Company Life
8 min

CANVAS REBEL - Meet Amanda Leigh

We were lucky to catch up with Amanda Leigh recently and have shared our conversation below.

Hi Amanda, thanks for joining us today. Let’s start with a fun one – what’s something you believe that most people in your industry (or in general) disagree with?

The general norm in the industry is to try to make the most square footage as cost effective as possible. The thought process behind that is that your resale comp will be higher if your square footage is maxed out. This is true in some regard – but the oversight typically is that buyers care about thoughtful, high-design and evoking a feeling that they get inside of the space. Oftentimes houses that have more quality fixtures and finishes do better and create their own comp because buyers feel they cannot get this elsewhere.

The industry needs to rethink the way they are building and creating spaces. Getting in and out quickly and inexpensively, and maxing out square footage is what creates over renovated, high turnover, low quality homes. If there were more care and attention to detail and functionality, it would create longer lasting and timeless spaces that have held onto their soul and design. When we go back into homes to try and restore what the original design and architecture was intended for, it wouldn’t be such a large undertaking if some of these “flippers” over the years didn’t tear the life out of them.

Amanda, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?

As a company, when we pick projects, we look for homes in valuable areas that have been overlooked or not taken care of. Our goal is to reinvigorate the spaces with new life while obtaining its original character. Some homes have lost their character along the way, and some simply have no character. Homeowners add additions over time without keeping in mind the flow of space and cohesion of the property as a whole. We excel at dismantling and reconfiguring the home carefully in order to reunify the soul and functionality.

We pay strong attention to what is inside of the walls making sure everything is safe and functional. We saw a void in the industry where there were two types of builders – developers and flippers. Generally developers build ground up, maximizing size for highest resale. Flippers on the other hand take properties that need a paint and rouge update, and do the bare minimum to put the properties back on the market at a return. We work in the middle. We take existing homes, and restore them in a thoughtful way. In the built environment, we are running out of new land to build on, and face higher building code regulation. Builders will be forced to act with more care and buyers will continue to get more savvy and want more out of their properties as prices get higher and higher. As a firm, we are unwavering in using natural materials, quality fixtures and finishes, and adding warmth into spaces. It’s our highest priority to create homes that feel design heavy, yet safe and reliable.

We’d love to hear about how you met your business partner.

Taylor and I met about four and a half years ago. I was working in ground-up construction and Taylor was working in full stack development in the software industry. We fell in love by seeing the world through the same lens. We both are creative forward thinkers and always felt confined within the lines of other companies’ models. We thrived through the ability to create our own, while staying true to our values and motives. Whether you work with a loved one, or someone you trust in your industry, make sure to never waver. Carry out your vision and values and don’t fall into the norms of what everyone else around you is doing. That stunts growth, creativity and the ability to stand out in a large industry.

How do you keep your team’s morale high?

Be where the stress stops. If you are able to communicate well with your team, they will be confident in themselves and rely on you. Pay your staff what they deserve. This will lower turnover and create the ability to have better craftsmen and training because you have more time to develop a stronger skillset. Make sure each individual, no matter where they are in the hierarchy of your company, feels of value, and they have potential to grow within the business. Taking time to applaud the small wins really goes a long way with your employees. Lastly, always have fun. Life always throws curve balls, and work should be more than a job. You spend more time with your work family than anyone, so treat them like one.

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Image Credits
gavin cater nils tamm michael clifford

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