President and CEO of Source Consulting Chris Findlay has thought about it. He likely has thought about it more than anyone else in the room. The “it” in question could be anything, but generally it’s style and design, and the logistics of how to get the best building products to his clients.
When we meet, Findlay is amiable and efficiently casual in a pressed shirt and jeans. He moves with the quickness and surety of someone who makes things happen. Calling him detail oriented would be like calling Mother Teresa kind. On a tour of his new Mount Pleasant design center, where he brings exclusive high-end products to Lowcountry homebuilders, he breezily understates things when he calls himself “a bit of a perfectionist.”
The showroom begins outside with a sleek stainless steel cable railing by Atlantis and rich decking by Thermory. Inside, it continues with mahogany doors that sport impressive 3-foot bronze handles. The space displays not so much product as vision. “Most people won’t need a mahogany door with a 36-inch escutcheon,” Findlay concedes, “but it shows what we can do, and we can back up from there.”
The showroom is the result of a year of renovation, planning and selection. High-end building materials for coastal homes include BrazoStone exteriors, Del Conca USA tile, Dasso bamboo siding, Brombal windows and doors, Ludowici terracotta roofing tiles, New Horizon shutters and more.
Findlay’s goal is to help clients—architects, builders, contractors, designers, developers and homeowners—put their vision of a custom or semi-custom home together with ease and confidence. It’s one of the reasons he added both a pocket door and barn doors to his office. “It’s overkill,” he cheerfully admits, “but it’s for the architects and the builders, so they can see the millwork—how we handle the details.”
Findlay’s most recent work has been on luxury homes at Christophe Harbour in St. Kitts. He sources and ships materials to about 90 percent of homes there—from pebbles to palm trees. Products come from across the world as well the United States. By doing it all—sourcing, purchasing, shipping and tracking—he saves his customers time, money and aggravation.
“Our concept allows clients, whether they are homeowners, contractors or developers, to buy at or below the prices they could find on their own,” says Findlay. “In addition, our integrated services save clients hours of additional administration and aggravation … which in turn saves them even more money!” He adds: “Ordering the products we sell isn’t easy. We save our customers that burden, too.”
Personal and business ties made Charleston a natural choice for a showroom. “Our products are customized for the coast and meet Caribbean hurricane ratings and thermal values, which generally exceed required ratings for the Lowcountry.” And if you don’t have a mansion? Findlay laughs. “It’s all about optimizing choices,” he explains, pointing out that his top-end supplier of bronze windows and doors has a line of steel that costs 30 to 60 percent less.
The design center is a place to brainstorm. Clients are assisted in a state-of-the-art meeting and planning space that has fully automated lighting, sound and 4K Internet TV. A changeable wall display can hold a project’s tile, cabinet doors, shutters, flooring, windows, hardware and more. Findlay says: “It’s the perfect place to build a true custom home and bring it all together. The steps aren’t overwhelming, and you can see how the design is unfolding.”
Offices off the main showroom hold sample upon sample. A room of Ludowici tile gives the romantic impression that half the roofs in Europe have tumbled down. “We’re very proud of our sources,” says Findlay. “We don’t just sell these products, we know these products.”
As Findlay rolls off detailed product stats, illustrative stories and amusing tidbits (“Architects love to eat, you have to feed them!”), the word “mastermind” seems to be a better way to describe him than “perfectionist.”
“We have the product range to give people choices,” says Findlay. “If they can’t find something in the 8,000 SKUs of stone we have here…well, they might be picky.”
Tori Coscas is a freelance writer on James Island.