Ilona Lindauer recently commemorated the 25th anniversary of her Los Altos business by taking her staff and their families on a three-day cruise to Ensenada.
The cruise was a fitting celebration for an enterprise that has been a labor of love for the owner since its beginning.
“Girls just wanna have fun,” Lindauer said. “I just wanted to have fun.”
Lindauer may have launched IKB Design & Construction for fun, but it has since become an eight-person company that creates homes from start to finish, including design, construction and decoration. The Main Street-based team includes Lindauer, who serves as president, three designers, two builders and two office support workers.
The Los Altos resident has never wanted her company to grow too large – she likes to have a few jobs going at once but not so many that she loses track of the details, or that she can’t be there for each client.
“Construction is a funny thing, where if you’re the slightest bit lax in the slightest way, it will come back to get you,” she said.
That attention to detail has served IKB well – the company has won the client satisfaction award from Houzz for the past two years. Lindauer’s model works by giving customers a fixed-price bid, which stops them from requesting a lot of last-minute changes to the plans and the budget. Only if they discover a problem like termites, an item is out of stock or the homeowner decides to incorporate an additional element will the price change between the design phase and the end of the project.
Managing to keep the business small while meeting demand means Lindauer has started to schedule projects further in advance. She doesn’t want to take on too much at any time so that she can give each project her full attention. Still, the company is “crazy busy.”
IKB’s projects vary in size; in a given year, staff will work on 10-20 homes.
Lindauer has learned that organization is the most important part of her job, because she’s juggling multiple projects, employees and clients.
As for the next 25 years, Lindauer said eventually she’ll need to move on and enter a new phase in her life.
“We’ll all be sipping a mai tai in Maui in 25 years,” said Laura Benner, IKB’s administrator.
However, that day is not today. The team is back to work following their celebratory vacation.
IKB is located at 346 Main St. For more information, visit ikbinc.com.