Here’s a little bit about what we do, and about us. And just in case you decide to keep on reading, there’s more about the kind of company we strive to be, the kind of business we’re building, our ideology behind the industry, and what it means to us to be crafting sustainability. In case you don’t want to keep reading, all that’s written below might best be summed up in a quote from a old Italian friar better known as Saint Francis of Assisi: “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” We’re striving to be the latter.
STUFF WE DO
We get a kick out of the interplay between the natural and built environment. Our goal is to enhance those places and interactions through purposeful structure and finely crafted detail. We’re pretty keen on building structure, from the small scale residential remodel to commercial spaces or new homes, but it doesn’t stop there. We understand that once the structure is up, its only the beginning – what about the things we touch, use, handle, sit on, and notice out of the corner of our eye? The custom cut trim profile or the one-of-a-kind stool, the uncompromising quality and feel of a cabinet tailored to its use and place or the authenticity of traditional, operable shutters? It proved impossible to get exactly what we wanted to outfit our structures, so we began building those things, too. Where the structure goes, so does the detail. From our old converted tobacco warehouse in downtown Lancaster, we can match virtually any antique trim profile you can bring in. Or if you’re looking for something new, we’ll design and cut a knife just for you. Want a piece of art furniture? We’ll gladly assist. Got an old home that lovingly needs restored or a parcel of ground begging for a carefully crafted new home? We’d love to help.
SERVICES WE PROVIDE
Great building – be it big or small, stairs or a stool, a dwelling or a door – all starts with great design. So we offer up a host of services to handle early planning stages. We tackle this through various relationships with some great local architects and artisans, and we also dabble a bit in design when requested. We’ve developed a small fan base for our blend of traditional and modern design, so if you’d like, we’ll do what we can to help out. Our unique and comprehensive understanding of high performance, healthy, sustainable housing also gives the opportunity to provide consulting services to outside projects seeking to build better. Just drop us a line to see if your project is a good fit for any of our early work and we’ll be happy to see what we can do.
Already have an architect or a plan and looking to build or renovate? We’ve got the capability to tackle virtually any residential or light commercial building project and take it through to completion. We provide general contracting services and an in-house staff of carpenters and managers to handle just about any restoration, renovation, or new construction project that comes our way. We specialize in unique, unorthodox, and difficult building projects – integrating new with old, meeting rigorous performance metrics that far exceed code, and complex historic restorations keep our minds clear and our chisels sharp.
Already have a space that just needs a little something more? Then its time to chop shop. We work with architects, homeowners, and other great local builders to provide them with those one-of-a-kind details that take a space to the next level. Historically accurate moldings, shutters, cabinets, and doors go through the hands of our shop craftsmen to match details of years gone by that simply can’t be mass-produced and bought off the shelf. Custom furniture commissions sneak in and reimagined stools, chairs, and tables get built with a modern edge coupled to old-world craftsmanship. Holler and stop by the shop to see if we can help out with whatever project you’re dreaming of. Chances are if you can dream it up, the shop can put it together.
We’ve grown a bit since our early days as two young guys with a van and a vision for creating better housing. But we still hold to those early principles that for something to last, it must be loved, and that all we do should be done with an understanding that our actions reverberate through our broader community. So the crew that we are today still pours its heart into our projects, believing that we can always improve, and always look to exceed the expectations of those who work with us. Founders Mike Stoner and Jesse Pellman, LEED® AP still do a lot of the same things – building, dreaming, sanding, and sawing, but have also been fortunate enough to have been joined by some great friends and craftsmen to help further that original goal of building better. Of crafting sustainability.
Well before this company started, when Longview Structures was just a dream, we were talking about green building. Or more precisely, we were talking about what sustainable construction looked like when juxtaposed to the gaps, inefficiencies, waste, and generalized indifference to longevity that seems to dominate the mainstream building industry. We were, and continue to be dedicated to the idea that big impacts don’t need to have big footprints, nor does a world class building mean degradation to the surrounding environment. So we decided we’d take a new approach to construction.
We dive deep. That means fewer opportunities for communication gaps between client, architect, builder, contractor, foreman, sub-contractor. So we’re on the job, start to finish, concept to completion whenever we can. Starting at the very beginning, we collaborate with architects and designers to make sure we’ve got things ironed out and ready to go. We took a look back at the earliest homes built and saw that the truly great ones were craftsmen built – craftsmen with an uncompromising eye for detail, aesthetic, and functionality who played a vital role in every aspect of the job and fully understood the construction process. So we strive to do the same – to be fully aware of the design intent through the smallest of construction details and the intricacies of building science so there won’t be any missed details, miscommunications, or quality lapses.
We green the process. We believe sustainable building is a must, and that everyone deserves a healthy space regardless of budget. So before a project begins, we assess the situation from a sustainability mindset and we do our best to provide the healthiest, most environmentally responsible housing we can. We like to being early, utilizing the existing space or the proposed lot and work from there, pulling a host of varying technologies and strategies to create the highest functioning, most appealing structures. Whether your home will be a new, net-zero off the grid dwelling, or a more simple retrofit, all of our projects get the same sustainable, common sense approach to do all that we can to provide healthy living spaces, inside and out.
We take the long view. Hence our name. It means we’re looking down the road and we recognize that the spaces we occupy today have not only an immediate impact on our own health and the health of the surrounding community and environment, but they also leave an indelible footprint and legacy for future generations. So we apply the highest quality & environmental responsibility standards to all of our projects, and we do our best to be a positive local business. We ask questions about embodied energy, sourcing, locale, durability, and end-of-life reuse (along with others) to find what works best for us today, and for those who will come tomorrow.
We believe that sustainability goes beyond the individual spaces and things we build, restore, and renovate. That’s why we donate thousands of dollars every year to valuable organizations in our community and abroad – things like local bicycle racing teams and the Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network to disaster relief across the globe, and to clean water efforts in the developing world. Why? Because sustainable housing needs to be surrounded by a great and sustaining community. We believe we need to take care of each other, as well as our natural and built environment. So we provide our employees with great health insurance and vacation time in an effort to promote an equitable workplace. We aim for open communication and transparency in our billing and finances with our subcontractors and our clients, often working with time and material contracts so that everything remains above the table – no secret markups, no fine print, and no surprises. To us, sustainable construction is just one facet of a sustainable life.
WHY IT MATTERS
Relationships are the heart of our business, and the center of what we do – we’re always more interested in cultivating a relationship than a contract, and we’ve seen time and time again that when those priorities are flipped, the end result leaves everyone with a bitter taste. To avoid that, we subscribe pretty heavily to the concepts above. Plus, sustainable building and green housing are rapidly moving from novelty to necessity. Particularly here in Lancaster County where we’re based, its the beautiful, rural landscape alongside the hip urban centers that help make this place so appealing, and if we don’t take steps to maintain that natural environmental beauty, it will be lost and our grandchildren may never know what we were so privileged to experience. So by moving ahead and not just building ‘green’ buildings, but smart, common sense sustainable homes, we can help protect our ecosystems and agrarian history, improve air and water quality, reduce waste headed to landfills, lower operating expenses for the home, and contribute to the overall quality of life here in Lancaster and all the places that are home. Because the sustainable homes we build today can be the generational heirlooms of tomorrow.
Every now and again we’re lucky enough to have our projects get some attention from the press. Here’s a quick list of some outlets that we’re proud to have shown up in: Lancaster Newspapers (12.2008, 12.2011, 3.2011), Susquehanna Style, Lancaster Net Zero, Builders & Associates Mag., Timber Living Magazine (2012 Best Homes of the Year issue), the Central Penn Business Journal, Lancaster County Magazine, and Chester County Press – we’ve even won the Central PA USGBC Green Home of the Year Award, and we made Keystone Edge’s list of “Pennsylvania’s Five Coolest Green Buildings.” Every now and again, we’re also fortunate enough to be invited to lecture or teach in various events – here are a few folks we’ve presented to and with: Franklin & Marshall College, Millersville University Project Green, Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association, International Policy Conference: Stewards of Sustainability, Building Industry Association Green Building Council, and MEDA.