A Rising Star in the Custom Home Building Game

By    | on February 18, 2014 |

It’s not every day that you hear about a former flight attendant becoming a successful homebuilder. Building custom, luxury homes for nearly a decade, Rose Barroso tells newinhomes.com all about how she became successful in a male-dominated industry.

Owner of Barroso Homes, Rose Barroso said it wasn’t until she started thinking about raising a family that she realized how difficult it was to find that ideal, dream home. Having spent years watching her husband (who is also in the industry) look over blueprints, Barroso had picked up a few helpful tips over their frequent evening conversations. Fuelled by her husband’s faithful encouragement (and refusal to settle for a home that was less-than-perfect), the Barrosos bought the ultimate fixer upper. After just four weeks of demolition and renovation, they were almost finished unpacking their personal belongings and getting ready for the birth of their first born, when there was a knock at the door. Though not listed for sale, the home was sold in under a week. Pressed for time, the growing family moved into a 1,700 square foot condo. With increasing pressure from friends and family, Rose Barroso was compelled to take on another project.

hillside house 3

Just like that, Rose Barroso unpacked her bags for good and took off for a new destination. Her notable accomplishments might make the process look simple, but Barroso says that her success can be attributed to her hard work and constant reinvention as a designer. Off to a turbulent start, Barroso found that being taken seriously in this male-dominated industry could be a greater challenge than she originally expected, “You need to prove yourself daily,” says Barroso. “It wasn’t until three years ago that things got better. At first it was like ‘okay we need to be nice because she’s the wife.’ At first, I understood, but then I started getting mad. I was building my third home and still not being taken seriously. People I was contracting were still calling my husband to confirm orders for stairs or windows.”

hillside house 4

In one instance, Barroso remembers telling an electrician to put a “condom” on a second-floor pot light during the installation process. For those who are not familiar with this industry terminology, in short, second floor ceiling pot lights require a vapour barrier that looks like a cup and protects the light from condensation that occurs from rising heat and outdoor cold. Unprofessionally, the employee remarked to another worker, “does her husband know she talks like this to the guys?”

hillside house 5

Emphasizing how supportive her husband has been throughout the process, she recalls calling him after having left some meetings with hostile sales representatives and other industry professionals who made her feel disheartened and incompetent: “One time I got patted on the hand like I was a little kid and told I really needed to come back with my designer.” Level-headed advice and positive reinforcement motivated her to continue pushing herself as a designer, but the pressure never goes away says Barroso, “Every home I build has to have something new, so people around me don’t think I’m a one-hit-wonder.”

hillside house 6

“There were many times I wanted to give up,” says Barroso, but experience in the industry has helped her realize that as the builder, she controls who she contracts. Staying on top of the industry by importing European styles and setting high standards for her company has given her the acclaimed reputation she deserves, and the evidence is hard to dispute. With the latest facets and finishes, Barroso Homes offers state-of-the-art building. A perfect example of this is the Glassbridge, a 4,000 square foot home located just off of the Kingsway which offers a contemporary tub that fills up from a hole that releases water from the ceiling.