A Chat with Bill Saleem

Bill Saleem is the master builder at Ocean Breeze Homes. He has been in the custom luxury home building industry for almost a decade, and in that time has mastered the art of designing and building dream homes for clients. His passion for excellence, keen eye on details, as well as superior interpersonal skills are the driving force to his success as a successful custom home builder in Toronto’s hot home building market.
Today we will share an exclusive interview with the man behind the brand. Read on to get to know a bit about him, and what he has to say about what he is so passionate about – custom home building.

Question: When did you start your career as a custom home builder?

Bill Saleem: I would say I stepped into the field around 9 years ago. I have always been fascinated with structures, and how buildings looked, both externally, and internally. At first I wanted to take up architecture, which focuses more on the exterior of building structures. As I got to know more about the different aspects of the design industry and what else it offers though, I came across custom building. This caught my eye as it allowed me to visualize a concept, and then work to bring it to life. I knew that it was the career path that I wanted to take. It gave me a different vibe from when I was more interested in architecture because, I got the feeling of freedom, and creativity more. I feel that it is not as restricted. From then on, I became passionate about how I can utilise the space available. I found myself linking this within contemporary examples around the world.

Question: What is the mission of Ocean Breeze Homes?

Bill Saleem: At Ocean breeze homes, we believe that excellence is often the result of the smallest details. From high end finishing and top of the line amenities, luxurious upgrades. Our mission is to create spaces that are both, functional, and beautiful.

Question: If you could explain your aesthetic as a home builder, what would it be?

Bill Saleem: I would say that the most important thing when it comes to visual appeal for me in my work would be to keep it elegant and pay attention to the little details. I strive to bring function, and beauty to all the spaces that I work with. It isn’t enough for me to just have a space that works; it must work in beautiful harmony with everything flowing well together. I believe that fine materials, crafted skillfully, and placed intentionally, are what bring quality to a build.

Question: What makes Ocean Breeze Homes stand out among other designers?

Bill Saleem: I want to make things better. The streets I walk down, the rooms I hang out in, the state of the world, my abs— I am constantly striving to improve. I bring this to every project. I approach design from a soul level. I take in the space, the architecture, the clients, their family, the dog, their preferences, how they want to live, how they use the space, what they are drawn to, and I let it all marinate.

I sleep on it. I wander around it, circling it like a fighter trying to take the measure of the man I’m about to go up against. Then, I wait. I wait until the inspiration comes. So far, it always has. Design is art. It cannot be forced.

Question: Where Do You Find Inspiration?
Bill Saleem: Inspiration, for me, can come from anywhere, really. I find mother nature in particular to be the greatest muse! Sometimes, I’ll just be gazing at the sky and find inspiration in the hue of blue. Other times, the translucent flutter of a butterfly’s wing, or the autumn leaves will evoke a powerful emotion. The countless trees, majestic and varying in shapes, textures and shades awaken the imagination, as do the beautiful bodies of water, whether they’re rivers, crystal clear lakes, or oceans. I try to incorporate the beauty of the world around me in my designs.

Question: What is your process when designing and consulting?

Bill Saleem: We stay with our clients from beginning to end, from preliminary design to the final build. We begin with a one-on-one meeting that aims at understanding the client’s vision for their dream home. At this stage, we collaborate with the client, and give our suggestions of how to make it happen, and how to improve on the plan. Then it goes to the preliminary design, which, after getting approved by the clients, goes to design development where we provide the clients with more clarity on how their home is going to look. Finally, the custom home building will begin, followed by its delivery.

Question: What are the most common projects you are tasked with and/or the top reasons to renovate a space?

Bill Saleem: Our top projects would be designing and building custom homes. The top reasons that we are sought out as custom home builders in Toronto, is that people are looking to revitalize a space, increase land value, create energy saving solutions or incorporate smart technology within the home, or use better, and safer construction materials than what were used to originally build a house. 

Question: Tell Us About Your Favorite Project to Date.
Bill Saleem: All of them are my favourite, I have to fall in love with each and every project in order to be able to design them. All of the projects that we’ve undertaken are unique in their own ways and I like different things about each of them… Our house “Hourglass” has a movie theatre under the garage, which defines the definition of cool. One other house built by us was “Copper Imperial” which has attractive ceiling heights on the main floor, and it also has a walnut themed office that looks really classy. I also loved the design of the Cedar, especially its wine Cellar.

Question: Let’s do a little trend forecasting! What do you think is going to be the top interior design in 2019? What trends do you think will come out this year?
Bill Saleem: The first thing I would say would be wooden work. Wood is a classic material that will never go out of style. The use of wood has grown in popularity year after year, and I expect that to continue as we move into 2019. Whether you introduce wood flooring to your kitchen, or decide to add more wooden elements to a dining space, or feature walls, we’re all for bringing the outdoors in.

Another hot trend right now is “maximalism”. I’m sure you probably know all about minimalist home decor, but the theme of 2019 is “more is more.” You may find yourself abandoning the bare minimal and welcoming a strategically layered textural splash across the home. This may involve some level of risk-taking as you work with your custom home builders to create a look that is unique just to you; created just for you.

Lastly, I’d like to say that black may be timeless and traditional, but one of 2019’s interior design trends will definitely involve more navy elements at home. You could even say that navy is the new black. I expects to see navy used in fresh and modern ways—or in other words, not your grandma’s navy. Navy is a staple in a classic cabana stripe… but I am more excited about pairing it with mint greens and pink to give it a refreshing twist.

My suggestion to all the interior design connoisseurs out there would be to consider ditching black furniture or accents and use navy instead.

Question: Could you offer our readers a few tips and tricks for boosting the visual appeal of their homes?

Bill Saleem: Don’t try to copy everything your favourite designer is doing. You need to be able to adjust interior design tips to your own home and style. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. What works for one home, may not work for you.

Another thing would be to realize that you don’t need to spend a lot to get an interior design refresh around the home. Be open minded when it comes to design. Try to look at the objects that you already own from a different perspective before you go out shopping to buy décor items, accents or furniture. You may be able to repurpose that old side table that’s just sitting in the basement collecting dust. Or maybe you can move that quirky ottoman from the corner of your bedroom to foyer to add an interesting zing to your entrance. Sometimes it’s all about looking at things in a different light.


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