Building a custom-designed home probably ranks high on every homeowner’s dream list. At Suncadia, we know how important it is for members of our community to build a home they will love for years to come, one that fits their lifestyle and that they are happy to come home to weekend after weekend. That’s why we have partnered with some of the best home builders and architects in Cle Elum and across Washington. Meet Jeff Hansel of Swiftwater Custom Homes.
Tell me about your practice. How long ago did you start the company?
I started building homes in 1981 on Camano Island and have built homes throughout King, Snohomish, Island and Skagit counties. In 2004, I was one of the first home builders working in Suncadia and have since worked on more than 75 homes in the community.
Is there a particular style of home you specialize in or gravitate towards?
I do not have a particular style or genre of home that I specialize in. Rather, I help my clients define and decide the style that is right for them. I have built modest to very large homes in both Suncadia and Tumble Creek, ranging from 1,500 to nearly 10,000 square feet. I have built lodge style homes, timber frame, craftsman and was one of the first builders in Suncadia to move towards what I call mountain modern, the more contemporary style that has angular roofs, cleaner lines and finishes.
What do you think makes the Suncadia community special, from an architecture or design perspective?
Suncadia is a unique place—a community that embraces several styles of architecture, a wide range of sizes and price ranges and appeals to nearly every demographic, from young families to empty nesters and retirees. Suncadia’s location makes having a place here easy to get to. This manifests itself in several ways: a quick 60 to 90 minute drive allows you to jump up here after school or work and get back in time for whatever activity may be calling you.
How does the landscape and the weather influence the home design or construction?
The natural landscape here is beautiful, but also hardy and low-maintenance. Expanding on that theme makes most of the homes I do low maintenance as well, which allows my clients to enjoy all of the great activities Suncadia and Kittitas County have to offer. Weather is a big influence in the designs I build. Outdoor living areas are a big deal so designing them to be used in all seasons and in different types of weather is a fun challenge. We get a lot of sunshine here, too, and homeowners want to be in the sun but also want spaces that offer shade relief. Nighttime also offers opportunity for interesting design features, everything from fire pits and star gazing spaces. In fact, Suncadia builds to the standards of the International Dark Sky Association.
When working with a client to custom design their Suncadia home, what are some questions you ask to ensure you create something unique?
I work closely with my clients from the very start to really get to know them and to understand their plans for how they will live and use their new Suncadia home. Together we are able to create details and finishes that are truly unique. Many of the things we finish a home with are similar to nearly every other home we build: cabinets, bath fixtures, appliances, etc. are present in every home. Finding the finishes that meet the specific use/need/budget of each client is something we do every day. We do however, spend a lot of time with each client, and after we get to really know them we come up with one (or several) unique and special things, what we call “rifle shots of customization” that are truly a one-of-a-kind detail for that client.
Are there any home design trends that you think are very popular right now? Or that you foresee will become popular this year?
I’m seeing a definite trend towards what I call mountain modern design. Clean lines, angular single plane roofs, more contemporary finishes. I see a trend in the future towards a much more connected home. Owners will be able to remotely monitor and manage their home, access sensors to confirm that their home is operating efficiently and effectively. Integration of Alexa or Google with energy management, lighting control, video & audio, etc. is already starting to happen.
What do you think sets your practice apart from other firms who work with Suncadia?
My wife and I, along with my business partner and his wife are full time residents in the Suncadia Resort. We’re very active within the Suncadia community and have many friends here. We work closely with the Suncadia management and development teams to do what we can to make Suncadia a better place. We are focused on building within Suncadia and Tumble Creek, doing very few projects outside of the resort. This focus gives me and Swiftwater Custom Homes a unique perspective on building and living here.
Interested in a Cle Elum vacation home or learning more about Swiftwater Custom Homes and their developments? Contact a member of the Suncadia sales team at 509-649-6000 to #findyourspotinthesun.