Leading Edge Custom Homes

Camelot Homes

Camelot Homes’ showcase accomplishment is a custom built marvel known as Music by the Sea. The one of a kind house clearly demonstrates the company’s advanced capabilities – along with its unique flair. Magnificent creations are around every corner. The banister of the grand staircase is a beautifully carved, full sized harp that morphs into a custom wrought iron railing depicting the ocean currents; seahorses hide within the front door detailing, their carefully carved tails wrapped artfully around a violin, aptly named “The Lost Stradivarius.” In the ceiling above the craftsman style den, muted light filters through a massive, Tiffany-style stained glass ceiling; perhaps most unexpected of all, there is not a single nail in the entire interior of the home. “It is attention to detail like this that really set us apart the most,” Dan Mcleod, owner of Camelot Homes, remarks. “A lot of people still can’t figure out how we did it. It is an unbelievable level of finish work. People just don’t do this kind of craftsmanship anymore.”

The industry agrees. Music by the Sea won 14 awards in 2012 – more than any other home in all of Canada, Mr. Mcleod reports. “It also took top honours on the island,” including Project of the Year, People’s Choice Award, and awards for the best design, best interior, best custom millwork, best kitchen, best green builder, best outdoor living space, best media room, and best single family detached home over $2 million. ‘Music by the Sea’ also helped Camelot Homes secure the Georgie awards for both ‘Best Custom Home over $3 million’ and the coveted ‘British Columbia’s Custom Builder of the year award.’ “That is the biggest award a builder can hope to achieve,” Mr. Mcleod remarks. “That was a huge honour.”

To reach this level of accomplishment, a builder can’t be afraid to veer off the beaten path, Mr. Mcleod insists. “We did things a little differently. We take things to another level.” And stepping outside of the mainstream has clearly paid off. “Music by the Sea is talked about all over BC right now,” Mr. Mcleod points out. “We are in a different world now.”

Camelot Homes didn’t get there overnight, however. The team’s success is rooted in good, old fashioned, hard work and a true commitment to quality. In fact, the current level of recognition comes after decades of industry experience and skill building. Mr. Mcleod began working for Camelot Homes as a tradesman when the company was first launched back in 1979. “I understand building; I have been crafting homes all my life,” he says of his long term construction career. Mr. Mcleod honed these carpentry skills over the years – and slowly increased his shares in the company. He bought out the last remaining partner about nine years ago, and immediately set Camelot Homes on a new course.

His goal was to bring the company to a whole new level. Now, after nearly a decade of commitment and planning – and with projects like Music by the Sea under his belt – Mr. Mcleod’s vision has come to fruition. “It is our passion for building that sets us apart,” he explains simply. “It is what we can achieve.”

So how has Camelot Homes managed to rise from a run of the mill construction firm to the region’s leading custom home builder? “Number one, you have to be very creative,” Mr. Mcleod says. “You have to be very open minded.” A strong focus on customer satisfaction is also key. “My goal is always to make the client happy. We tailor each home or renovation to the client’s lifestyle, and nothing feels better than when the result is better than what the customer expected.”

Happy customers become friends and they are particularly important to Camelot Homes because of the relatively insular surroundings in which the team operates. In Vancouver Island’s tight knit community “people will ask around. It is a small area we live in.” As a result, “word of mouth is huge. That is how I get a lot of my work. I get great references from people talking. That is very important.” Of course, the company’s results have to be above par in order to get people talking. The team insists on maintaining strict standards – a fact that has echoed loudly throughout the island’s grapevine. “We are achieving a higher standard, building things at a higher level,” Mr. Mcleod explains.

One way that the team has been able to maintain these high standards has been to carry out most of the skilled labour itself. “Camelot employees take great pride in each project. By creating almost every aspect of the home in-house we can assure you a finer product,” Mr. Mcleod reports. All of the company’s tradesmen have been with Camelot Homes for many years, so Mr. Mcleod knows that he can rely on their integrity and ability. Camelot Homes also operates its own millwork machine shop, giving the company an additional layer of control over the final product. “We build all the mouldings in-house from the finest materials; I have some incredible people that can build just anything.” Camelot Homes has two other companies under its roof as well – Camelot Electric and Camelot Excavating – giving the team almost complete control over each job.

Clearly, the team can be relied on to do the bulk of the company’s work. However, Camelot Homes is also willing to partner with an outside party if it will benefit the customer. For instance, the team worked with Jeremy Lee Humpherville of Coastal Carvings Fine Art and Home Design Gallery (www.coastalcarvings.com) to create the exquisitely detailed woodwork and carvings in Music by the Sea. “Jeremy is incredibly talented,” Mr. Mcleod explains. “He can design things that will blow your mind. That was very important to us in taking this custom home to a different level.”

Camelot Homes is also taking sustainable building practices to a higher level. “I was the first one to get Built Green Builder in the whole area,” Mr. Mcleod reports. This was particularly challenging to accomplish in the high end building sector, he adds, because many of these custom homes feature lots of large windows. Even so, Music by the Sea earned a platinum energy efficiency rating – the highest rating awarded – in spite of all its glass. Camelot Homes has been committed to improving energy efficiency for years, and most of its structures pass fan tests with flying colours. For instance, every one of the 51 houses in a Camelot Homes subdivision recently earned gold energy efficiency ratings. “The fan test proves how leaky your house is,” Mr. Mcleod explains of the ratings process. “It proves how good a builder you are.” There is no fudging a fan test, he adds. “I always [like to say] the proof is in the pudding when I am testing out homes.”

Camelot Homes has rocketed to success in recent years, and has gained widespread recognition for its stunning, one of a kind projects like Music by the Sea. Now, the team wants to up the ante even further. “People have dreams, and we are not afraid to tackle anything,” Mr. Mcleod insists. “I’ve been doing this for such a long time and I want to help clients take things to another level. I need to be challenged.”

The first step Camelot is taking is to build a larger millwork shop so that the team can execute custom orders more efficiently and more affordably. Prices for building materials are rising, and even in the best of times intricate, handmade components don’t come cheaply. “We want to try and figure how to get the cost down for people while maintaining quality. That is the big thing, to always stay competitive.”

By keeping prices down, the company can extend its reach and have more opportunities to build leading edge custom homes. “That is my main goal, to always stay ahead of the curve,” Mr. Mcleod summarizes. “I am always working to enrich the experience for my clients and in the process we strengthen our reputation.”

December 16, 2018, 8:03 PM EST

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