Whitestone Enterprises and the Property Brothers
When the Property Brothers called, Chris Veal answered! Jonathan and Drew Scott were in Nashville this summer filming episodes for their HGTV series, Property Brothers: Buying and Selling, and Chris, president of Whitestone Enterprises, had the unique opportunity of being included on three of their projects. Chris worked closely alongside Jonathan and Drew as they made plans to renovate homes to be sold in the fast-paced real estate market in Nashville. Each project focused on different parts of the home and each included Pella windows and doors. We caught up with Chris recently to get the scoop on his business, real estate in Nashville, and this incredible opportunity with the Property Brothers.
Q: How long has Whitestone Enterprises been in business?
Chris Veal: Whitestone opened its doors for business in 2008, but I have been in the renovation business for 14 years.
Q: The influx of people to the Nashville area has been booming over the last few years, what effect has this had on the amount and type of projects your firm is completing?
Chris: The number of people coming to Nashville is insane, and I’m constantly meeting newcomers to the area. As a result, the types of projects have definitely transitioned over the last few years. We will always have our typical clients that want to overhaul or renovate the space they have lived in for a while, but recently we have seen a huge bump in the number of out of town clients that have hired us to consult during the house-hunting process to help them really understand the potential of a space and how we could personalize that space to fit their lifestyle and needs.
Q: In what way have you been affected by the labor shortage of skilled workers?
Chris: We have been lucky to have developed a solid group of associates and sub-contractors. While there will always be some turnover, the majority of our subs have been with us for more than 5 years.
Q: What trends are you seeing with your clients and their project requests? Which specific types of custom work are they looking for?
Chris: We are seeing a constant demand for outdoor living spaces because outdoor living is the fastest growing segment of residential construction. We also receive many requests for master suite renovations. Many of our clients want something new, not the same old design. We specialize in design-build, so that type of process allows us to develop and create unique spaces where details are not overlooked and help take the final product to the next level.
Q: What was it like working with Jonathan as a contractor on these projects?
Chris: Working with Jonathan & Drew was a blast. These guys have obviously earned the reputation of being experts in their respective fields. Sometimes I watch a show on TV and can immediately tell if the hosts of the show know what they are talking about, and right away I could tell these guys were extremely knowledgeable in their trade and were well versed in codes and construction methodology. It was refreshing to know we could discuss our methods with them without having to “dumb it down.” Even though we did much of the work, we collaborated and were under the direction of Jonathan. Fortunately, he was very complimentary of our standards and quality and we did not have to correct or re-work anything on any of the projects we worked on.
Q: How was this different than other projects Whitestone Enterprises works on?
Chris: Really the only difference between these projects and our normal project is the addition of a production schedule. We definitely had to learn how to re-work our standard production schedule to accommodate filming. This meant that sometimes we needed to work out of order or slow a particular trade down to be able to capture that on camera. We also had another decision maker in the process (the brothers), but they were very easy to work with and gave us full reign on decisions as long as we ran it by them before implementation.
Q: In what ways do you use windows and doors to enhance your designs? How important is this element to the overall design?
Chris: We always are trying to capitalize and maximize natural light, create stunning lines of sight throughout the house, as well as maximize the flow, function and aesthetics of a space. The proper window & door placement can make or break those goals.
Q: What do you look for in a window and door provider?
Chris: The main thing for us is the ability of the supplier to get it right from the beginning of a project, and our work with our local Pella branch has proven to be a fantastic addition to our team. They are on point. Not only do they offer a wide variety of products and knowledge, they have been willing to come lend their expertise on issues that have nothing to do with their products (with no pressure to use them to correct the issue). They have been team players we can rely on and that makes all the difference in the world. When things don't go according to plan (which happens from time to time), the ability to communicate promptly and effectively can make all the difference.
Q: You worked on three projects for Property Brothers: Buying and Selling, which of these projects was your favorite to work on? Why?
Chris: I’d say our first project with the Scott brothers (Season 7, Episode 3) was probably my favorite and the only reason is that we were able to drastically change the flow and functionally of the space, without changing the integrity & charm of the home. For the other two episodes, we were involved in major design changes and some structural modifications, but not to the extent of the first project. We are proud of all three of the projects we were involved with and think the before/after of each are incredible.