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Renovator profile

g n i k a M k r a M r e H By Frank O’Brien

Shannon Lenstra, president of multiple award-winning Kon-Strux Developments, is a renovation and innovation leader in Calgary

This kitchen makeover resulted in a 2017 national SAM award for best kitchen renovation under $200,000.

Fighting “tailgaters”

In ten years Shannon Lenstra of Calgary

The 2014 downturn—when oil prices cra-

“started from scratch” to build Kon-Strux

tered—tested the mettle of company owners

Ironically, the motorbike-riding mother of

Developments Inc. into one of the top reno-

throughout Alberta. Kon-Strux was no excep-

two credits her encounter with a bad contrac-

vation firms in the city.

tion. Backed by a sterling reputation for straight

tor for helping her start Kon-Strux, and, per-

Kon-Strux has won a wall of awards,

dealing, a willingness to take on a multitude of

haps, for its subsequent success.

including national renovation honours this

projects—including custom-home building—

In what she calls her “past life” as an interior

year from the Canadian Home Builders’ Asso-

and diversification into a unique new field,

designer, Lenstra worked with a number of

ciation (CHBA) for Canada’s best kitchen reno-

have kept all but one of Lenstra’s full-time staff

contractors as a project manager.

vation under $200,000, and for a whole house

of 14 working.

renovation.

“One particular fellow showed me what not

She also kept most of her 75 separate sub-

to do,” she said. “I did not want to be that type

But, like any successful Calgary entrepre-

contractors busy. Kon-Strux relies on “a core

of person. I wanted to be ethical, to be above

neur these days, Lenstra and her team have

group” of contractors and designers that reflect

board. To be proud of my work.”

no time or inclination to rest on their laurels.

the work ethic and the standards of her com-

Being a woman in a male-dominated indus-

pany, she said.

That was the underlying theme as she realized that being a renovation contractor would

try means you often have to work harder and

When asked about leading trends in the

also give her the freedom and flexibility to

smarter to prove yourself, Lenstra said, but

renovation industry, Lenstra suggested that

work from home, to raise a family, and to offer

she also insists that gender should be neither

the trends are “whatever the client wants,”

a career with some variety.

a barrier nor an advantage.

though she notes these wants often mirror the

On March 1, 2007 she started Kon-Strux.

“I hire the best person for job. Just as I would

contemporary styles seen on TV renovation

Perhaps it was that brush with an unethi-

not like to be judged by my gender, I don’t judge

shows and in home design magazines. “White

cal, fly-by-night contractor that deepened

others by their gender.”

is big this year,” she said.

Lenstra’s resolve to battle the underground 415

12 Home BUILDER Winter 2017

Winter 2017 | HomeBuilder Magazine Canada  

RENOVATORS SPEAK - Six contractors share their view from the front line of the renovation industry | PERSON OF THE YEAR - Canada’s home buil...

Winter 2017 | HomeBuilder Magazine Canada  

RENOVATORS SPEAK - Six contractors share their view from the front line of the renovation industry | PERSON OF THE YEAR - Canada’s home buil...