Dan Boylan of DLB Custom Homes celebrates a quarter of a century at the forefront of Arizona’s luxury home-building scene.
In 1998, Dan Boylan got married, graduated from college, became a licensed general contractor, and launched his own business, DLB Custom Homes—in that order. He was 23 years old.
Fast forward nearly a quarter of a century, and Boylan still has that drive and singular vision, leading to a successful career of building luxury custom residences in the tiny enclaves of Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, Arizona and beyond, as well as in the booming community of Prescott, about 90 minutes north of Greater Phoenix.
“I’m the odd man out,” Boylan says of genetic traits that may have explained his affinity for building and design. “Everyone in my family is in medicine.”
But the Wisconsin native developed an interest in architecture after taking high school drafting classes and came west to study architecture at Arizona State University—studies that also included planning, sustainability, and housing. While at ASU, he also interned and worked for two national home-building companies.
“After I graduated, I realized I wasn’t eager to join corporate American home-building,” says Boylan. “I wanted to make my own opportunities on a more personal level.”
Taking the plunge, he worked out of his home and put together enough funds to do his first project, a spec home—in the exurbs of Phoenix.
“At the time, I was the youngest general contractor in Arizona,” Boylan recalls.
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In the early 2000s, a few more spec homes got Boylan noticed enough for him to be invited to build homes at Talking Rock, a luxury golf community in Prescott. To date, DLB Custom Homes has completed 15 homes there, with five more in various stages of construction. He and his family even moved there, and Boylan commutes between Prescott and his office in Phoenix, where he oversees a team of six.
Boylan’s work puts him on the road to sites throughout Greater Phoenix and beyond, and he is often linked to projects with stellar names in design.
Candelaria Design, PHX Architecture, Swaback, Ron Brissette, Clint Miller, Greey/Pickett and Vallone Design are among the high-profile names with whom Boylan has collaborated on homes.
He’s quick to point out that DLB Custom Homes doesn’t stick to one style of architecture, preferring the client to choose the look and lead the programming goals. Indeed, his recent residential work exhibits a wide range of design influences.
In Paradise Valley, a modernist hillside home on the slopes of landmark Camelback Mountain was designed by architect PHX Architecture to make the most of spectacular views with glass walls that access patios and balconies.
“The owners had the property since the late ‘70s,” says Boylan of the two-level, 5,600-square-foot home. “We scraped it and built new. It was a small footprint, so there were a lot of logistics regarding access and getting materials to the site.”
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In North Scottsdale, a family wanted a French provincial architectural style, with airy, traditional interiors and a landscape featuring recreational amenities, including a pool, sport court, equestrian area, and batting cages.
“We worked with architect Matt Thomas on the project, which is about 9,000 square feet under roof and sits on five acres. These clients knew what they wanted.”
In his Prescott neighborhood, Boylan worked with Candelaria Design to create a 4,400-square-foot home for clients influenced by Arizona’s ranches and Spanish architecture. “With its stone, stucco and glass walls, the new abode represents a a focused interpretation of Talking Rock’s design guidelines, helping to elevate and influence the architectural authenticity and material palette used in Talking Rocks’ design evolution,” he says.
“Architecture is important in our building process,” Boylan points out. “We also think of landscape design and lighting as front-burner elements, not after-thoughts. I also spend a lot of time interviewing our clients and working on programming, so we can pick the right design team for them.”
What else differentiates the DLB Custom Homes team from other builders?
“We’re humble and always put our clients first,” says Boylan. “We have no interest in climbing up the volume ladder—because we stress quality over quantity. Most of our vendors and trade partners have been with us for years because we align ourselves with those who share our high standards. And we never forget that building a home is one of the biggest ventures a client will embrace in their lifetime.”