Modern Home Builders shares Fieldstone Communities LLC’s impressive ascent in Sacramento’s competitive homebuilding landscape  

Fieldstone Communities LLC (Fieldstone) was a long time in the making, according to its President, Aaron Ross-Swain, who holds a lifelong passion for construction. “When I was around eight years old, I loved building things and using my hands. My stepdad let me work on his construction site, so really, I loved it from a young age and have done construction throughout my life,” he begins. His fascination with building and the hands-on experience he gained from his stepfather fueled his desire for the trade. After graduating with a business degree from California State University, Chico, he initially ventured into sales, but his goal remained focused on transitioning into construction.  

Opportunity knocked when a friend offered him a position in land acquisition at a major homebuilder during the challenging economic climate of 2006. Despite the Great Recession causing layoffs around him, Aaron’s dedication and adaptability propelled him through various roles within the company, honing his skills in land acquisition, forward planning, entitlements, and land development. 

Following his tenure at the homebuilder and another private developer, Aaron embarked on a consulting career, leveraging his expertise to advise builders and developers. However, it was a fortuitous turn of events in 2019 that led him to seize the opportunity to start his own venture. “In 2019, a small subdivision came across my desk; it was quite challenging, but I knew I could figure it out, and I did. I got it under contract, raised some investor money, got a construction loan, and hired a general contractor, and then before you know it, we were building ten duplexes. 

“Then Covid-19 happened shortly after. So, as you can imagine, I get investors, I get a bank loan, we break ground on all these foundations, and suddenly, this pandemic comes out of nowhere. And of course I had significant fears, but we know it all turned out okay, and demand for housing exploded during the pandemic. So, fortunately, that project was a springboard into another and another and another. And here we are,” Aaron expresses. 

Boutique builder 

Today, Fieldstone distinguishes itself by prioritizing quality and innovation, with the aim of creating homes that stand the test of time while embracing sustainability practices mandated by California’s stringent regulations. With a vision for smart and steady growth, Aaron envisions Fieldstone as a small-scale, boutique builder catering to the diverse demands of the Sacramento housing market, where both small and large builders thrive. 

In our conversation, Aaron shares details on a community the business is currently working on: Canyon Creek, which can be found in Auburn, just outside of Sacramento. His enthusiasm for the location is palpable, describing it as a place with an active lifestyle, surrounded by trails, rivers, and stunning views of the Sierra mountains. The 12-acre infill location overlooks the picturesque American River Canyon, creating a sense of tranquility, especially during sunrise. 

Canyon Creek comprises 23 spacious lots, each around 18,000 square feet. Aaron emphasizes the uniqueness of each floor plan, aiming to create homes that offer surprises at every turn, from pocket offices to volume and vaulted ceilings, and luxurious primary bedroom retreats. The focus on windows and architectural elements reflects an incorporation of the natural surroundings. 

Despite the natural world around the homes, these beautiful builds did not come without their challenges, which were largely due to the rugged terrain. “Fortunately, we’re starting to see the dividends of that with decent home prices. It has been a very difficult project to build. From the land development to the home construction, this process has been a long journey. When you do construction in the foothills, you encounter site constraints and other elements that add complexity to the job. We also had a very long winter last year that prolonged the process. But these homes are now nearing completion. In fact, we had our first residents move in last week, and I’m very pleased to share that my sister, my brother-in-law and two nephews moved in.” 

Throughout this process, Aaron has had to cultivate working relationships and drive the positive culture associated with the business. He paints a vivid picture of the evolution of his company, emphasizing the crucial role vendors have played in its success. He acknowledges the initial challenges in establishing these relationships, and recognizes the importance of trust and reliability in securing favorable pricing and skilled workers for projects. He states: “When you don’t have good relationships with vendors, you don’t receive the best pricing, and you don’t get the best workers on your jobsites.” 

Tight-knit team 

Beyond vendor networks, Aaron also shares the significance of the professional connections he has cultivated over the last 18 years in the industry. These relationships not only enhance the business’ credibility but also contribute to a growing pipeline of projects. He notes: “My relationships with my colleagues have positioned Fieldstone for success by finding key land deals, working with the right consultants, and establishing trusted relationships with trade partners.” 

The growth and recent success of Fieldstone is further propelled by its expanding portfolio and positive word-of-mouth recommendations. Aaron reflects on the allure of a booming company, likening it to a ‘moth to a flame.’ He emphasizes the importance of fostering a culture where employees feel valued and building a company with which people want to do business. 

Bringing the conversation to a close, Aaron expresses a commitment to personal growth as a leader. He aspires to create a workplace where hard work is rewarded and where camaraderie thrives, despite the ambitions of the business. He also acknowledges the challenges inherent in the homebuilding industry, particularly in navigating stress, and emphasizes that maintaining a positive work environment will secure the company’s success in the coming years.  

Looking to the future, Aaron envisions Fieldstone as a tight-knit team of professionals dedicated to crafting exceptional homes. While he hopes for the company’s longevity, he is intrigued by the possibility of passing the torch to future generations, potentially involving his own children in the business. “I’ve got three young children, and maybe one day, one of them would like to step in and become an employee and follow in my footsteps, and this can become a generational business. For now, this is something I’ve been wanting to do forever, and it’s very rewarding to be able to do it. I don’t step back often enough to look at what we’ve accomplished, but it’s pretty cool.” With a blend of determination, adaptability, and a vision for the future, Fieldstone is making strong strides in carving its path in the modern homebuilding industry.