by Amy Howell Hirt
It is not surprising that Sam and Josie Fratantoni–the founders of Fratantoni Luxury Estates–got into the homebuilding business considering that Sam’s parents, Angelo and Josephine, and Josie’s parents, Vincent and Theresa, were custom home builders. So it was only natural that Sam earned a degree in architecture and became licensed in residential and commercial contracting, while Josie became an interior designer and licensed real estate agent.
While the couple, married 24 years, followed in their parents’ footsteps, they have not blindly followed the industry’s established practices while growing their Scottsdale, AZ business. “We’re always trying to improve on how things are done,” Sam says. With the help of their sons Vince and Angelo, the couple has used their lifetime of lessons to develop an approach that is high-end because it makes sense – for the client, the budget and the location.
Sometimes, that can be as simple as ensuring that a client’s existing furniture will have a place in the new home, or that a window will be placed to perfectly capture a stunning view. Because Josie is involved from the very beginning of every project, it introduces a new level of convenience, personalization and potential monetary savings. “It’s pretty rare for an interior designer to be involved even before the floor plans or elevations are done,” Sam says. “We have her perspective on things right from the start, versus just the builder’s.”
By applying a designer’s eye, Josie can provide ideas for the overall design and floor plan that can achieve the desired look and feel in a more affordable way, helping to avoid future problems and busted budgets. A particular perk for busy families is that these selections can be discussed during construction meetings.
The recent creation of the Fratantoni Realty Group was a logical extension of this focus on convenience, allowing the Fratantoni’s to coordinate the sale of a client’s existing home with the completion of their new home. “We specialize in the experience that the family has, and want to make sure we have all the services they need,” Sam says. This sensible approach also means maximizing the beauty of a home without overlooking its function. “We focus on making it really livable,” Sam says.
For example, a French-European-style kitchen in a private Arizona home the company recently completed, is draped in high-end, Old-World finishes including hand-scraped walnut floors, hand-carved crema marfil marble sinks and Calcutta marble countertops. But the family-friendly space includes a full-size dining area with seating for five and all the necessary appliances. There’s a Sub-Zero refrigerator and Wolf 60-inch range integrated into the custom cabinetry and two warming drawers concealed in a furniture-style island, with the wiring placed in one of the legs.
The homes, which can be built in established communities or individual lots, almost always have courtyards that take advantage of the area’s ideal climate and natural beauty – including the McDowell Mountains and the Sonoran Desert. With welcoming details like Cantera stone fireplaces, plentiful seating and islands of landscaping interspersed in the flagstone, the courtyards become a functional private oasis. This extra space is particularly desirable in Spanish Colonial-style homes, which are common in this region and feature rooms that are connected but not completely open. The courtyard often connects to the home’s other livable areas via retractable glass walls, “exponentially expanding the entertaining space,” Josie says.
While the company is responsible for many of the stunning properties in desirable areas like Paradise Valley, Josie points out the “luxury” component of their name is not limited to homes with five-digit square footage. They often handle projects that are closer to 5,000 square feet. “Something we hear all the time is, ‘We were afraid to call you,’” Josie says. “But for us, every home is a luxury estate.”