We share entrepreneurial stories to inspire

John Williams, Architectural Designer

After 45 Years, It’s Time to Pay It Forward… When Your At The Top of Your Game

Mentorship & Collaboration Contribute to Your Success

Welcome to the Share Your Stories series in support of the entrepreneurial spirit…

We feature stories of ordinary people, just like you and me, who are doing extra ordinary things, connecting with their communities and pursuing their own brand of success.

In our gig economy, we need to encourage business innovation because every new company starts out as an incubator business. Every successful entrepreneur has had a mentor with a support network and each business mogul will remember the days when they started in the trenches with a great idea.

Each person who shares their story has been on a journey that started with a lightbulb moment, taking a leap of faith to build a business and share their great idea…

John Williams of Williams Residential Design has been in business for over 45 years. He is a creative maverick who has been breaking barriers and sharing his creative talent as an architectural designer. Throughout his career he has accepted the challenge with experience in both commercial and residential projects world wide. John has been recognized by his peers, winning many international awards, he is the most humble individual, who to this day, is forever expanding his knowledge and learning new and innovative ways to connect with his customers.

John’s work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Canadian Architecture and Design, House and Home, Trends, West of the City and Forum magazines to name a few. It is with great pride and integrity that he credits his clients with thanks for the opportunity to showcase his work.

“I have been blessed to love what I do. It is a thrill to hear someone say: Thank you; I love my home. To me; that is the greatest reward.”

What makes John’s story unique is that now in what he describes as the “winter of his career,” he has a focus on sharing his expertise through mentorship and encouraging collaboration.

Collaboration is another way in which John feels you are able to gain valuable experience in your field. When you take the time to connect with other trades, you begin to learn how they too have invested in their talent. Builders, framers and wood finishers to plumbers, electricians and surveyors contribute their expertise to every design project. Taking an interest in another part of the piece that makes the whole is invaluable and contributes to your own unique skill.

Young at heart, I asked John to share a few of his inspirational moments…It was no surprise that he has a long list of influential architects who’s work he has admired. He uses words like “architectural good manners” and “lifestyle choices” when he begins to describe his design process which has changed and improved throughout the years. In fact, John in some cases, has designed homes for three generations. Now that is a referral business!

What is the biggest influence on your designs?

Without hesitation he mentions “travel and the internet.” Two very different experiences. Nothing beats visiting the historical buildings of the past and taking the time to review all of the details that will contribute to your personal library of design elements. John will sketch on site; his own unique form of note taking with pencil sketches that he uses when working at the board. Yes, each process begins with his sketches and includes a coloured hand rendering when the final design is complete. A custom piece of art that is unique to his business and something not often offered by other firms.

He says, the next best thing is the internet. There have been times when taking a virtual tour has inspired his creativity for a new design and being able to visit these sites with the click of a button ads to his creativity.

John often comments that architects do not become noteworthy until very late in their careers because is takes years of practise, innovation and commitment to create a style that becomes your own and others easily recognize.

In his early 70’s, John is often asked: When he will retire? “As long as I have clients who are interested in my work I will continue to design. I don’t know what I would do if I retired. I am truly defined by my work and love what I do. It keeps me young and young at heart.”

Williams Residential Design is a boutique firm and John, at this stage in his his career, is a solopreneur. He collaborates with other individuals as subcontractors who contribute to his sense of team. One of John’s goals for 2020 is to develop a video series which will include both interviews and design techniques that he has learned over the years that is just not found in text books. The hands on experience you acquire with his many years as an entrepreneur is invaluable to anyone who is interested in honing their craft and sharing the romance and poetry of the creative process that contributes to good design.

Here are a few highlights of John’s story….

1) Tell us a little something about your business …

Williams Residential Design offers a full range of design services specializing in both custom homes and renovations. My philosophy: “We design your dreams and our future legacy.” Over the last 45 years, it has been humbling to be internationally recognized by my peers in both commercial and residential projects as a builder, developer and architectural designer. It is with great pride and integrity that I credit these opportunities with thanks to my clients who provide a showcase for my designs. There is no doubt that I love what I do…

2) When was your lightbulb moment?

As a child I was always drawing and sketching, my 10th grade art teacher encouraged me to be creative. When it came time to choose a career, I actually wanted to be a surgeon but realized that I would not have the finances to get through med school. It was at this time that I fell in love again with drawing and that was it…architecture became my passion – For the last 45 years, she has been the love of my life!

3) Three words of advice…“Listen to Your Customer”

If your interested in referrals then you need happy clients. I built my business on introductions from current and past clients. In any business, you really need to “Listen to Your Customer” in order to receive the privilege of a qualified lead.

Great advice from someone who not only loves what he does but enjoys working with the families who build memories in the homes he creates.

We thank John for sharing his story and wish him continued success as he begins a new journey to pay it forward through mentorship. Stay tuned for the video series and launch later this year. If your interested in speaking with John? Visit his website to review samples of his work and start a new conversation through his Contact Us page.

If you have an entrepreneurial story, we’d love to hear from you. Connect with us at ShareYourStories

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We all have a story to share and we look forward to sharing your story!

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