Ascent at The Phoenician®
Scottsdale-based Cullum Homes is a true family enterprise, building luxury custom homes for more than 36 years, and today reimagining the optimal client experience.
Crafting stunning, luxury custom homes is a family business for the team at Cullum Homes. Rod Cullum and wife Kim Cullum co-founded the business together in 1985, and they have since grown to be an very inclusive, all-encompassing firm that focuses on delivering what they like to call the finest home building experience. And they’re keeping it all in the family, with the next generation making an impact with daughter Lindsay Cullum-Colwell as the principal architect and her husband, Paul Colwell as the managing director.
Cullum Homes has since grown to encompass several divisions of services, including site selection, architecture, design, construction management, renovation and custom home concierge services.
“It’s really a fun time to be a custom home builder,” says Rod Cullum. “Lindsay is our principal architect, and proudly, she’s our daughter. We’ve been training her for years on how to build the Cullum way.”
Like many small businesses, the Cullum family started its Scottsdale, Arizona-based luxury home building business from the couple’s home, where they worked for seven years before hiring the company’s first team member and moving to a small office in downtown Scottsdale.
“Rod was in the field, and I was in the office; that kept things really simple. We took it slow and easy for a number of years, and then started a family,” says Kim Cullum. “Now 36 years later, we are still a family business but have grown steadily.”
Cullum Homes has since grown to encompass several divisions of services, including site selection, architecture, design, construction management, renovation and custom home conciergeservices. Today, the company is focused on building homes in Cullum’s signature communities, including The Village at Seven at Desert Mountain, Ascent at The Phoenician®, Ironwood Golf Villas, Paradise Reserve and The Village at Mountain Shadows, along with building custom estates outside their communities.
With the communities at The Village at Seven at Desert Mountain and Ascent at The Phoenician®, the company is innovating with new designs and amenities in their newest offerings, both available for sale now and nestled in some of the most premier locations in the Valley featuring true luxury, amazing views and access to golf.
Over the last 36 years, the company has grown to encompass a one-stop-shopping approach, adding architecture, design and home concierge services to the firm’s big picture approach to building homes. Controlling all these pieces in-house has created a unified experience for Cullum’s clients, like an orchestra playing to the direction of one conductor.
“We are absolutely focused on making the custom home process as streamlined, fun and enjoyable for our clients as we can,” says Kim. “A difference that Rod and I have seen over the years, is that 15 to 20 years ago, our typical client really wanted to go out in the community, they wanted to go to every supplier, they wanted to see every option, they would spend endless weeks and months looking for the things that they wanted, and that has really changed.”
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“In the last few years, our clients really want guidance from us, they want a curated process, they want us to do some of the legwork upfront, so they don’t have to do it all, which saves them a lot of time,” she says.
Enter the new Cullum Homes Design Showroom, where clients can select everything from wood flooring to shower tile to plumbing fixtures to handles to a modern wine cellar. The showroom for custom estate homes features the best materials from vendors like Solstice Stone, Innovative Wine Cellar Designs and Kohler, who have the opportunity to create displays of their products in the Design Showroom.
Clients get a drawer for all their selections to reflect on at each meeting, whether they are in person or on the company’s high-tech smart board that is like Zoom with a live drawing board where changes are made in real time.
In a recent podcast, the Cullums reflected on where new ideas come from. One of the lavish pieces Cullum Homes curates for its homes is a custom-built refrigerator closet with enough space to store sheet cakes for birthdays, large quantities of water bottles and anything else too bulky to fit into a traditional refrigerator. Though Rod had never seen it before in homes, picking up a birthday cake for Lindsay’s birthday inspired the idea. And that is how some custom home innovations happen at Cullum Homes.
“We try and test everything out on ourselves first,” says Kim, who moves with Rod every couple of years to test new product.
As the company’s principal architect, Lindsay Cullum-Colwell brings extensive architectural educational experience and knowledge of construction to the family business.
“As my dad would always say, everything starts with how you enter the home, which is usually through the garage.”
The Village at Seven at Desert Mountain
“As my dad would always say, everything starts with how you enter the home, which is usually through the garage,” says Lindsay. “You have to figure out how the circulation will work, and then from there I like to figure out what the client’s priorities are.”
“It’s almost an interview of the client and a conversation about their life and their expectations and their needs, how they live, and putting it together in my head. I think that one of the most fun portions of the design process is when the client sees their custom home in their head as well,” she says.
When designing a home, Lindsay puts an emphasis on knowing and sticking to the budget early on.
Ascent at The Phoenician®
“Instead of building this dream of hers at an unknown budget, she’s really executing how we get that look for the best value, so we’re doing all the value engineering in the design phase,” says Rod. “So, you don’t say, ‘go bid it out’ and then realize that you’re hundreds of thousands, sometimes more, over budget.”
In addition to building new communities and custom luxury estates, Cullum Homes is committed to quality at every stage of the home lifecycle from designing a new estate, renovating an existing custom home to maintaining the custom homes they build with the company’s home concierge services.
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“We stay in touch with our clients for what seems like a lifetime from when we meet them. It’s not unusual to get a call from a client who wants us to renovate their Cullum Home and for sure, they really enjoy our home concierge services where we stay on top of routine maintenance and repairs for them. They trust us to keep their homes in top shape, especially if they live here part time,” says Rod, who has worked with his team to serve clients on multiple homes.
When you talk with Rod, Kim, Lindsay and Paul, you hear a strong alignment around trust—trusting themselves, trusting their team and clients trusting them.
Ironwood Golf Villas
Today Lindsay and Paul are moving into leadership roles with the custom home company as the well-known, highly charitable and much-loved founders are just beginning to pass the proverbial torch to the next generation.
Rod and Kim say they are excited to see where new systems, new technology and a growing team will lead their company. As for Lindsay and Paul, they say they feel blessed to have this treasure in their hands, honoring the years of work and integrity that has gotten Cullum Homes to where it is today.