Residential Design

Vol 1, 2018

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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A Passion for the Project MAINBUILT CLIVE, IOWA Mark Main swore he would never be- come a custom builder. Having grown up in the business, helping his builder father, Mark knew exactly what the job entailed. So, after college, he went off to law school "for a bit." But gravity is a hard force to overcome and so is the siren call of the family business. He returned full-time in 1990, and has been at it ever since. "I found when I had an ownership position, I liked it a lot more," he says. That's very good news, because Mark is among the best builders in his area. He's the one the most demanding architects ask for, knowing he'll get even the most compli- cated details done just right. His father, W. R. "Bill" Main, now almost 80, is fully retired, and Mark gets his taste for difficult design problems from him. "He got into construction right out of high school, working for a carpentry business," Mark recalls. "When he was out on his own in the early '60s, he was fortu- nate to have a few clients who wanted these high-design details. I grew up doing the work. I really learned it on the job, working with architects and designers." Mark's company has been around long enough to have figured out what works for the business and what doesn't. He's determined that development isn't their niche, and speculative building doesn't add value to the mix either. Cur- rently, he and his half-dozen employees are kept busy with custom homes, remodeling, and restoration work. Custom building jobs are the lion's share at about 70 percent of the business. He's got a full-time bookkeeper, two con- struction supers, a couple of laborers, and now a "global project manager." The latter's role is to be the "mini-me" every business owner requires to stay productive. "I needed someone to make sure the plumbing fixtures were ordered right—to take care of the daily stuff that takes me off the jobsite," he says. "I don't want to take my eye off the job." There is one business extension Mark has found to be synergistic with his contracting business. He's part Above and left: Although simple and evocative in form, BNIM's Midwest Retreat called upon its builder, Mark Main, to deliver extremely precise details and rigorous energy goals. Photo: BNIM | Photographer © Assassi Photo: Courtesy Mainbuilt Photo: BNIM | Photographer © Assassi 19 VOL. 1, 2018 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM PRO-FILE BUILD

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