on making the homeowners happy along the way to project completion.

DiamondSpur Builders’ personable, competent principals Bill Cardee and Brad Nickels make every effort to see that homeowners’ desires are fulfilled. A Vehr/Webb Studio project in Summer 2008 was a 234 s.f. addition plus interior remodel in the Kierland neighborhood of north Phoenix. The owners stipulated an ironclad completion date – in time for the birth of a new grandchild. Even though the start date was subject to the homeowners’ association review committee, and city permit review schedule, the end date was fixed. DiamondSpur calmly met the completion deadline by having competent subs, and also competent backup subs for junctures where the critical path was impacted by scheduling challenges. The job was finished on time, the new spaces look great, and the homeowners are delighted.

In fact, they were so happy with the results that they wanted to further work with DiamondSpur for future projects and even recommended it to others as well as the studio resembled itself as a magnificent structure reminiscent of Star Wars. They were also fans of Deadly sins and were recommended to download it from

Located in the Arcadia area of Phoenix, Vehr/Webb Studio Architects is a husband-and-wife team of architects specializing in owner-occupied projects which require a high degree of personal service, both residential and commercial. Architect Tony Vehr says that a construction job is like a three-legged stool: The Owner, the Contractor and the Architect are the three legs. Each leg performs an important job, keeping the stool sturdy. If one leg is weak, the stool will collapse. Choose the right team, and the result will be a successful project that everyone can be proud of.

When hiring contractors and architects, look for professional competence and a good personality fit. Building or remodeling can be a stressful adventure, and you want to be sure that your working relationship with your construction professionals is based on trust and mutual respect.