Since he was 5 years old, Scott Harris wanted to build things. He spent his childhood inventing contraptions and experimenting with possibilities, and then went on to work alongside some of the world’s most influential designers. Now deemed one of L.A.’s go-to experts for building construction, Harris has accomplished that and more. Currently the general contractor of Ed Begley Jr.’s LEED Platinum Certified Home and co-founder of Building Construction Group with William Hefner, Harris has been in charge of many multi-million dollar residential and commercial projects. He prides himself on not only his ability to build in an inventive and artistic way, but also by helping his clients save money on projects in smart ways.
His vision stretches far beyond simple construction, though. Harris says, “Our goals extend well beyond building the next estate. They project toward building relationships and a respectable, honorable future and environment for our family’s generations to come.”
With that kind of care and attention, it’s no wonder Harris has been so acclaimed in L.A. and beyond. Having made appearances on the Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family Show, Lifestyle Magazine TV, Studio 11, Fox News, and Adam Carolla to name a few, Harris has shared his dream with many across the country. His passion for helping his community is so great, in fact, that he serves as President on the Green Wish Foundation’s board of directors, an organization that supports “green” groups. Harris is all about sustainability and innovation, and his work shows this in more ways than one. “I want to change the course of construction to give people healthier homes and lives,” he says, and we think he is well on his way.
In line with his belief of a healthy, happy lifestyle, Harris has also taken up a passion for cooking. What started first as a hobby has turned into a lifestyle. Here, we chat with Harris about his construction secrets, his passion for creating, and in the spirit of the holidays, his favorite holiday recipe.
I see building as an art form and the materials and lumber as the medium.
Cliché: Did you always have a passion for building/home construction?
Scott Harris: As far back as I recall, I felt this innate calling to perfect the art form of building and creating what I believe are sanctuaries for families. I find it grounding to get in touch with our primitive programming, creating spaces to protect ourselves and connect ourselves with our environment in healing ways. And, for the same reason an artist craves picking up a brush and illuminates when they see a fresh canvas, I also have this deep calling to pick up a tool to create, build, and construct. I see building as an art form and the materials and lumber as the medium.
Can you tell us a little more about your Building Construction Group?
Building Construction Group is unique in the sense that we cater to those “who know what they want, but don’t know how to get there.” We listen to our clients on a deeper level and draw out what it is that they may have dreamed of as a child, but don’t know how to articulate it. We then help them balance out their imagination with the latest technological, environmental and safety advancements, and create sanctuaries that touch a spot so deep in our clients’ lives that with every turnover, they toast a glass to us, smile, and then suddenly cry and say, “You made my dreams come true.”
What has been your favorite building/home to construct, and what made it so special?
The Kevin James Estate. What made it so special was that they were not looking for opulence as much as they were looking for someone to connect with that could draw out the visions from their world travels, understand them, and build not just a home, but a haven. From the white dove prayer room to the copper kitchen, every piece was created to evoke a family memory. Even the bricks we used were brought in from Boston to remind them of their time there while filming their favorite movies, and a wall of illuminated clouds was created with doves to remind them of the peaceful times in their lives.
We read that you are the President of the Green Wish Foundation’s board of directors. Can you tell us a little about your duties? How does your company support other green groups?
While our company and I give openly to our clients through building with the goal of bettering and healing lives, it’s a more contained group. Since taking on the awe-inspiring responsibility as the President of the Board of Directors, I’m proud to say we have created some of the largest outreach programs in the history of Green Wish, actively helping to support the Los Angeles River being restored, community food harvesting to help feed the less fortunate, and training programs to teach youths to farm and sell their organic produce they create. We, Building Construction Group, also actively do speaking engagements throughout L.A. to help teach the community what we learned building the Greenest home in America for Ed and Rachelle Begley so we can pass down the knowledge we learned to homeowners and other builders.
Do you have any construction secrets you can share with us about how you turn a home into a sanctuary?
Yes! We incorporate sacred proportions into our work dating back as far as the creation of the pyramids. Your sense of peace and level of enjoyment in your home is greatly impacted by your brain’s ability to analyze proportions, reputations, and extensive formulas in a fraction of a second. If you’ve ever glanced over your shoulder and judged your attraction for a potential mate, you are a mathematical genius! Your brain was doing extensive calculations and if their eye was off center by ⅛”, their mouth was out of level by ¼”, and the proportions of their face was not within the ratio of 1:1.618, you probably moved on and didn’t even know that you were doing math in your head well beyond college algebra. Similarly, when you walk into a home, you’re also unconsciously doing the same. If a line or wall is off by ¼” of a sacred proportion, it is enough to make you sleep well or want to move on. There are some other secrets as well…but we can’t give them all away!
Building Construction Group is unique in the sense that we cater to those ‘who know what they want, but don’t know how to get there.’
What was it like building the Greenest Home in America for Ed Begley Jr.?
I was so honored that Ed and Rachelle Begley selected the architect William Hefner and Building Construction Group as the builder to help them build a nearly self-sustaining home that was not only beautiful and not in the George Jetson way, but in the classic, nostalgic way. We found that home construction had not really evolved since the late 1920s and it would take an activist like him and company like ours to help forever change the course of what the industry became complacent with. For decades, homes were not built with much more than the same materials beavers use to make their homes, sticks and stones glued together with forms of mud (plaster). Every material was questioned, examined, and rethought to not only be beautiful, but to go toward making the home self-sustaining. It’s a glance into the future on how we will all be ideally living!
Let’s talk about the holidays! Besides your delicious Smoked Pumpkin Soup recipe (see opposite page), do you have any other holiday-related dishes or traditions you like to cook for your family for the holidays?
Cooking is as primitive in our programming as building, which is why I’m addicted to both. Besides our new holiday favorite, Smoked Pumpkin Soup, my family and I LOVE making a savory, fatty, crispy Porchetta. The local butchers all know me and so they set aside the full pork belly this time of year with my name on it. I like to dry age and salt it for several days at home, and then marry it to a rosemary, garlic, lemon zest spread…roll and tie, drizzle olive oil on top, sprinkle with brown sugar and cayenne it and slowly roast. Slice and serve with its own gravy and it’s literally a slice of the most amazing bacon roast with a crispy skin you’ve ever had!
For more on Scott Harris, visit his website buildingcgroup.com and follow him on Instagram @scott_harris_building and on Facebook
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