At Home with Chuck Mills

The president of Chuck Mills Residential Design & Development last spoke to Advantage about working as a one-man-show while designing his clients’ dream abodes. Here, we probe into his motivations, inspirations, and favourite things.

Where did you grow up?
In the Niagara Peninsula, in a small town called Fonthill, Ontario.

University attended?
Mohawk College.

Favourite class in university?
Is the “pub” considered a subject? [Laughs.] Honestly, it would have been architectural drafting, as there was something about taking a blank sheet of vellum paper and designing/drawing something that was cool. I still love it after more than 35 years!

What was your first job?
I drove a truck at a golf course to pick up golfers from the 18th green and take them uphill to the clubhouse.

What was your worst job?
Worked the night shift in a refractory block plant, shovelling concrete-like material into boxes on a conveyor. Ugh!

What did you spend your first paycheck on?
I’m sure it was records. Yes, the old vinyl kind.

Name one company/organization you admire:
Habitat for Humanity.

Biggest pet peeve?

Best advice you ever received (and from whom)?
“Never go through a day without learning something.” I think it was my mother who told me.

Favourite day of the workweek (and why)?
Friday. I can relax at day’s end, make some homemade pizza, and have a cold beer (or two).

Proudest professional achievement?
Starting and running my own successful architectural design firm for the last 20-plus years.

Proudest personal achievement?
My family. Amazing wife (Cheryl), awesome kids (Kristy and Erik), and incredible grandkids (Isabella, Luke, and Jackson).

Describe yourself in three words:
Creative, dedicated, honest.

Blog or website that you follow religiously?
Houzz. It’s kind of like crack for designers.

What’s better: Facebook or Twitter?
Not a huge user of either, but I’d have to say Facebook, for keeping in touch with some old school friends.

How long is your commute?
Ten seconds—to my home office.

Favourite sports team?
The Ottawa Senators and the Boston Red Sox.

Favourite movie?
The Italian Job.

Favourite book?
The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Favourite TV show?
The Blacklist.

Favourite band and/or album?
Kenny Chesney; Crime of the Century, by Supertramp.

If you weren’t in your current profession, what profession would you be in (or like to be in)?
MLB baseball player or fighter pilot.

Your idea of a relaxing weekend?
Chilling on the beach at the cottage.

Favourite place you’ve travelled to?

What’s your personal motto?
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Would your childhood self be surprised at how you’ve turned out?
Probably not. I used to doodle and draw stuff on my notebooks all the time. I’m sure all my teachers would attest to that.