Building Art

Real Estate

December 6, 2023

Words by: Francesca Roznicki

How one home builder creates art in the form of dream homes

While he didn’t always consider himself to be an artist or a designer, James Chizen has always been interested in creating something magical. After studying electrical engineering nanotechnology/biomedical at the U of A, he worked in the oil and gas industry, finishing that career as vice president at Precision Drilling. He began flipping homes on the side as a passion project, before incorporating his home building business, Chizen & Company, in 2021.

“I’ve just always loved art and design. I think that’s what led me into engineering; being able to create things,” he says, adding that art exists even in programming. “[It] looks beautiful when code is laid out.” 

His passion for art and building led Chizen to a hobby of renovating and flipping houses before incorporating it into his home-building business, Chizen & Company, in 2021.

Chizen says he incorporates art into everything, even in the cooking of dinner and the presentation of it. “I wanted to bring that into the home [building] side of things. When I build a home, I want it to be a one-off. No home will ever be recreated. Each one will be different.”

Recently, Chizen completed a 5,746-square-foot home on prestigious Windermere Drive. The stunning, French-country castle-like residence is currently available for $3.25 million. 

“What do people think of when they think of a dream home?” Chizen wonders aloud. “I broke it down to royalty, luxury, class, and Buckingham Palace. I wanted to build “mini” castles and bring in all those nice, regal designs. That’s kind of how this came to be.” 

The grand estate home is recognizable from a distance, standing out with elegant yet charming details that Chizen thoughtfully incorporated into every design aspect.

Chizen focuses on building art by designing clients’ homes from the outside in. Instead of working with architects from the outset, he brings his sketches and visions to an artist, first, to help him bring the project to life.

“I did the same thing that Walt Disney did when he designed Disneyland,” he explains. “He had artists draw and design the park prior to giving those drawings to an architect. The same concept he came up with 50 years ago is the thought process I had creating these fairy tale homes.”

To expand his portfolio and continue to create designs he loves, Chizen’s future is focused on trying out new projects like tiny homes and multi-family housing, while still maintaining a strong focus on the details required to create unique, one-of-a-kind dream homes. 

“I like to go against the grain,” he says. “Obviously, I’m paying attention to style and design, but breaking the mould: I love that.”

Chizen & Company’s “Enchanted” project can be seen at 183 Windermere Drive, by appointment only. Contact for your private tour.

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