Updated: Jan 16, 2019
Oxford Inspections was born of a vision to make a difference in the lives of those around us. This vision was in the making long before we even thought of starting a business.
Home Improvements Fascinate Me
My parents came from hard working blue collar families in Northern Ireland. When my sister and I were young, we all moved to Canada from the UK and lived with my grandparents and two uncles in a small duplex.
With so many people in one small space my parents and grandparents had to get creative with renovations. My grandfather was a cabinetmaker and he taught my father his skills as they developed our basement. I was only six at the time, too young to help, but being around the work taught me that a home is not a static space; things constantly change either by our own hand or the hand of entropy.
We moved several times as I was growing up, always into a home that needed some fixing up. When I was older, I helped my parents learning how to use the tools, how to install drywall, solder copper pipe, and install tile. There were always challenges to overcome and puzzles to work out.
I became fascinated with solving these puzzles, with finding eloquent solutions.
I Want to Help
Because I grew up in a house with handy people, fixing my own space came naturally to me. When Michael and I got married, we chose to buy a fixer-upper and make it into a home. Our journey inspired others around us and we became a source of advice and assistance.
We had a decision to make, we could take our down payment and buy a new house in the suburbs with all the bells and whistles, or we could buy a little old house in the inner city with plans to live up and rent down. Neither of us liked the idea of a new home or living so far away from the buzz of the inner city community in which we lived so we chose a 1953 raised bungalow that had solid bones but needed a little work.
Over a couple of years we turned that house into a home. The main floor was our sanctuary and had all we needed, while the basement contained a shared laundry and a two bedroom suite. To get there, we did most of the work ourselves, hiring out when we lacked the skills (plumbing, electrical, windows, fireplace installation). It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and one that is still valuable today as we now rent the entire house out as an investment property.
Through this, friends and family realised we had some insight into solving renovation and home improvement problems. People began asking us for advice and help with their own challenges. Soon, we were getting calls from friends of friends, people we had never met. We had to make a decision:
how could we help all of these people and more without becoming exhausted?
In order to reach and help more people we decided to start a business, not in renovation, but in inspection and maintenance advice. By empowering home owners to take control of home maintenance, we saw that we could have a larger impact on our community. This is how Oxford Inspections was born.