Lewis Creek Company
and Yandow Green Builders
By George Harvey
Lewis Creek Company and Yandow Green Builders have shared a lot over the years. They have been run by longtime friends, Mark Boudreau and Tim Yandow. They have both been very much into green building for many years. They work in the same areas of New England. Now, Lewis Creek Company and Yandow Green Builders have some news about a new commonality. They have merged!
Mark Boudreau, co-founder of Lewis Creek Company says the merger was a natural evolution because the two companies occupied slightly different niches in the market. LewisCreek has tended toward doing deep energy retrofits to make existing homes more efficient, including some historic ones two hundred years old. Yandow Green Builders has specialized more in new construction of the highest standards of sustainability and efficiency. “We fixed great old buildings that were broken,” he said. “They built buildings that were outstanding right from the start.”
Lewis Creek Company is assuming all of the management and operational responsibilities of both companies. They have also been able to provide positions for all staff from Yandow Green Builders. The two brands are being maintained in the marketplace. It is a really fine fit. “The transition has been both a challenge and a pleasure. It has given us the opportunity to look at our respective systems to see where we can improve to provide even better value to our clients and to our staff,” says Boudreau.
Goals will certainly include building homes with net-zero energy use. That, however, is just one goal. Another is creating beautiful, comfortable spaces to live in. Yet another is to provide customers with homes that reflect their individual visions and achieve their unique intentions.
A key to attaining these goals is to start with a clear process, engaging clients to learn about them, as individuals, and understand their desires. Boudreau says, “We listen deeply to what our clients tell us, we ask a lot of questions. This is not only to get at what kind of house they want. We want to know who they are, what is important to them, what elements of their life give them the greatest joy, purpose, and sense of meaning. A home is a powerful base from which we can grow into our lives” Great buildings start with a thorough understanding of the people the buildings are for. The designer’s job is to interpret that understanding in the light of an architect’s artistry and the builder’s knowledge and wisdom. By combining these, a goal can be achieved of providing the customer with a building that goes beyond being merely highly efficient, or even “net-zero,” to being an organically determined reflection of that person.
The client is not shut out of the process while it goes on, but is maintained within it as much as possible. “Sustainable building,” Boudreau says, “requires complete transparency. The customer should always know what is happening and how it fits into their goals, and their budget.” Regular consultations on costs are not merely allowed, they are encouraged by the builder.
Their level of involvement goes further, perhaps even to a level some builders would shy away from. Does the client like to be included in the action? Perhaps, does she like the feeling of swinging a hammer to drive nails that will hold her house together? Or does he get a sense of relaxed accomplishment out of sanding and painting during the final construction stages, making that home truly beautiful? Many people take pride in saying, “I had this house built.” How much better they might feel if they can say “I worked on building this house myself.” LewisCreek offers just such involvement.
It is an approach to building and remodeling that Boudreau says is very holistic. Considering the people involved in the businesses, this should not be a surprise. Mark Boudreau and LewisCreek’s other co-founder Amy Judd both share a love of teaching, sharing knowledge and experience. Perhaps this is a part of the foundation of that holistic approach. Tim Yandow is a biologist by training, who sees the problem of building a home from a rather different, but entirely compatible, equally holistic point of view.
The experience of having a great home has to include a good deal more than just the experience of commissioning its construction or restoration. It includes a deep understanding of the structure, its merits, and its functionality. It includes an understanding of physical well-being, on the one hand, and economy on another. And, perhaps not even finally, it includes an appreciation of beauty.
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