Innovation for a Changing World
The world has changed… how we live, where we work. It’s a new construct, and people need professionals with a broad and sophisticated skill set for construction solutions for these new situations. Through Velvet Pines Developers, John Barry and his team have built an outstanding reputation delivering a variety of residential and commercial builds that truly delight their customers. Now they’re using their talents and commitment to excellence to offer next-level innovation for rapidly changing times.
John explains that new trends his company is addressing are multi-generational living and aging-in-place renovations which reflect families’ response to the pandemic. “People don’t want to accept the uncertainty of being separated for extended periods from aging parents who may be in assisted living or reside far away. When people combine households, we provide creative ways for each generation to feel integrated while still maintaining privacy with elements like common areas for the whole family, which also provide buffers to personal spaces.” John adds that they can also modify for wheelchairs, add grab bars and design other customizations to make living there sustainable for their lifetime. Another residential trend is to add more multi-use applications with in-home office and study spaces, and amenities such as elevators and back-up generators previously seen in only commercial buildings. “Having extensive experience in commercial and residential building puts us ahead of the curve and is a key difference Velvet Pines offers – delivering a home that is truly customized and meets the needs that clients didn’t have just a few years ago.”
Enhancing Function by Design
John began as a general contractor decades ago in New York city. The rigorous permitting and inspection process along with experience on a variety of projects provided a solid foundation to his love of the building process. After becoming engaged to a hotel industry executive named Sandy, the couple chose to settle in Louisiana, near Sandy’s family. With Sandy as CEO and John as COO, Velvet Pines began. John quickly set himself apart as a problem solver capable of physically doing the work and able to collaborate with designers, architects, and craftsmen. “Because of my experience with steel construction in New York, I have a different eye and can communicate effectively with architects and engineers while speaking in layman’s terms for the customer. I also understand the challenges of building on South Louisiana land.” As his reputation grew, he was called on for more involved commercial projects including gas stations, dry cleaners, and restaurants. During his career, he has also built and built out spaces for his own businesses making him uniquely qualified to understand and give valuable input in designing spaces that enhance their function by design.
Along with delivering innovation, the key to clients’ satisfaction is communication and the effectiveness of his team. Jokingly describing himself as the chief bottle washer, John stresses the value of his team both in skill and a true desire to connect with and please clients. At the location of a recent high-profile project – incorporating Desi Vega’s Steakhouse into the Aprés Lounge in Covington – he proudly introduces Jill Lerille-Office manager, Katie Rylee-Project Manager and Scott Martin-Field Superintendent. He explains that the team meets with clients multiple times before a project is even started to make sure they are the right fit, and adds that his experts listen and brainstorm as a group to make sure they deliver the client’s big-picture vision. “We deliver a turnkey product. Clients benefit from our experience and don’t have to worry or micromanage. It’s a much less stressful and more enjoyable experience for them.”
“My son, John Grayson, is also a team member-in-training who will study construction management and join the family business,” beams John. As the handsome high schooler arrives for the photo shoot, it’s hard to tell which is prouder of the other as they grin and embrace, visibly enthusiastic about being and working together. “This business is evolving and we’re both excited about him bringing new ideas and taking it to the next level. My daughter, Payton, is studying 2-D Animation and I like to request her artistic viewpoint since she offers a fresh approach to problem solving and innovation.”
As the photo shoot unfolds in the new upscale venue, John describes the thought process behind the integration that elevated the Covington lounge into a thriving hotspot. “Rather than build the restaurant as a separate entity, we redesigned Aprés to become part of the experience. Now it’s a great destination that patrons don’t have to leave for a full night of dining, dancing and music all in one place. Just as residential is blurring lines now with multi-use spaces, commercial is taking a cue from residential to become more comfortable and inviting, and we’ve incorporated that feel without losing any of the high-end style. It’s that kind of thoughtful planning for space function and flow that can make the difference in the success of a business or the comfort and sustainability of a home.” John says it’s his greatest complement to have customers return to Velvet Pines for new projects. “I love when businesses come back for second and third locations or children who grew up in houses we designed have us build one of their own. To proudly serve generations of businesses and families here while building a legacy along with my own family is the ultimate fulfillment, and it shows in our longevity, our reputation and the quality of our product.”
Velvet Pines Developers is located at 69160 Highway 59 Suite 1 in Mandeville. For more information call (985) 875-2090 or visit velvetpines.com.