The article , by Louis Bockner, reads as follows:
“For many people the divide between work and life is at the forefront of existence. They work so they may pursue their passions outside of their job and the system in which we live supports this kind of thinking. It is a risk to do what you love because, sadly, it isn’t the norm. But the rewards of living and breathing your passion are undeniable and Lars Chose, 69, and Rachel Ross, 52 — co-owners of Mandala Custom Homes (MCH) — are undeniable examples of this.
Founded in 2000, Nelson-based MCH constructs prefabricated homes known for pushing the conventional limits of housing construction in two major ways. The first is that, like their namesake, the homes are round. At a base level this unique element adds an unfamiliar yet comforting feeling to the interior of the home, a feeling born from its mimicry of nature’s inherent curvature.
The second is their unprecedented energy efficiency. Chose and Ross’s own home — which doubles as their show home — was the first Energy Star-rated home in B.C. and uses a disbelief-inducing half a cord of firewood to heat every winter. Both these elements and the meanings behind them were at the centre of our conversation as we sat discussing business, passion and the seamlessness of the two for this power couple.”
Regarding the lifestyle of a home builder:
“Lars and I live and breathe this talk,” said Ross, who acts as the company’s vice-president and marketing manager. “It’s our pillow talk, it’s our lunchtime conversation, it’s what we talk about all the time because it’s fun and fascinating for both of us.”
“The whole process fills me with joy,” responded Chose, who is the founder, president and sales manager. “I’m going to get up every morning and do something, so I decided awhile ago that I’m just going to be joyful about it. We just make this our life and it gets reflected in everything we do.”
This dedication to a job infused with play (or perhaps it’s play infused with a job) showcases the Buddhist inspiration of both the company’s name and mission. Mandala in Sanskrit represents “the interdependence of all things,” said Chose. “The unbroken circle. There is no separation, so why separate these different aspects of our lives?”
The interweaving of philosophy, design, belief and business has led to a flourishing company that has won numerous awards including being named one of the top five places to work in B.C. out of 500 nominated companies. This award in particular means a lot to both Ross and Chose because they consider their workers to be closer to family than employees.
“Whenever we make a decision in our company we are holding equal value for the impact on the planet, on the people, including our employees, and the sustainability of the business,” said Ross. “With work, we want people in this world to be doing what’s meaningful to them.” And again, the duo leads by example.
“We’re interested and we’re curious and we’re learning and we’re playful and we’re optimistic,” Ross said. “The combination of Lars and I works really well. There’s a sense of camaraderie between the two of us.”
For Chose that camaraderie begins on an individual level and emanates outwards.
“If we’re going to change the world, if that’s possible, I think it has to start within ourselves and then radiate from there.”
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