Lindsay Owen – Design and Build with Integrity

Episode #30: Welcome to the She Builds Show, I’m your host, Stefanie Olson. Today I am excited to introduce you to Lindsay Owen of Napa Valley. Lindsay’s career started in architecture, and the road ultimately took her to construction doing design builds for homeowners. She’s a full-service architecture, doing new construction or major remodels, construction management through interiors, full furniture interiors and she is currently working towards her class B license.

Ready? Listen in…


•  Yep, so I got a degree in architecture, and right after that, I went to work for a firm in San Francisco doing custom homes, and I loved it. However, I would put all my heart and soul into these plans and turn them over to the contractor, and then I would do sidewalks and I would think, Oh my gosh, why did they detail that way? Why did they do this? And that’s when I really got into wanting to get into the construction side and… Sure, I can draw detail two dimensionally on how we’re going to flash this window or how we’re doing the detail of the fill pan of a door with the flooring. But I want to actually be there and do that and understand it, so I can understand what I’m drawing. And so that’s when I got into the contracting world working for a home builder. So, I did project management there for some large communities here in the East Bay, and which was great, it opened my eyes to the building world on a big scale, but I was missing my outlet of design, and that’s when I got connected with a smaller contractor. (4:52)

•  I think it’s always been dormant in my mind as a pipe dream, it wasn’t something I mapped out and planned to happen at this point in time. It just got to a point where I was doing these homes, and I have a difference of opinion on how we should do something, or how we should deal with the home owner or how we should schedule it, or schedule the subs. And I’m lucky enough, I’m at a point in my life now that with my husband and myself, I could take on this risk of… I’m going to take the leap and sure, I have a four months of work ahead of me, I need to figure out the way market myself, what am I going to do, but I’ll figure it out. And now, I don’t know, six months in, and I’m so busy and things just keep happening and word of mouth is so great, and I’m not looking back at all. (7:48)

•  I think that was pretty much when I was working mainly on the contracting side. One, every week has fire drills, right? So you start out with your Monday of what you’re going to get done that week, and you never get it done because there’s constantly fire drills. But the burn-out comes when you’re working extended hours, which we all know we do sometimes. But when I never had a positive outlet, of something that I was excited to do. And then that’s when I learned like I needed a creative outlet still, or I needed some positive affirmation from a client that I didn’t no longer have, so I felt like I was working and working, and it was… I’m definitely not one for the corporate world.  (20:40)

•   Yeah, absolutely, and I think as you grow as a business owner, not knowing what’s going on with your financials is probably the worst mistake you could make. Because whether or not you’re doing data entry or reviewing the profit and loss, I come from an accounting background as well, to me, dropping that and handing it off and going, I hope, I’m going to cross my fingers and everything’s okay… I absolutely agree with your husband, it’s like you have to know how to do it, you have to understand it, even if it’s painful. And to be a good business owner, you have to know how to read those documents and you have to know what’s going in and coming out so that you can make wise decisions and go, Okay, now I really don’t want to take on that client because I have enough money in the bank.  (23:58)


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