Isn’t it fun to meet the people behind the magic? This is your chance to get a peek behind-the-scenes at Houseplay! Each month we’ll interview a different team member for a window into how we make your home renovation magic happen. Check out last month’s profile: Tamara Templeman.
Today we’re talking with Niall Templeman, Co-founder and Project Manager.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
No two work days with Houseplay are alike! Tammy and I typically tag team with our kids, so some days I’ll do the morning routine and she’ll work, and sometimes I’ll work in the morning and then pick up our daughter and be home for the afternoon.
Our work and homelife definitely tend to overlap – the other day, I was making breakfast for our kids and I got a call from a framer – they couldn’t start on our project because it’s going to rain for three days later in the week. Then while I was packing lunches I got a call from my flooring guy and our other project manager.
Once the day gets going, I review the jobs we have running and make sure everything’s happening that’s supposed to happen: that people have the materials and information they need and people are where they say they’re going to be.
I handle the more technical onsite pieces – if a subcontractor has a question about how to do something, I’ll be the one to answer or to go there and show them what needs to be done.
I also answer homeowners’ questions and help keep them up-to-date on their projects – like last week, I went to tell the homeowners in person why eight framers showed up and then left without doing any work, and walked them through how that would affect their project and what we would be doing to stay on track.
Otherwise I stay in touch with employees and subcontractors and make sure everyone has everything they need, and I help fill in any gaps in the information chain so everything runs smoothly.
What is your favorite part about your job?
I like the problem-solving aspect – coming up with solutions to the problems that arise.
For example, we’re working on a project right now [The Secret Garden] where we ran into a snag. We’re building a bump-out at the back of the house, and it couldn’t be built the way it was drawn. We wanted to keep the integrity of the design, keep the floors level and also make sure the house is structurally sound – so we had to change the structure and the framing.
Now we are at the tiling, which will be complicated – it’s a hexagonal pattern tile, and it’ll join up with the hardwood floor, and I want to make sure there’s a flush transition. If i do the tile first it can’t be too high; if I put the flooring first, how do I make sure the cutouts for the tile are in the right place? I have some ideas – I might try making a template with the wood – but I like mulling over these types of challenges and figuring out how to bring the design to life.
I also really love seeing jobs come to finish. It’s amazing to work on a project day in and day out and then see at the end of the job and when we do the photo shoot, just how nice it came out.
How did you first come to this work?
In England I finished school at 16, and I got a job for a company that installed doors and windows. I started out working 60 hours a week and I just loved it – I loved working hard and learning how to do different things.
Eventually I got tired of doing the same thing every day, and the work was slowing down. I had a friend who wanted to remodel the whole first floor of their house and do an addition, so I worked on that for a while. Then I did windows for people.
I’m entirely self taught – I know a lot at this point but I figured a lot of it out the hard way! Now there’s the Internet and YouTube and Instagram where people are posting how they did this type of molding or installed this type of flooring or siding or whatever. It’s so great that we can learn from other people’s knowledge so easily now. I know a lot about my industry but there’s always more to learn.
How did you come to start Houseplay with Tammy?
I moved here from England and we got married and bought a condo, which wiped us out financially. When I went looking for a job, the guys that were hiring were paying nothing – day labor rates – and it just wasn’t enough to live on.
So I thought, maybe I could get some jobs on my own. And I got a few small jobs here and there. I set up a small sole proprietorship for a year, bought a van, bought some tools on a credit card. I got a few clients – light carpentry work, finishing rooms, doors/molding/painting.
After about a year Tammy and I decided to really make a business of it. And then we were stuck on the name for a long time. We didn’t want to do initials – I can’t tell you how many subcontractors are TNA This or D&H That. We wanted something more memorable.
Finally we asked ourselves, what is it about remodeling that speaks to us? It’s fun. People are so stressed about remodeling and there’s so much dread surrounding the industry, but we believe it should be fun! You’re spending more money than you ever spend on anything else (other than your house) – and we believe it should be enjoyable process, it’s like playing. So we came up with Houseplay.
It’s been so fun to watch the business grow. One job led to the next, and after a couple years we got our first big bathroom project. I taught myself how to do tiling. We were so excited – a whole bathroom! The next year we did 10 bathrooms and now we’ve done probably more than 100 bathrooms. Then we added full design services to make our work even more fun and seamless for our clients.
We can’t wait to see what happens next with Houseplay.
Are you ready to explore the possibilities for your space? Apply to work with us today!