Phoenix Takes Five with … Lee Selkrig
As part of Phoenix Tapware’s interview series with key designers, architects, builders and plumbers, we take five minutes with Lee Selkrig, Founder and Director of Enso Homes. Enso Homes create quality houses that are architecturally designed. They were established in 2016 to fill a gap in the market between luxury and basic homes. Lee chats about his career, inspiration and current design trends
How did you get started in the building industry?
Growing up, I was often found building things in Dad’s garage, and I took an interest in woodworking at school. Post school, I started labouring for a plumber and later found myself landing a carpentry apprenticeship. After completing my apprenticeship, I moved into estimating with a major volume builder and spent the following years acquiring operational knowledge and skills to add to my practical background. After a few years in the office, I felt ready to combine my knowledge and skill set to obtain my building license and start my own business.
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What does a typical day look like for you?
Typically I would read the paper first thing, then check my emails to try and knock them out of the way as early in the day as possible. This frees up the rest of my day to attend scheduled meetings and deal with any issues that require immediate attention. Lastly, I like to get home early enough to spend time with the family.
What are your favourite types of projects to work on?
My favourite projects are homes that originated as an Enso standard design before being customised to suit the lifestyle, personality and needs of our clients and their block of land. It is extremely rewarding to see clients adopt and appreciate the thought process and practical elements of a floor plan that I’ve sketched and hoped would resonate with other families.
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What do you find most rewarding about building custom homes?
There is something about meeting families, listening to their vision, hopes and dreams and then having the absolute honour and responsibility of bringing it to life and delivering their dream home. This is opposed to delivering a generic product over and over again.
What currently inspires you and your work?
At Enso Homes we believe that “best” is the standard and to be the best, you have to learn from the best. We are constantly looking to innovate and take inspiration from the best builders and suppliers. Last year I had the opportunity of visiting some large builders in Texas to learn about their systems and processes. Later this year, I will be visiting Palm Springs to research the mid-century modern design style. From these exercises, I seek to take the best ideas and implement them for Enso, to benefit our clients, staff, suppliers and trades.
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There are many challenges facing the building industry at present. Supply chain, shortage of trades, rising costs – just to mention a few. What is your perspective on what is happening in the building industry at present and how is Enso Homes navigating these times?
Thankfully, I feel we are past the worst of it, however it is still challenging to say the least. From day one, Enso Homes has put a high emphasis on relationships, which I truly believe has got us through these challenging times. Whether it be clients, staff, suppliers or trades, we have always behaved in a manner that we need them more than they need us. This, along with being organised and diligent with our workflow, has helped ensure continued supply and trade when lead times are prolonged.
What are the greatest or most important lessons you have learned along the way in your career?
It’s a small world. Treat people how you would like to be treated.
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What kinds of trends are you seeing in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries?
We are seeing a lot of arches, curved walls and a level of appreciation for mid-century modern design elements. I feel the respect for a laundry space has made a resurgence of late. It wasn’t long ago when we were relegating the laundry to a euro-style cupboard in a hallway, where now people are seeing the laundry as a dual-purpose space, coupled with a drop zone or drying room space.