The Kogan Way
Story written by Jennaye Derge | Photos provided by Kogan Builders
Imagine your perfect in-town oasis, or your getaway in the mountains overlooking a river valley. Whatever private paradise you can dream up, Kogan Builders can bring to life. The award-winning design-build firm listens to your visions and their team of skilled, professional in-house designers make them a reality.
As a third-generation home builder, Alix Kogan has a deep-rooted passion for the trade. He has cultivated his interests in custom design and building homes for at least 40 years and has been doing so professionally in Durango for 20 years.
During those two decades, Kogan has sought to make the homebuilding process as enjoyable and straightforward as possible for his clients. He accomplishes this by keeping every aspect of the job under one roof.
“We do everything in-house from the very first meeting with the client,” said Scott Smith, a Project Manager at Kogan Builders.
The design-build model, which combines the elements of architecture and building, simplifies the entire home building process from beginning to end. With all conversations occurring under one roof, it creates a foundation for strong client relationships and it keeps overhead costs low.
As a fully-functioning design-build team, there is a process that the firm completes with each and every person they work with. It starts with the initial vision and works down through every last detail like an intricate puzzle. Kogan and his team want to fully understand their clients’ wishes and needs, as well as the physical realities that they will have to work within, so that they can manage the logistics and bring the full vision to life.
“Once the design relationship exists and we have their ideas on paper, we have to come to an understanding of the lot dynamics,” Smith explained, pointing out that an understanding of the property the home will occupy is just as important as the vision itself. “Then there is the process of working back and forth with the client to start to put pen to paper and to start coming up with our ideas of elevations, floor plans, how the house will sit on the lot. That is all done in-house.”
Kogan and his team love solving logistics like these. They understand that clients come in with specific expectations, and those desires should be achievable no matter the location. A client may already own a plot of land on a hillside that has been labeled ‘unbuildable,’ or they may not have even purchased yet but have a very specific location and view in mind. Kogan Builders has seen it all, and they welcome the challenge.
One year, a man who was vacationing in Durango stayed in a Kogan-built rental in Engineer Village. He loved the mountain style mining house so much that he contacted Kogan to request that they build something similar for him. The only crux was the lot that he had already purchased. It had beautiful views down the mountain valley but had already been deemed unbuildable by other construction companies. The high grade of the hill leading up to the lot did not meet code for a driveway, and the 300-foot cliff on the other side could cause foundation issues. Kogan accepted the challenge.
“We looked at it with the client and said ‘let us go to work and see what we can do,’” Smith said.
The team pulled together a group of trusted experts to come up with solutions to the logistical problems that would otherwise keep the client from building his dream home. After some special engineering, the Kogan team found a way to bring the client’s vision to fruition.
“We started getting the vision down on paper and coming up with ideas to meet the challenges of the lot. We were able to use backward engineering to come up with a solution for the lot. We ended up building a beautiful mountain style mining home that is very rustic. It’s what the client wanted and he just loves it.” Smith said.
The previously unbuildable plot now holds a breathtaking home that won “people’s choice” in Durango’s 2018 Parade of Homes. What’s not to love about a deck hanging over a 300-foot cliff overlooking cascade creek with views down and into the mountains?
While that particular example might have been a little more challenging than most builds, Kogan applies a similar process to every project he takes on to ensure that each client gets exactly what they’re looking for, no matter the nuance of their needs.
Kogan’s team remembers helping a particular couple who wanted to be in town, but still have a large space for a multi-generational home with views of the mountains. There was seemingly nothing available that fit their specific criteria. Through his business, Alix has built many relationships within the area though, and he was able to pull a few strings and find a spot that met all the client’s standards. The land wasn’t on the market yet, but Kogan was able to secure it for the couple to build their in-town multi-generational home with a view.
“The challenge here was to find a lot that met the client’s objectives when there seemed to be no lots available – we were able to solve that problem,” Smith said.
In addition to securing the ideal location and building a meticulously-designed house for their clients, the Kogan team also worked in a marvelous water feature that goes around the entire house and ends under a zero-edge trampoline. The end-product surpassed expectations and formed the foundation for not only future generations of life, but for friendships in the present as well.
“Thinking back on the project, it was a pleasure to build, and one of our biggest accomplishments was that we became such good friends with the clients,” said Jason Wanstrath, the Construction Manager at Kogan Builders. He explained that a few months after the house was completed, the couple invited him over for dinner.
“It was really fun to hang out with them again and see how happy they were in the new house that was their vision and that we helped put down on paper and design,” Wanstrath said.
Relationships like these are valued by the team at the custom home construction company. Through their design-build model they strive to make the experience as positive and efficient as possible for the people who put their dreams in Kogan’s hands.
“There is convenience to the client because they don’t have a separate architect and builder relationship; it’s a one-stop shop.” Smith said. “We know what the client’s target budget is on the front end and we keep that in mind during
the design and build process. We have checkpoints along the way to ensure we are meeting whatever their budget is whether it’s a modest home or a high end home. We’re working with the client.”
This is the value of Alix Kogan’s original priority of having everyone under the same roof. Communication happens naturally, and everyone knows every aspect of the complete vision from start to finish. The firm knows how to keep quality standards high by getting to know each and every house personally and intimately.
“We are very intimately aware of the details of a job so when we go to a project, we already know the home inside and out. We already know the contractors. We know what contractors to use and who not to use. We have an inside track, so to speak, on the knowledge of the home.” Smith said.
When it comes down to it, what Kogan Builders stands for is close relationships; with their clients, with each other, and with southwest Colorado. They know that their design-build model, and their in-house architects and designers are what set them apart from the rest in making beautiful and original dream homes come true.