Meet The Face Behind Atlantic Home Designs Ltd.

Author: Atlantic Home Designs Ltd | | Categories: Architectural Designs , Home Planning , Home Renovation

Blog by Atlantic Home Designs Ltd

I’m John Hattie, the proud owner of Atlantic Home Designs Ltd.

I look forward to sharing my story. I hope that you will enjoy getting to know me better.

During the small Canadian recession that took place thirty-nine years ago, I lost my job in the residential industry. With a wife and three babies at home to support, I grew desperate.

It made me sit back and weigh my potential options. I felt that I should try to build on my five and a half years of experience in designing basic prefab house systems.

That’s when I realized that there were no non-architects that truly utilized the land, sun, and view planes to build custom-designed homes.

I wanted to take advantage of the large gap that existed between draftspeople and architects. So I took a leap of faith and jumped feet first into a new industry by starting a custom home design and renovation/addition design business in Nova Scotia.

In my first year of business, I participated in a home show, marketing my alternative design concept of a “custom home designer” vs. the services of a draftsperson or an architect. The market immediately exploded, and I went from carrying out fifteen projects to eighty-five projects a year. Ever since then, I have gained a reputation as the local designer of choice, which has enabled me to scale up.

After fifteen years of handling, on average, ninety-five to a hundred and twenty-five jobs a year, I had the most successful year of my life, completing a hundred and fifty-two projects. However, the extra demand nearly killed me.

The situation made me smarter, and with the help of the recession and a desire to cut back staff, expenses, and headaches, I have balanced out doing between sixty and eighty projects a year. It’s allowed me to maintain a bit more of a personal life.

It doesn’t mean that I’m not as busy as I used to be, as some of the homes have become larger or more complex and need more attention to detail. For this reason, I spend time getting to know my clients well.

Working with clients’ is a blast, and once we complete the site inspection, I focus on designing differently than other designers.

It includes conducting a design marathon session where I sketch in a scaled format right in front of my clients. I’m a little old-fashioned and draw pretty pictures that showcase their home in relation to their land in different concepts.

It’s fantastic as they get to see the concept take shape, and I know I’m on point when the design leads to happy grins and a twinkle in their eyes.

It isn’t necessarily the project’s complexity that matters, but it’s creating what is essential to my clients’ dream project, and nothing is more fun than making their castles come to life.

I always strive to offer value for money, and I believe what sets me apart from the others is my quality which has led to my firm scooping seventeen design awards.

In regards to design, I resolve lifestyle issues by making the outcomes meet the homeowner’s needs and requirements.

Drafting has also made me successful as I render architectural drawings that overcome significant pain points of the construction industry. These energy-efficient designs enhance the livability of homeowners and have created repeat business and referrals, which is rewarding.

It also makes me proud to look back at past projects and see the growth in my work or drive down the road and point out one of my designs to my wife.

However, the most rewarding aspect of running my business is when clients get excited to show me their completed projects.

Due to location issues, it may be a couple of years before I visit them, but they are still eagerly waiting to demonstrate how the house wraps around them.

I recently had a client stop me at Costco and said, “John, it has been twenty-eight years that we have lived in our renovated house design, and there is still nothing we want to change. Our friends still get blown away when they enter our house.” These compliments fill me with immense satisfaction and it tells me that I did listen to my clients and what was important to them.

When I’m not building custom home designs, I love woodworking, gardening, motorcycling and traveling to explore new places.

I also like to give back to my profession. Twenty-six years ago, I was the founding president of the Nova Scotia Home and Building Designers Association. My wish is for other designers to use educational tools and training sessions to become better.

This industry is changing fast and becoming more technical, so I encourage more knowledge through education, education, and more education.

I have enjoyed sharing my story about the things that matter to me and how they influence my business.

If you or someone you know could benefit from my expertise as the owner of a custom home design, renovation company in Timberlea, Nova Scotia, I invite you to get in touch. Please visit my website at