Darren Millard of Millard Installations
“When I started the business, I said yes to everything. These days it’s a bit different!”
Meet Darren Millard, a builder 20 years in the making who takes tremendous pride in his work and likes to inject a little personality into his construction.
“I enjoy recommending something a bit different to my customers. On a rear extension last year, I suggested that we install pocket doors between the two parts of the house. The owners went for it, and we used 2.4 m doors that slide into the wall when they want to close off that area and glide effortlessly out to open up the whole rear of the house to the garden. They love it and that makes me really happy.”
Twenty years ago, Darren was installing double glazing, but grew up doing DIY with his dad and had done a lot of work on his own house plus odd jobs for people here and there. The company he worked for started suggesting he do more complex work and he developed his skills until he was ready to launch his own business.
“I said yes to everything that came my way and learned as I went, taking on specialists when I needed to and always making sure the finished quality was top-notch. That was over eight years ago and now I have a small but talented team and more work than I can say yes to, which is a great position to be in. I love what I do and I’m proud of every job I finish.”
Next week Darren starts two extensions, one of which involves converting a conservatory, so it’s better integrated into the rest of the house. The other one is a 4x4m extension with bifold doors, a roof lantern and underfloor heating.
“This is the kind of job we do regularly, but I always like to suggest ways in which it could be a little different, such as some unusual lighting or flooring. It’s down to the owner whether they like my ideas or choose something else, but I enjoy the collaboration.”
Darren was the builder on this CARL Architect-designed extension and remodel of a Victorian terraced house in Southsea. He said: “I really enjoyed working on this project. It came to me through a recommendation after the owners had received a couple of very expensive quotes based on it being a difficult job, but it really wasn’t. There were a couple of awkward steels to install but that was all, and the owner had a good vision of how she wanted it to look and was a pleasure to work with.”
Darren’s other passions are his three kids, two boys aged 12 and 14 and a daughter aged four. “At the moment she’s a bit of a daddy’s girl,” he said, “hanging off my hip when I’m at home.” Given that he started off doing DIY with his own dad, I ask if she might be the one who follows in her father’s footsteps, and he tells me he wouldn’t put it past her!