Design, innovation and function lead to Renova's successes

“Having a smaller, more dynamic and integrated type of company is going to be important,” says Justin Mauro of Renova Homes and Renovations.

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Justin Mauro always knew that one day he would have his own company.

“I think it just came earlier than I envisioned,” he says with a laugh.

Mauro owns Renova Homes and Renovations, a company that was recently in the spotlight for its innovative home designs and building acumen both in the new build and the renovation markets. It has received several accolades, notably at the recent Building Industry and Land Development Association-Calgary Region (BILDCR) Awards, winning first place for an outstanding exterior renovation in Altadore and also for its new build River Pointe Villas project, a stunning combination of contemporary West Coast architecture and luxurious and functional living. All in all, Renova received eight finalist nominations at the awards and won the title of Small Volume Multi-Family Builder of the Year. This is the second time Renova has chalked up Builder of the Year on its list of accomplishments, quite a feat for a company not yet six years old.

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Mauro attributes the company’s outstanding success to being balanced in the sweet spot — “a combination of looking forward to new trends and innovations and really listening to what our clients are wanting and then creating functional and beautiful homes,” he says.

“I feel like we are really just getting started. And to have the recognition from our industry and our peers makes me feel a lot of pride. Calgary is such a great city and a great location to be doing what we are doing.”

Homebuilding is in Mauro’s blood. His parents owned the luxury homebuilding company Albi Homes, which was sold to Brookfield Residential in 2015.

“I was 14 when I began working in the field on construction sites, sweeping houses and learning the ropes. In the ’90s and early 2000s,  I worked in a lot of different departments to understand how all of the scopes come together.”

After that he earned an MBA and moved into land development working for La Vita Land for eight years (as the director of land development overseeing the communities of Fireside and the Willows in Cochrane).

Opportunity came knocking in 2018, when his cousin, who owned the home renovation company Albi Renova, was looking to retire. Mauro didn’t think twice before shifting gears, purchasing the company and taking on the challenge.

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Since then, Mauro has built on Renova’s successes, while expanding the company’s suite of offerings. In just six short years, he has implemented both a single-family and a multi-family new home division, as well as continuing to really focus on the company’s foundational roots — the luxury renovation and custom new build market.

“But we’ve had a few hard knocks along the way,” says Mauro. “Covid hit three weeks after we opened our very first new build home show home and that set us back a bit. But we reset and picked it up again and since then it’s taken off steady and strong.”

Tom Welling runs Renova’s renovation and custom new build division. He says that there is definitely a trend in Calgary to refresh older homes rather than move.

“People are looking for functionality within their spaces — they want cabinetry that they can use, they want closets that are very functional and they want an open-concept,” he says. The other item that is on the must-have list is an exceptional outdoor space, one that will weather Calgary’s inclement climate and take people through three seasons of living al fresco. He’s a big fan of front yard gardens and outdoor living space and notes that when it comes to exterior renovations and living spaces, “the style should fit the neighbourhood.”

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Case in point is an exterior renovation in Altadore, the winning entry at the BILDCR Awards.

“I call it the Dean Martin House. It has a great feel to it,” says Welling.

The design was a collaboration between Renova’s in-house design team and the owners. The owners wanted a “living deck” so that the house could flow from front to back. The design spun off of a new and “funky” rear garage that carved out an outdoor space in the backyard, allowing the home’s living space to be extended, but also to create flow from the outdoors through the house and into the front yard, where another outdoor living space was created.

For the visuals, the team at Renova used a number of different materials to create interest and to allow the new facade and exterior to integrate into the streetscape of the inner-city community.

That same commitment to quality, innovation and design sensibility extends to the new build designs. With its River Pointe Villas, a boutique enclave of 19 villas situated on the Bow River in Cochrane and also a winner at the BILDCR awards (Best New Multi-Family Home Design 1,201 sq. ft. to 1,400 sq. ft.), Mauro says that it is really the floor plan and the architecture that make these bungalow style homes sing.

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“They’re just under 1,250 square feet, but give you so much living space,” says Mauro. Details include 10-foot ceilings, a separate laundry room, a large and luxurious ensuite with freestanding tub and separate shower, plus a chef’s kitchen. “It’s a solid footprint with an efficient floor plan and even though they aren’t enormous, the way that they are designed makes you feel like you are in a much larger space.”

The architecture also is compelling — angled low-sloped roofs with plenty of wood on the facade, gives a contemporary West Coast feel.

Renova is building and developing both single and multi-family homes in a variety of communities, including Crimson Ridge in Calgary’s northwest, but it is particularly pumped on the Cochrane market, where it builds in Precedence in Riversong and Willows West. It also has two multi-family developments on the go in Cochrane — River Pointe Villas and Freestone, a 71-unit townhome development in Riversong.

 Having spent eight years working in development in the Cochrane area, Mauro knows it well. “It’s just a fantastic satellite community. The amenities, the location, the views, the way the town is set up and the way that it is growing, it’s a great place to be developing and building,” says Mauro.

The vision for the future, says Mauro, is “really about doing it all.” By that he is referring to having a finger in the pie in many areas, in multi-family and single-family new builds, in renovations, custom new builds and land development. It’s a vision that incorporates ingenuity, nimbleness and forward-thinking acumen.

“I think that having a smaller, more dynamic and integrated type of company is going to be important in Calgary because the building and development landscape has changed so much and continues to change,” he says.

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