Quality and workmanship. Those two values are near and dear to the heart of Doug Trahan, president of TMR Construction in Lafayette.
Not only does Trahan build every house as if his reputation depends on it, but he also builds every house as if he’s going to live in it. He prides himself on his work and personally oversees the construction of every home, from staking out the foundation to the final inspections.
Known for his eye for detail, Trahan said, “I like the quality to be right. I treat each project like I’m building my personal house.” When he thinks about the future, he said, “I wouldn’t want my company to get so big that I couldn’t control the quality.”
A third generation builder, Doug grew up on construction sites working for his father, the late L.J. Trahan, after school and during summer breaks. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana to study architecture, but he soon realized he wanted to be in the field building instead of sitting behind a desk.
He joined his father’s company full-time, learning framing, roofing and trim carpentry among other skills before becoming a superintendent. The two generations of Trahans worked together, building top quality homes in the Lafayette area, for many years, with Doug eventually becoming a licensed residential and commercial contractor.
Doug’s wife, Kim, also worked for his father, doing bookkeeping and interior design for 14 years. She now handles the bookkeeping and interior design for TMR.
Five years ago Doug left his father’s company to start TMR Construction, which is named for the Trahans’ three kids, Tyler, Madeline and Raven.
In addition to the occasional commercial project, each year TMR Construction typically builds four custom speculative homes in the $400,000 price range, plus several custom homes. All are in Lafayette or the surrounding area.
Trahan works with local architects to create a design that is specific to each lot. Because he seldom uses the same house plan twice, each home is one of a kind.
A lot of people choose a spec house because they don’t want to deal with the process of building from the ground up, Kim said. Most of the spec homes sell long before they are completed. “We’ve learned what people seem to want.’ Our spec houses are 2,500 to 3,200 square feet. Buyers want large Master Bathrooms and a decent size back yard. “Everything in a home has to flow with no empty spaces and lots of storage.”
Current trends, according to Kim, are neutral colors (especially gray), hardwood floors and three-car garages. Outdoor living spaces are also popular now. Trahan typically puts a fireplace, a beaded cypress ceiling and ceiling fan, a barbeque pit and refrigerator in the outdoor living space. “After you’ve been in building for so long, you kinda know what people like,” Kim said.
Now 46 years old, Doug has 30 years of experience in building and is seeing some second-generation clients. Although he no longer pounds nails, he uses his intimate knowledge of building to supervise each house he builds. Doug believes in top quality workmanship and uses only professional subcontractors who are well established in the construction industry. “A lot of my subcontractors have worked with me for years, but I’m on the job site daily. I make sure things are done right.”
Two of the best changes he’s seen during his building career are the state-wide requirements that all contractors must be licensed and that all new homes must be built to code and inspected.
Looking back, Doug said he finds building to be a satisfying career. “I really like the process of designing new projects, especially seeing projects through to the end. I like to see a house standing where it was dirt before.”
He also enjoys the relationships that develop with his clients. Many of TMR’s clients stay in touch long after their homes are completed. “Our clients often become friends,” Kim noted.
A Lafayette native, Doug Trahan enjoys giving back to his community and to his profession. A long-time member, he currently is secretary of the Acadiana Home Builders Association (ABHA). “It’s a way to meet people, to help out and to keep updated about what’s going on in the industry at the same time,” Doug said.
He was asked to serve as the builder for the 10th annual Home for the Holidays project. Home for the Holidays is a non-profit organization and an annual project of the AHBA and KATC-TV 3. Each year, the builder and associate members of AHBA build a brand new, state-of-the-art home which is given away in a raffle drawing right before Christmas. This year’s home was built in the Village of Broussard.
Proceeds from raffle ticket sales are dedicated to local, shelter-related charities, including Lafayette Habitat for Humanity, Faith House, Healing House and St. Michael’s Center for Veterans. So far, AHBA and KATC have been able to donate over $1.2 million to these charities since the project’s conception in 2005, according to the AHBA web site.
“The project was very successful. A lot of people were very generous with their donations of materials and time to help build the house,” Kim Trahan said.
Right now he’s refocusing his attention from the Home for the Holidays to Mardi Gras. Doug is also on the board of directors of the local Krewe of Carnivale en Rio. He serves as bead chairman, which makes him responsible for obtaining the trinkets to be thrown to the thousands of spectators from the 24 floats that will be part of the parade on Feb. 7.
Despite his busy professional and community life, Doug still finds time to hunt deer during day trips to Mississippi. No doubt his eye for detail comes in handy there, too!
You may contact TMR Construction at 404 Bon Temps Drive, Lafayette, LA 70506 or 337-739-9102.