By Kathy Bowen Stolz
After 10 years of providing superior craftsmanship and unparalleled service, Van Alan Homes is one of Acadiana’s most trusted names in homebuilding, according to Plaisance.
“We have created a brand of custom homes which are a combination of classic old world craftsmanship, modern technology and traditional Acadiana symbolism,” he explained.
Recognized by the industry and the public, its awards include Best of Houzz (2015), The Times of Acadiana (2014, 2015), Locals Love Us (2012-2015), House & Home First Place in 4000+ (2013), House & Home Best in Show (2011) and House & Home Outdoor Living Design Award (2011).
“We pride ourselves on our ability to provide quality construction at the most affordable price. Our typical customer is a second- or third-time homebuyer who wants a higher quality home than is typically found in a starter home or spec home. They demand homes that are handcrafted by the most skilled craftsmen using the finest materials.”
Van Alan Homes is a mid-volume custom builder that combines exceptional luxury with custom features and affordability in all price ranges, Plaisance added. The family-owned-and-operated company averages about 30 completed homes each year, with 25-30 homes under construction at all times. “We have set up the company infrastructure accordingly to enable us to handle this workload efficiently.”
Its prices range from $250,000 to more than $1,000,000, with sizes ranging from 1,800 sq ft to more than 10,000 sq ft. The company builds in Lafayette, Youngsville, Broussard, New Iberia, Carencro and the surrounding areas.
Most of its custom homes feature a great amount of detail, Alan noted. The smaller ones usually take five to six months to construct, while the larger ones may take as long as 10 to 12 months to complete.
“We always tell our customers that we don’t consider the construction of their home to be a race. We will not sacrifice quality for speed. Our goal is to use only highly skilled and dependable subcontractors, even if we have to wait for the better craftsmen to be available.”
Those subcontractors are busy creating unique ceiling designs and impressive moldings, custom furniture-style cabinetry and wood paneling as well as installing granite countertops, stone fireplaces and antique timber trusses.
Van Alan Homes focuses on making the building experience a pleasant one for its customers. “We have spent a lot of time trying to take the anxiety out of building. We try to streamline our processes, while making sure the house stays completely custom with as many personal touches as the homeowner wants,” Plaisance said.
He noted that some customers find the whole building process challenging, while the selection process is overwhelming to others because they don’t want to make a mistake or choose something they will later regret.
“With the addition of my wife Jalyn to our management team in 2013, we are now able to refocus on our customers, which allows us to achieve higher customer satisfaction. Jalyn spends a lot of time with our customers throughout the selection process.
“We always tell our customers that they may not enjoy the building process, but they will love their home in the end.”
The end of the building process is special to both Alan and Jalyn Plaisance. “My wife and I both thoroughly enjoy watching families build their dream homes, regardless of how big or small they are. There is something special about helping with their ideas and seeing their reaction when those ideas come to life.
“For most people this will be the home they will either retire in or raise their family in, and it is a good feeling to have a small part in that lasting memories will be made in a home built by Van Alan Homes.”
Alan got his introduction to building as a teenager when his family owned several rental properties. “We were always fixing things, remodeling, changing light fixtures, installing floors, painting, etc. We never hired anyone to do anything back then; we did it all ourselves. This helped me gain a broad construction knowledge.
“In high school I loved to remodel and paint. For birthdays and Christmas I would ask for tools as my presents. I remember my parents asking me what I wanted as my high school graduation gift. I responded that I wanted a Craftsman circular saw. And that’s what I got! And I still have that saw today!”
Plaisance worked for a marine contractor when he was a student at Nicholls State University. He often worked as a carpenter’s helper, remodeling and repairing offshore living quarters.
Although he always wanted to be a builder, Plaisance first worked for 14 years for an international drilling company after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business with a major in marketing. During those years as a purchasing supervisor, Alan gained formal training in marine construction projects, budgets, accounting and vendor management, areas that would serve him well as a builder.
Plaisance started Van Alan Homes in 2006. He said one of the most important of his duties as a business owner is to ensure that additional projects are always in the pipeline. “We get most of our business from word of mouth from previous customers, so it is very important for our team to put out a great product.”
Jalyn Plaisance, as director of operations, helps with that product. “She monitors the job supervisors and reports on their progress. She also fills the role of office manager and keeps the office running smoothly and efficiently,” Alan noted.
The Plaisances’ three children are also active in the business. “By the end of most projects, our homeowners grow to know our children well, and that is probably the neatest part of our family-owned-and-operated business.”
Their 16-year-old son Carson often works at job sites, cleaning up work areas, including pressure washing. Their 18-year-old daughter Alyssa, who is in her first year at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, often runs errands, picks up and delivers paperwork and makes copies or does filing. Their 9-year-old son Cohen likes to keep the office tidy by shredding sensitive documents and vacuuming the stairwell. “You will often find him in our office after school entertaining whoever walks through the door. In our industry that is a very important role,” Plaisance added.
And in their leisure time? “Our kids are very involved with sports, so we spend many weekends at the ball park. Jalyn and I also like to tour old plantation homes throughout the South.”