It was 2015 when Julie Le bought her first property. The plan was to tear down the original structure, build from the ground up and eventually flip the home. This was a brand-new endeavour for Le, who was in the legal field at the time. “It was my first project and I really knew nothing about the business, but I decided to take a risk. I hired two project managers and learned absolutely everything I could about the process,” she remembers. “The entire project took 18 months from start to finish and that’s when I fell in love with home design and homebuilding. I realized I could take something raw and create a home for a family. I also loved the challenges that were constantly arising from the day-today management of the projects.”
The process also opened Le’s eyes to the fact that new builds and full renovations aren’t a piece of cake—they’re difficult to coordinate, time consuming and demanding, and they take incredible organization. After this home was finished, more projects followed—and the more Le learned and refined the process, the more she grew to love building from the ground up. It didn’t take long before she decided to turn designing and homebuilding into a full-time career.
Four years after that first build, Le and her fiance, Kurtis Van Keulen (an architect), opened Mississauga, Ont.-based Brento Tile. The goal was simple—to simplify and revolutionize flooring. “There are so many aspects to homebuilding, but flooring is so important. It’s really what makes your house a home. People don’t look at baseboards, but they do notice the colour, texture, pattern and design of what’s on the floors, as well as the harmony of everything pulled together. That’s why we decided to start with this important component and branch out from there,” says Le. “People come to us with raw floor plans and we assist in putting together a cohesive look, whether it’s with the flooring, colours or accents.”
Brento Tile started out as a one-stop shop for flooring, but that’s not all they do. Homeowners who are interested in custom cabinetry and countertops for kitchens can also visit their showroom and speak to experts, and those who are interested in a full renovation can meet with Le to discuss their needs and also benefit from Van Keulen’s talent in architectural design. “There are very few tile places that help customers the way we do. We strive to educate our clients. One of my biggest annoyances when I built that first home was staff who lacked the knowledge about the product, construction or simply lacked vision and wereunable to help me in my decision making. From my personal experiences, our staff are taught to go above and beyond for our clients and transparency is important to us.”
Business has been booming, and for good reason. “Customers do come in for flooring, however, once in our showroom, they are made aware of our other services and products and we end up assisting them in their full renovation jobs rather than just being a floor supplier,” she says. “Not only do we ensure our clients’ budgets are a priority, we help them achieve the luxurious looks they strive for.”
Photo courtesy of Brento Tile