Every Detail Considered
by Walt Burns
“I’m a perfectionist. I want everything perfect.”
–Matt Cloninger, Owner, Cloninger Custom Homes
There’s a chance you will someday be in a lift line and hear a guy talking about the days when those kinds of things didn’t exist on Bachelor. That’s clue number-one that you might be in the company of Matt Cloninger. The second might be when you see the lines he arcs through the Cascade powder. Matt has an obsession with perfection. It is this last point that bears relevance in the discussion about Cloninger Custom Homes.
Perfectionism can come from a lot of different places. Maybe it’s a function of personality. Maybe an experience. Maybe a combination of both. You can certainly go back through Matt’s experience and development as a builder and see an arc towards high standards. He started building shortly after moving to Bend in 1991. Eventually finding a mentor, Matt ventured down the road to a comprehensive understanding of every element of building. Year after year, they built homes. Every single aspect—from framing and exterior finishing to interiors—they did it all. “He kind of took me under his wing, and we did everything from the foundation to all the finish work. We even built the cabinets. We basically did everything. Just the two of us. It taught me a lot,” says Matt.
Matt is not the first builder with a comprehensive understanding of everything it takes to build a fine home, yet it is not as common as you might think. The result of this is a theme you see throughout every Cloninger home—unwavering attention to detail and a synergy that comes from designing and building based on the entirety, not the individual pieces. Basically, it’s the best way to get all the pieces to fit together gracefully and that’s exactly what Matt relishes.
“My style is to spend a good amount of time on site, to understand the project intimately and work with the client to make it exactly what they want. When you buy a custom home from me, it comes from me.”
–Matt Cloninger, Owner, Cloninger Custom Homes
Being so involved throughout the process and having such in-depth working knowledge of each aspect of a project also allows Cloninger to develop a more substantial relationship with the client. “My style is to spend a good amount of time on site, to understand the project intimately and work with the client to make it exactly what they want,” Matt continues. “When you buy a custom home from me, it comes from me.”
Just as importantly, every project benefits from Matt’s tireless scrutiny. “Of course, I’m happy to come back, but my goal is to not have a punch list. I’m particular and work hard to make sure everything is dialed in,” says Matt.
With this level of hands-on attention, Cloninger is strict about maintaining a small number of projects in a given year. That doesn’t always coincide with the growth Bend has enjoyed. “We’re definitely getting a lot of traffic from the larger metropolitan areas—Seattle, Portland, all through California and across the country. We’re getting a lot more people moving here right now because they don’t necessarily have to work from the office anymore. They can work remotely, and it’s had a big impact on the real estate market here. Our inventories are at record lows and prices are up. There’s just a huge demand and not enough supply,” Matt explains.
“I generally do two to four homes a year,” he adds. “Right now, I’ve got three projects going and will probably start two more within the next six months, so it’ll be a pretty busy year for me.” That said, Cloninger may take on a little more than usual in the face of the growing demand but not at the expense of his primary objective. “I’m a perfectionist,” Matt confides. “I want everything perfect.”
Not surprisingly, the drive for perfection is not just a reason Cloninger homes are so valued, but a part of why his subcontractors enjoy working with him. As Matt explains, “Many of us have been working together for almost 30 years and we all enjoy what we do and appreciate being on jobs together. I think people enjoy being a part of the quality that comes out of these projects.”
But Matt’s values run deeper than just building perfect custom homes. His are values that get to the very core of why so many of us are drawn to Bend in the first place—a love of natural places and the interest in taking a more active role in preserving them. One way for a builder to do that is through renewable energy. “I’m a big advocate of solar. I incorporate PV solar pretty much on every house. I’d say in 99% of my homes, we’ll have a full PV solar,” says Matt. As he is quick to point out, the advantages go far beyond the environmental impact. “The cost of solar has come down so much I’m surprised more builders don’t just automatically incorporate it. Most consumers get excited when I tell them they won’t have a power bill. The payback is fast as it’s not a huge investment,” Matt explains.
Likewise, Cloninger works closely with the Earth Advantage certification process to ensure that each building is held to uncompromising environmental and energy efficiency standards. Ultimately, Cloninger Custom Homes takes satisfaction in knowing that they have left their particular mark on Bend. As Matt reflects, “It’s really cool to drive around Bend and say, ‘I built that house. And that house. And that one.’ And know that 100 years from now they will still be around.”
For more information about Cloninger Custom Homes call 541-419-4980 or visit cloningercustomhomes.com