Brigitte Lepage is co-owner of Capstone Custom Homes.
What is Capstone Custom Homes and what does it do?
Lepage: Capstone Custom Homes is a luxury custom home builder based in Calgary. We’re also a relationship builder, a people-focused business that builds outstanding homes. The relationships that we have with our clients and everyone we deal with are as important as the quality of the homes that we build.
Your home reflects how you live, what’s important to you, and ultimately who you are. We believe that every home should be as unique as the people who live in it. At Capstone, we focus on creating a home that’s tailored to your life, that gives you and your family not only a home that you love driving up to, but that takes into account all your daily routines that are specific to you. A home where you want to bring friends and family to, that you want to relax in, that you’re excited to come back to after a vacation, a home that’s created specifically for you.
When was the company founded and why was it established?
Lepage: In 2009, I decided to leave a fulfilling career in IT consulting to pursue my passion for interior design and architecture and partnered with Barry Laidlaw, a graduate architect with over 25 years of experience designing and building award-winning homes in Calgary and throughout Western Canada to start Capstone Custom Homes.
I actually met Barry a few years earlier when he designed a home for my husband and I. It was a great experience and things just fell into place and we made the decision to start Capstone together. I can’t believe we’ve already been working together for over 10 years!
Having renovated and built several homes over the years, I felt the process could be significantly improved for buyers to include a more transparent, hands-on project approach. We offer design and build services, a one-stop-shop, if you will, for luxury custom homes and large-scale renovations projects, ensuring the true architectural integrity of the design is carried to completion.
What differentiates you from other homebuilders in the market?
Lepage: Building a custom home is a financial investment that’s both personal and life changing. Our focus is not only on building outstanding homes but also trusted relationships and this is something we live and breathe every day.
With Capstone, you’re working directly with Barry and I, the owners, throughout the design and build of your home. It doesn’t get more personal than that! I think there is a lot of value in that – we care, we’re on site, we take care of your project like it’s our own.
Having a graduate architect involved in the construction of your home brings the architectural vision and attention to detail to another level, ensuring we build to specific standards.
We’ve spread our wings over the years and are also building more homes that are designed by well-known architecture and design firms. Our expertise in this area is well suited for these more complicated builds and has proven to be successful collaborations.
Having our clients equally happy about the relationship they have built with the Capstone team, the level of care they receive during the design and construction of their new home and knowing that their builder has their back when it comes to protecting their investment, is equally as important as the home itself.
But what really sets us apart from our competitors is our level of transparency. It begins with detailed preliminary estimates, as we take a no-stone-left-unturned approach. It’s important to set realistic expectations upfront and include everything it takes to build your home when preparing your budget. Our clients can rest assured we’re not quoting low to win the job and then charge extras after the start of construction.
As building gets underway, invoices are then supplied directly from the trade or supplier with no hidden markups, because when we say are transparent, we mean it. Our commitment is to be transparent and accountable to the entire process from our relationship with our client to our expertise in architectural design, budgeting, selection and construction through to service and warranty after possession.
How has business been in recent years considering the challenging economic conditions?
Lepage: As with any downturn, slower economic growth, high unemployment rates and general market uncertainty have been challenging obstacles. Weak consumer confidence has kept potential buyers on the fence. Taking more of a wait-and-see approach, there was no urgency to move forward.
On the upside, we do see things improving in the first half of this year. We also see some clients wanting to stay in their homes and improve them, and Capstone has been able to capitalize in this area, as we offer large-scale renovations as part of our product offering.
This down market has also provided us an opportunity to re-evaluate our processes, product offerings and look to innovation for new ideas and building materials that address efficiency and affordability.
At Capstone, we’ve built our business on referrals, and although the sluggish economy has been challenging, like the beautiful city we call home, we’ve become more resilient and diverse in the process, which is always a good thing.
What’s your vision for the company?
Lepage: We see our company continuing to grow in both areas of new home construction and large-scale renovations. We’ll continue to bring on team members and trade partners that share Capstone’s values of caring for our clients and the job that we do, being accountable, innovative and passionate about the work that we do.
We will continue to challenge ourselves to maintain a modern vision and keep pace with the evolving trends in architecture, design and, especially, more energy-efficient building practices. We believe that environmental responsibility, energy efficiency, and healthy indoor living go hand in hand with comfort, convenience and great design.
As people are becoming more aware of the effect the building industry has on the environment and the government’s mandate for mitigating climate change impacts from residential construction, Net Zero is becoming the latest buzz word in our industry. Capstone is at the forefront of this innovation, having completed the CHBA qualified Net Zero Building Science certification. We are also certified in the assembly of BONE Structure, a steel construction system for Net Zero and the only certified builder in the Calgary area who built one of the first BONE homes in Calgary.
Capstone will continue to be on the leading edge in bringing new innovative technology to the Calgary market.
Interviewed by Mario Toneguzzi, a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary.