Saturday, August 29, 2009

August 1999-2009 - 10 Year Anniversary





We are happy to announce our 10 year anniversary of Candelaria Design – August 28, 1999 – 2009. Wow that went by very quickly but looking back so much has happened in now what seems like a very short time. It’s funny how time is like that…..



I moved to Arizona 30 years ago this month to attend my second year of school at Arizona State University after spending my freshman year at the University of Colorado. Some of my first classes were with the late Cal Straub (you architecture junkies will know him) and of course my ultimate mentor, the late George W. Christensen. Little did I know that three years later I would be a draftsman in George’s office over on the corner of 24th Street and Campbell. During the course of going to school I met my ex-wife and needed to get a job. Of course the economy was quite bad in 79-80 and there were not a lot of jobs out there – especially for a guy with no real experience, and lacking a degree. Well I found one with a subsidiary of Schuff Steel designing billboard structures. I designed billboard structures for Outdoor Systems, Gannett, etc. Little did I know that 25 years later I would be designing personal homes for two of the principals of those firms later in my career and my office would ultimately be in the original headquarters of Schuff Steel designed by the late Al Beadle.




Well the billboard business went into the tank and I was laid off. While searching the newspaper I found an ad for a draftsman at George Christiansen’s office – now that job I wanted. I answered the ad and went to the interview conducted by Dave Jones and Dick Miller – two of the best architects I ever knew or worked for. I told them I needed this job and would work for free if they gave me the chance. Once there they could determine what I was worth and I would be happy. Fortunately, God blessed me with the ability to draw and they must have seen enough of that ability in the meager portfolio I was able to put together combined with my passion for this position. March 3, 1982 I received a call from Dianne Kleber (George’s office manager who now works with me 27 years later) that I was being offered the position. I was so happy and I was willing to work endlessly (and I did) to show these guys they had made the right choice. Within days I was working on the Van Houten Residence (now one of my retirement fund managers for our firm) the Paul Harvey Residence in the Biltmore, amongst many others to come. The first builder I met with was Gerald and Jerry Meek of Desert Star Construction who ended up building the Van Houten Residence for I think $280k…… unbelievable.

Well the years went by and after projects like Casa Blanca in Scottsdale, and the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Los Caballeros in Wickenburg, Paradise Valley Methodist Church, Mount Claret, not to mention hundreds of homes and remodels I became a partner with George in 1987 and CCBC, Inc was formed. George Christensen was an amazing mentor, friend, teacher and a very missed drinking buddy. Boy we had some great times and of course the George stories are endless….that’s a blog in and of itself.



The years passed and George retired and moved on and my time to set my own path was upon me. I remarried in May of 1999 and upon the return of my honeymoon it became apparent it was the right time to set forth. By September 99 I said my goodbyes to the CCBG gang (with George’s departure Joe Groff had stepped up – hence the G) and started my own gig – me and my two dogs Nacho and Lulu were the whole office. I was determined to keep things simple and work from my little loft space at my townhouse and just enjoy life. Heather and I would field measure projects together and one of our first projects was a garage conversion (that never went forward) on Exeter Blvd. in Arcadia. Again, little did we know that within 10 years we would be doing some of the most grand homes on Exeter and changing the landscape and character of that street.



Six months later my wife said it was time to get an office. The loft was full and the papers, were falling over the railings. So I set out to find a space. My good friend Fred Fleet said he had some space he could sublease and so I went to check it out – 4th floor but down four levels in a basement….. didn’t feel right. I received a call 10 minutes after looking at the basement space that my friend's PR firm was splitting up and they had some space to sublease. Of course that is our current office space in the old Schuff Steel headquarters just a few blocks west of where I first went to work in George's office.





The years went by and the staff grew – some of my early additions are still with me today, Jeff Kramer, Vivian Ayala, and Dianne Kleber. All three of them have been just amazing, hard working and talented people to work with. Their commitment and integrity are impeccable. I have been truly blessed to have them both join me during the early years of my company. I also want to thank Evelyn Bhattan who does the best job at running my operation everyday. She is a phenomenal member of our team and allows the rest of us to play architect every day. We then have been lucky and have been able to land some really great projects. My good friend Patrick Murphy and Larry Peery each had new houses for us to do. Patrick’s little cabin in Coeur d’Alene and Larry’s house in Cottonwood, AZ. Both got us going….more followed, many, many more. We started the Italy tour which really had a major impact on the growth of our firm and the client list – not to mention a huge influence on our designs. Jeff Kramer and I did the very first house ever constructed in Silverleaf, homes in Idaho, California, Oklahoma, Colorado…..its been a real ride.



Many names and faces have passed through our doors and our client list has grown way beyond my wildest dreams. I thank everyone, especially my wife and children, for making the life and career of a guy from Durango, Colorado whose Dad was a hard working railroader and whose Mom used to drag me through model homes on weekends, a dream come true. I thank my current staff and team who are working very hard to ride out these tough times together. Your commitment, encouragement, dedication and talent are all greatly cherished - you are all a great joy to collaborate and have fun with.



Reflecting back on all that has taken place in the last 10 years, not to mention the last thirty, I can only imagine what the next 10 years will bring……