Canadian Contractor

Art your builds. Build your profit

"Customers understand immediately upon entering the show home that the sensibilities behind building a Maric home go beyond the logistics, planing and economics."

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June 21, 2019 by Robert Koci

What makes you different? Why will a client hire you over your competitor? And why on earth would they pay the prices you ask?

These are questions only the best builders and renovators are willing to ask themselves and, more importantly, answer. Dan Rolfe, president of Maric Homes and Maric Renovations in Winnipeg, MB, found part of his answer in the unlikely form of Winnipeg resident Kal Barteski.

Barteski says she is “only an artist.” She says this often; in her Tedx talk in Winnipeg in 2013, in a CBC doc chronicling a Churchhill MB art project she spearheaded in 2017 and during her conversation with Canadian Contractor. She says it often enough to make the listener suspicious that she is much more. To Rolfe, she is at least one more thing: a message to his market that he is different. That Maric is different. Perhaps more importantly, her work is the message that when you buy a Maric home or a Maric renovation you are getting more than bricks and sticks.

He encountered her text art in commercial spaces throughout Winnipeg and liked how they warmed the spaces where they were found. He decided to commission Barteski to install text art in one of his model homes.

It would be the first time Barteski produced art for a private space. “When I work with words, it’s a nice way to connect with somebody on a more emotional level,” she says, “and I really like the idea of having a—not necessarily emotional—but a big, loving, inclusive statement in a show home and unlocking the idea that this could be a forever home—a home where you could just put your troubles down and reconnect with the space that you live in.”

It was exactly the kind of message Rolfe was looking for. Customers understood immediately upon entering the show home that the sensibilities behind building a Maric home went beyond the logistics, planing and economics and it was worth paying for.

Since her first installation in a Maric show home, Barteski has received over 300 requests for commissions from home owners and other builders. She has clearly touched a happy nerve with Maric’s market and given Rolfe a brand that allows him to ask for and receive sustainable, profitable pricing in a market notorious for its price consciousnesses.

Both Rolfe and Barteski expected that, upon sale of the show home, the art would be painted over in favour of the new owner’s interior decorating ideas. That has turned out not to be the case. Barteski’s work is enduring, inspiring Maric home owners and leaving a lasting, profitable impression.

You can view more of Barteski’s work on her website, and contact her at

Robert Koci

Robert Koci

Rob Koci is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine. Tel. 647-628-3597
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