LXRY Q & A: Rose Barroso of Barroso Custom Homes
Here is our interview with Rose Barroso, Owner and Project Manager of Barroso Homes, a custom home building company that is passionate about building beautiful and functional, custom homes.
Can you tell me a bit more about your Barroso Custom Homes concept and tell us about yourself Rose.
RB: Barroso Homes, is a custom home builder with a mandate: To build with integrity and quality.
For Barroso Homes, it’s all about building a respectful name while enjoying building superior quality homes.
“I love to say that we don’t build houses, will build homes.”
Barroso Homes is very dedicated to building the best quality possible, timeless beauty in architecture, and exclusive homes technology wise.
We build with close attention to detail, with care and honesty.
So, who is Rose Barroso?
RB: Very complex person I suppose.
I am a mother to 2 of the most wonderful children, a girl 7 and a boy 4. Even on my worst day, they are always my silver lining. My husband would say that I am a workaholic, and he would not be too wrong. I am somewhat of one, but there is a reason for that.
I’m a perfectionist, and I don’t delegate too well, and I am über passionate about by business and anything related to it
If a home is going to carry my name, I insist on being the one and only who will chose materials, fixtures, colours and design.
I put in 110% during the day and in the evening I put in 110% again.
I am in love with the idea that my daughter admires what I do and wants to be me when she grows up. How special is that?
She drives me to do more and better, I wish more little girls could realize that they can be just about anybody they admire.
Can you take us through a brief overview involved with building a custom home?
RB: Purchase of a lot is quiet important, location, location, location…
Next step would be to get a real survey completed and an Arborist report (in most cases).
Once you have these in your hands, it is now time to meet with your architect, the design process begins.
For most builders this process is a pretty simple one, architect presents design, builder accepts and the process starts moving, for me and being a Barroso Home, not so simple.
There will be many meetings and many revisions on my part until I am fully satisfied with the proposal.
During this time and depending on the design or structure you may have to attend Committee of Adjustment, in order to obtain some approvals on specific variances.
Again, depending on the chosen location, you may have to deal with TRCA, Urban Forestry, Heritage Department, and/or perhaps other city departments.
This process could in most cases take 1 to 1 ½ years to complete
Once all the departments have cleared your plans, then you are able to apply for Building permits. In my case, and as I wait for these permits to be issued (which could take months) I am already sourcing out building materials, working on cabinetry designs and purchasing fixtures and appliances. My trades are aware of how I work and how organized I am, and the entire process has allotted time frames for all my trades in which their part of the process has to be completed.
I am present on site daily, I do my walk thru, speak with the trades and question their process.
I have a supervisor on site at all times, the person ensures that deliveries are correct and ensures that trades are present and accounted for, sort of speak.
Many times during the framing stages I will have meetings in regard to changes that I wish to make, because I am not fully happy with the positioning of something or I just believe that there might be a better way.
For me the most stressful part of this entire process is the Permit process, stressful because I have no control over it, I can only wait and wait as the process drags on.
For me the actual building of the home is an absolute joy, yes you will find some bumps and humps, but nothing I can’t deal with.
It’s great to get up in the morning and get inspired by another master piece.
I am loving my life.
What made you want to start Barroso Custom Homes?
RB: It was not a premeditated decision by any means.
It was more out of frustration.
We had purchased a lot and wanted to build a home, and I suppose it fell on me to do a few interviews of General Contractors / Builders in the area.
And time after time, I keep hitting a wall, these men were not willing to listen to my needs and wants, I was being patronized with every idea I offered.
I knew what I wanted so why was I not being listened to?
Unfortunately, men in this industry are not very willing to listen to a woman, nor give her the respect she deserves as she explains her needs.
So, 1 night out of frustration and in conversation with my husband, he suggested I build it myself.
Buying a home is a big investment for many, why should a buyer choose a custom home over a pre-built house?
RB: Well to me that is an easy decision, Custom all the way.
Why, was your question, right?
Ok, so here goes.
Because if you buy during the construction stages you have a huge amount of control and choices over the finishes. You will end up with your true dream home.
If you buy after completion, your custom home will have (or should have) very high end finishes, style and higher quality of materials.
A true custom home will have a Project Manager on site daily, they oversee the trades and manage the process, nothing should fall thru the cracks.
What challenges have you faced with custom home building?
RB: There are many challenges, but the biggest and most difficult challenge I faced and had to conquer was that of being a woman in a men’s world.
From the very first home I built it was a very difficult climb in order to make the sub-contractors understand and accept that I was the one in charge.
I was being told to run things by my husband before making the final decision.
Many meetings were delayed because “supposedly” they were waiting for my husband to arrive.
Some suppliers were asking me to return with a designer or my contractor to make decisions.
The other difficulty I had was that I wanted to build outside of the box, I did not want to became a “builder”, I cared too much about the homes I was building to build them in mass and without dedication.
I always want to build different, and better. Every home has very unique pieces.
Materials I always try to use from Europe, because as we all know, Europe has superior variety and design.
Coming up with a custom home takes a lot of creativity, where does your creativity stem from? Do you have any influences besides in architecture?
RB: This is true, it does take a lot of creativity, and a very valid question as to where it comes from.
I love beautiful things, I love to create, I am very passionate about what I build, I am very proud of everything I do, and I absolutely love when my daughter asks me how beautiful I will be making the next house.
From the moment I began this journey, I knew if I was going to do this well, I wanted to do it my way but with alot of spunk and sexiness to it.
I wanted the home to be a piece of art, in a sense.
As I build every home I build it as if it were for me and my family, to the point that some of my trades question me when I refer to certain rooms as “my office”, or make statements such as “if I’m standing right here I want to be able to see what the children are doing over there.”
I think that this dedication and care for family functionality really elevates the quality of my custom homes.
Many times, an idea will pop into my head and I will have it implement the very next day on site, and many times that same wall or whatever the case may be, it will come down, because it looked better in my head then it does in reality.
How would you define a luxury home?
RB: Luxury to be can be defined in a few ways.
It can be defined by the quality of products that you use in the build.
It can also be determined by the high quality of craftsmanship.
Nowadays my custom homes are all “Smart” homes, they are fully automated from both home or remotely, this capability allows for a lot of peace of mind.
I believe that some people/builders like to call any build a custom home, to me the word custom, has a lot more meaning then putting up a few walls, custom should stand for that exactly.
If a piece of jewelry or a piece of clothing was created just for you, that would be considered custom, so why not use the same way of thinking for homes.
Custom Homes have to be built with time, care, detail and quality.
I love to say that all my builds are my “Expression of Excellence”, because they are my own expressions, and if these homes do not have excellence they are not a custom build.
I do not build 10 homes in 1 year, nor do I have any desire to do so, I build 1 and ½, and that qualifies me to define my company as a “Boutique Builder”.
During my builds, I end up changing layout, floor plans, exterior materials, flooring, etc.
I am very dedicated to how everything coordinates and how it all defines my motto of building Excellence and building Life Styles
You have to consider the family that will be calling this home their dream, you have to consider the neighbourhood and what kind of an impact this build will have on the streetscape.
Is there is anything you would like to add to potential buyers interested in custom homes?
RB: To very candid and honest, you have to be very careful who you will be making alliances with.
Sometimes, theses so called “custom home builders” will show you testimonials and lots of images of previous builds, but nothing tangible.
Do your research and ask to walk thru a finished home and a build under-construction. A build under construction will show you how exactly what goes in behind the drywall.
Ask questions and if this builder shows hesitation in answering questions or is not willing to allow you to walk thru his builds, my opinion would be to walk away. I do believe that in this day in age, buyers are extremely well educated on the quality of products and therefore should be able to make great decisions.
Also, if in the area you are considering there are other “custom homes” for sale or even under construction, introduce yourself and walk through or get your agent to book several visits to a hand full, that will give you a great idea as to what these custom homes have included.
Builders of custom homes should never cut corners in the quality of craftsmanship of their build.
We would like to thank Rose Barroso for answering our questions about her interesting business about Custom Home building.
We wish you all the best with your upcoming projects, Rose!