The Alimond Show

Marc O'Grady Owner of Marc O'Grady Design & Co-Owner of Beag+Haus

March 12, 2024 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Marc O'Grady Owner of Marc O'Grady Design & Co-Owner of Beag+Haus
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever imagined living in a modern smaller home? Architect and entrepreneur Marc O'Grady, the driving force behind Marc O'Grady Design and Beag+Haus, joins us to share his intriguing journey of designing and building contemporary small houses. With a keen focus on custom homes and renovations, Marc navigates the intricacies of budget management and builder collaboration, offering us insight into the growth of Beag+Haus and its increasing appeal over time.

Equally enthralling is our dialogue with architects and outdoor enthusiasts, Marc and Dwayne of Beag+Haus. As we delve into architectural design, we also uncover their shared passion for nature and fly fishing. Listen in as Marc reveals his personal evolution into an architect, the exhilaration of watching his designs transform into reality, and his ambitions to scale his business. Wrapping up with plans for an adventurous retirement, this episode offers an inspiring narrative of pursuing dreams and finding joy in life. Whether you're contemplating downsizing or simply curious about the trend of modern small homes, this episode is a must listen.

Speaker 1:

So I have a company, mark Roberty Design, and that is local, that's just me. So we focus on residential architecture 100%. We do custom homes primarily additions, large scale renovations, that sort of thing. And then I have a second company that's called Vegan House and we focus on modern small homes. So we work all over the country with that.

Speaker 2:

What is that called?

Speaker 1:

Vegan House, so Vegan it's actually pronounced back is the Irish word for small, so that kind of plays off on my Irish heritage and so it's small house and that I'm partners in with a good friend of mine who lives in Michigan, where I'm from. So we partner in that and we do small, really modern homes, usually vacation homes for people in different locations around the US.

Speaker 1:

So they come with the land and you come with the yeah, sometimes they come with nothing, so and we help them evaluate land, the property for the project, to see if there would be any surprises, challenges, that sort of thing, and then they make a purchase based on that. But when they come to us we can help them with a realtor. We partner with builders in different locations around the country. If they don't have a builder, then we can help them find a builder.

Speaker 2:

So the second company Vegan.

Speaker 1:

Vegan House, yeah.

Speaker 2:

What? Why are people coming to you for a small house?

Speaker 1:

A lot of people want a downsize. They don't want to keep the maintenance of a large house. It's usually a second home, vacation home, so, and a lot of times since COVID, people want to get out, they want to go somewhere else. They can work remotely. So most of the time they're a vacation home, but sometimes they're their primary residence. So people are moving out to rural locations, mountain locations, places like that, and working full time. So they're moving to places they wanted to vacation in but now they can live there.

Speaker 2:

What is the range that people spend from start to finish on one of these?

Speaker 1:

The small homes, it's probably. I mean it can be anywhere from 300,000 to 800,000. It depends on the size of the location.

Speaker 1:

So it seems like a small budget to go with the small home it is At least for our area right, right right right, the homes we design are primarily in the 300 to 350 per square foot for a house and that's an all in turn key price. With the projects we do. It depends on finishes, product selections, location, that sort of thing. But we have projects that have been estimated over a million, even for a small house. So, yeah, just depends on how high end it is.

Speaker 2:

And what made you want to start that?

Speaker 1:

one, that one. So my friend who's my business partner doing. He and I took a trip in 2016 to Park City, utah, and we had always kind of talked about this. I had been throwing the idea around, you know, doing something more unique, and there were a lot of smaller, unique homes there that we saw and we started talking about it more and more. And then in the spring of 2017, we kind of did a test and we created the company and did a home show up in northern Michigan, where we're both from, to test the market, see how it would help, people would respond to it and 100% everyone loved it. So we decided that we would kind of go full steam ahead with that and our first project came from northern Michigan. Wow, and that's exciting.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it was it was good and it's kind of taken off from there and now we do projects all over the place.

Speaker 2:

No, it's one of the biggest challenges for the Vietnam's.

Speaker 1:

Biggest challenge is budget usually. So people want more than the budget allows. You know, small house sounds appealing but I think clients have a hard time kind of letting go of how many bedrooms they need or the size of the bedrooms, closets, that sort of thing and really taking advantage of smaller living, taking advantage of the outdoor spaces. So some people get it, some people don't, so we have to kind of guide them through it. But the biggest challenge for us has been budget, budget and finding builders that will build within that budget.

Speaker 2:

Because maybe a lot of people see the tiny homes and they've got like the DIYs and people are talking about, oh, we can get this done in like $40,000.

Speaker 1:

Right, right yeah, I mean there is some of that, and a lot of the times builders would rather do a larger project, so they kind of throw a big number at it.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so, in terms of like looking into the future, how are you, like what's your mindset around growing both your local Right. Business, but then also.

Speaker 1:

Right, so the local business kind of takes care of itself. I partner with builders who bring in referrals and projects, things like that.

Speaker 2:

What is your look Like, what is your style? That a builder is going to come specifically to you over somebody.

Speaker 1:

So my company, markle Grady Design, we work on the projects that people bring to us. So it's my personal style leans a little more modern. But if somebody comes to us with modern farmhouse or something that in older home they want to renovate, we stay within that style. So we have experience in all of that. So we can kind of work with anybody.

Speaker 1:

The small house company, beacon House we primarily just do modern style. So the more modern and unique it can be, the better with that one. So and that's kind of why we started that company, to allow us to be able to do those more unique projects. So when we started that we thought people are going to get this or they're not, and there's not going to be a middle ground. And that's kind of how it's turned out. The people who come to us they really want something unique and modern in a unique location. So that's kind of worked out that way. So, going forward, my personal company, that would kind of just keep going along. The modern house company what we want to do is expand it more locations and then get into the development side, so purchasing land, which we already do, building our own homes, things like that, getting into vacation rentals and then selling land with houses to be built on it, that sort of development.

Speaker 2:

That's smart. A lot of our areas you can help people with.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, exactly, yeah, very cool.

Speaker 2:

What do you love about our area? Where do you? It's not just Northern Virginia, you're DC.

Speaker 1:

Right, I do projects DC, maryland, virginia. It's primarily Virginia at this time, but I do projects in other states. So I kind of got hooked up with a builder in Tennessee, outside of Knoxville, so I work on projects down there in a lakefront community. So I work with a lot of retirees that are retiring from other parts of the country. They get my name from the builder because it's a smaller community and then we work together.

Speaker 2:

So what's the most exciting thing, what's the most satisfying part of your job?

Speaker 1:

Seeing the houses built, that's the most satisfying thing. To see your creation come to life. We see it in 3D prior to construction, but to see it in real life, be able to walk through it, that's kind of the amazing thing. I had the opportunity to stay in one of my houses that I designed out in the Shenandoah Valley, and some friends and I stayed out there and a friend made a comment that you know we're inside your mind right now. So that was. I was like what do you mean? But you know, as I was there, I was like, yeah, that's a good way to think about it.

Speaker 2:

I see you as like a little 12 year old kid right now who drew like a picture Right, and then somebody like puts it through a machine and then it just like comes to life, right, right, and you're like wow, yeah, that's the most satisfying part by far.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome. Sorry, it's being able to see that. So, and I grew up in construction with my dad's construction company, so being around a job site is very familiar for me. I like it, so I'm involved all the way through construction. I like going to the job site, talking with contractors, you know all the way through, so it's fun.

Speaker 2:

What was that pivotal moment where you were like I'm gonna be an architect?

Speaker 1:

I always knew so.

Speaker 2:

So you were like zero days old.

Speaker 1:

When I was well, I don't know about that young, but when I remember eight or nine years old sitting in our house and sketching out the floor plan of our house, I did. I grew up working for my dad's company, so summer job that's what I did building homes. And then, even after high school and in college for several years, I think, when I really knew that I didn't wanna be in construction. I mean, I always knew I wanted to do architecture. But is building homes in Michigan winners? I said that's enough for me. So you?

Speaker 2:

couldn't fill your hands.

Speaker 1:

Right, right, exactly, and you know shoveling a foot of snow off of the house before you can start working for the day.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I said that's enough, I'm gonna be an architect.

Speaker 2:

I'm gonna be on the inside designing all of this and we're gonna have panels where it's gonna melt all this snow.

Speaker 1:

Right, exactly.

Speaker 2:

Now, what do you do outside of work? Like, who are you when you're not designing or building businesses?

Speaker 1:

I'm outdoors all the time, so outdoorsy hiking. I fly fish, so which my friend and business partner, duane, got me into fly fishing on that trip to Park City back when we so it's not like flying planes? No, no, this is, yeah, standing in a stream in the mountains, yep, that's, you know, catching fish. So he introduced me to that on that trip to Park City and it kind of took off from there.

Speaker 2:

So You're like this is crazy. And then like by the time you're done, you're like are we gonna do that again?

Speaker 1:

Well, he had always done it, you know, and he had always told us about it. So we got a guide who took us out, and we're standing in the stream, surrounded by mountains, and that's what I knew. This is.

Speaker 2:

Explain fly fishing for those of us that have never Fly fishing is like you know it's a different rod.

Speaker 1:

You know regular spin fishing. Everybody kind of knows what that is. You know just regular fishing. Fly fishing is where the lures are, you know representations of flies so that the fish eat, so it floats on the water, they can be under the water. But it's a whole different style of fishing where you know you're casting with the line versus the lure and it's a lot different locations. So I grew up fishing with my dad behind my grandparents house, in the little stream, in the woods, catching trout, and that's kind of where that came from. But it's a whole different kind of fishing. It's more solitary. So you go out by yourself. You're in nature most of the times. For me it's in the mountains because that's where the fish live. There's a saying that says you know, trout live in beautiful places, so that's where I like to go. You know I can spend a whole day and, yeah, spend it outside and fly fish.

Speaker 2:

I love that. Now when you're retired. What are you gonna be doing?

Speaker 1:

You're like I don't think I'm ever retired.

Speaker 2:

Are you still gonna be? Oh, yeah, okay.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm gonna be outside hiking, fishing, doing all that kind of stuff. Yeah, I mean in this area people. You know they're more scared of winter. I grew up in Michigan where we stayed outside all year, so it's for me that's what I'll continue doing.

Speaker 2:

I love that In terms of if you could say one message, if you give one message to the world, what would you say?

Speaker 1:

One message to the world. I would say go after what you want. That's kind of what I did with my business. And the second company is I saw something that I wanted to do that fulfilled the need and fulfill the desire and went after it. That's what I would say. Do that in any part of your life.

Speaker 2:

I love that. Thank you so much for being on the episode. It was such a lot of fun.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no problem, this was great. Delivering you Definitely, absolutely.

Speaker 2:

Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Thank you.

Residential and Modern Small Home Architecture
Architectural Design and Outdoor Recreation
Nature, Fishing, and Going After Dreams