To attract buyers to an empty, unfurnished speculative home, builders must be able to create an attention-getting design that works without the enhancement of furnishing or other amenities. For one such home in Arizona, Painter Properties achieved this with the use of premium materials throughout the residence.

The 3,500-square-foot home, which has an approximate price tag of $750,000, makes extensive use of honed and filled Durango marble limestone. The material, which is a fully metamorphosed limestone, was quarried and fabricated in Mexico, and supplied by World Wide Stone Corp. of Phoenix, AZ.

The overall design goal for the home was to achieve a low-maintenance, comfortable feeling with elegance and style. This limestone was chosen because it offered a neutral color, while still displaying a distinct personality and character for the entire house.

Field tiles throughout the home were specified in a 16- x 16- x 3¿inch form

at, and in the bathrooms, Durango

stone was used in more detailed combinations. For example, the guest bathroom features a range of applications for the material. The vanity top includes 2- x 2-inch pieces of Durango, set on the diagonal, with rectangular-cut stone forming a border. The vanity mirror also features a surround of rectangular-cut pieces, with a small rope border on the outside.

The tub in the guest bathroom also utilizes small-format Durango pieces set on the diagonal, and the design combination includes light and dark variations of the material. Another guest bathroom in the house also makes use of the dark tile variety in a larger format. These tiles were hand-selected to insure quality.

The shower in the master bathroom is also of interest, as it features rectangular tiles of Durango stone set on a radius in some areas, complemented by glass block tiles. The floor is also Durango stone, utilized in small-format tiles.

In the living areas of the home, a focal point is a stone "compass" at the entryway. This element uses randomly shaped pieces of Durango stone in different shades, along with green marble. Additionally, a border of various-sized pieces of Durango stone forms a transition where the stone meets the carpeted areas of the floor.

According to Mike Nafziger of World Wide Stone Corp., fabricating the stonework was a challenge. "Each deco, accent and trim is hand made and exclusive to this house," he said. "While we offer nearly all of the types of accents used, the builder wanted to have a very unique style to this house." The stone installer was on site at the house for over three months. The master bath shower, entryway compass, guest bath counter, and master bath baseboards were all custom fabricated on site.