Faces of Shift with Paul Fread of Original Roots

For those of you that don’t know, Shift Corona is our first location. It has laid the groundwork for the magic that is to come. It is an original piece of artwork, concocted from an older piece of office space real estate. Basically, Shift Corona is the O.G.

Some pretty talented people exist within these walls. Paul Fread being one of them. Fread, the Design & Operations Manager of Original Roots, is a true visionary, restoring older homes and creating something special for the homeowners, something unique, something original.

Learn Paul’s story, and how you may be able to use his creative design + build services.

Paul, provide a little background on Original Roots–your vision, your mission, and what makes you unique. 

First of all, everyone at Original Roots is here because we love what we do and we enjoy working with each other and serving our great clients.  Through years of successfully designing and building residential remodeling projects together we have grown to understand each other’s roles and trust each other’s execution of those duties implicitly.  We work on projects ranging from bathrooms and kitchens to major additions and pop-tops – and anything in between.  We focus on Denver’s old character homes and we have an intimate working knowledge of the history and typical challenges that these awesome vintage homes present.  There are common reasons to renovate them: typically the homeowners have a deep respect for the house’s original architecture and a desire to stay in their central Denver neighborhoods, but the homes are in desperate need of the functionality or space that our modern lifestyles demand.  Despite those common goals, each and every one of these vintage homes is unique and presents its own set of quirks.  The fun part is working through those challenges to consistently create beautiful, well-designed, and solidly built finished projects.  It’s really hard work and we love it.

Several things make us unique from other companies in our industry beyond the typical claims of quality, timeliness and ability to stay on budget.  First of all, we are truly a Design+Build firm with professional/degreed Designers under the same roof as our field crew of Carpenters and Project Supervisors.  Secondly, we offer a completely honest and realistic construction cost range after an initial consultation. We do this for a few reasons:  we want our clients to get a realistic sense of costs early on in the process to help guide their decision making and ensure that we are designing – and ultimately, building – something within their means.  We also want to foster an atmosphere where we’re able to do what we say we can from the beginning, leaving folks happy in the end.

How about some background on yourself? How did you get to where you are now?

I studied Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M for 3-1/2 years and during that time I worked as a co-op student where I would study for a semester and work for a semester at a large engineering firm.  I was miserable during the working part.  At the time I thought it was the engineering trade, but in hindsight, I’ve realized that it was the size of the corporation.  I was just a cog in the wheel, hence the importance to me to maintain a small company format now:  I will always be integrally involved in all of our projects.  In 1999 I left Texas A&M to hike the Appalachian Trail, which I enjoyed immensely and completed after 5 months.  I then moved in with my sister here in Denver and began framing houses in Parker.  I loved the work at the time, but couldn’t see doing that for the rest of my life, so I went to school for Architecture at CU Boulder and graduated first in my class.  I then worked for a couple of Architecture and Design/Build firms in central Denver and have since partnered up with Matt Wood, the best of many Project Supervisors that I’ve worked with and he and I have pulled together the best team possible from our past experiences to form Original Roots.

I’m sure you looked at a lot of different Coworking & Office Spaces before committing to Shift. How did you decide on our space to be the homebase for your creative company?

I toured all of the other co-working spaces in Denver and the Corona location had the cool neighborhood vibe that we were looking for with professional conference rooms to hold design meetings in and a public space that was perfect for our clients.  We literally wanted to be IN one of the neighborhoods that we work in to bring us closer to our clients as well.

It’s inspiring to be around other people in the Shift community who care about what they do, are super creative and even help figure out a company’s name during a Shift Christmas party event!  We also hosted an Open House recently in the Kitchen/Conference Room area at Shift which was really successful.  And I tend to shrug off “amenities” in the description of a place, but you guys take it seriously and it’s awesome; hiring really cool supportive people and providing all kinds of treats, snacks, benefits and events throughout each week.

What about your job inspires you? 

Doing things well all the way through the process, from realistically setting up homeowners’ expectations in a first meeting at their house to designing their project until it’s just right (those breakthroughs seem to always happen in the wee hours of the morning!), and from honest estimating and scheduling upfront to walking through a beautiful completed project, I love it.  I’m a perfectionist, and I love having a process where everyone knows their role.  It is really rewarding to be part of.

Our clients are all super motivating to work with.  They are hard-working, professional, really successful folks that have reached levels that I can only strive for.  I have a ton of respect for them.

Any big trips or vacations coming up?

No big trips planned, I just try to keep up with daily rewarding things like:  being an awesome dad and husband, healthy eating, running, lifting weights, swimming, biking, doing triathlons, running marathons, rock climbing, fishing, hunting, the usual stuff.

Learn more about Original Roots or contact the team here.

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