This week we caught up with Melanie and asked her a few questions about Herself, Nanon and Maison.
How did you two meet?
We were brought together by divine intervention, it was fate :) So, that is absolutely true but here is the physical meeting. Nanon contacted me via e-mail and said something like I have come across your name a few times and I wanted to meet up and discuss what it is you do. It was very organic and casual how we crossed paths really, but I’m certain it was meant to be. We met at a local coffee shop…..Kate’s cafe in the Oak Bay Beach Hotel to be exact. We had an instant connection, who wouldn’t with Nanon! So warm, open, smart, articulate, interesting, beautiful. When our meeting was over I felt as though I had known her forever instead of 2 hours. We ended up shutting down the coffee shop……really they had to tell us they were closing. Some first “dates” shut down bars/night clubs, we shut down a coffee shop!
Take a peak at the cafe where it all started!!
What made you want to start Maison?
I have this thing about building and creating homes. I’m very attached to the process. It excites me, it drains me, it fills me, it drives me, it challenges me. I love the ride. So I’m committed to this, it’s part of who I am. I get fulfillment from managing all the challenges everyday and pushing through until the end when it all comes together! Each time I want to do the process better and I think that’s what makes me love it. I had the ‘boots on the ground’ in Victoria experience and lacked the business savvy and Nanon easily filled that + her excellent eye. Ta-da a company came to be!
What is your favourite part when customizing a home?
I love the framing and rough-in stage where it’s so easy to tweak this, move that. Add something really well thought out. It’s really exciting because it’s like a blank slate but yet there is always constraints and it’s a challenge to make it the best it can possibly be.
Framing from Mowat, one of our current projects!
How would you describe your home style?
I’m a meat and potatoes girl at heart. So here’s what I mean. That really basic good food - thats the base of a meal for me. I add in the awesome flair of flavour like right now I’m into chimichuri sauce with everything. So I build like that……the bones are the same - lots of light, large windows, excellent functional layout, good quality floors, hardware, doors. Those are the meat and potatoes. I add in something a little different and unexpected here and there to make it current and relevant but I’m selective rather than trendy. So in terms of style, it’s classic and functional with a bit of spice. Quiet elegance, not boastful, not overdone. Just like a fabulous delicious meal, great ingredients and the flavours come through. I don’t try to do too much at once and limit each house to a few select well thought out features.
For a great Chimichurri Recipe check out: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/chimichurri-sauce-2
Do you have any tips you would give to someone who is looking to build a custom home?
I don’t recommend someone without any building experience tackle a custom home. It’s a difficult process, it’s likely the largest investment/cash outlay someone will ever make and shouldn’t be taken lightly. You wouldn’t try and build your own dream car right?!? It isn’t the romanticized storyline you see on TV where a house is built over an episode. I honestly say if you want a custom home you should buy one of ours, we’ve already customized it for you and we’ve waded through the pitfalls.
Check out one of our custom kitchens!
What have been your biggest challenges when building custom homes?
Finding land in communities/areas we want to build in is very challenging because we are picky about where we want our owners to live. Seriously we live by what we say and what we say is that we build in Victoria’s best neighbourhoods and streets. So there is a lot demand for those properties, we have to bid to get them so it can be a big challenge
The other challenge is people - so I believe home building is one of the last areas of our lives that cannot be automated. It is a SERIOUS human endeavour literally - the whole thing is built on the backs and by the hands of people. So we want our trades to be motivated to produce high quality because they care about their product and have pride. That is a culture we work very hard at everyday!
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