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September 01, 2014

Hope at Large – Modern Treehouse

Inner city builder not worried by increased competition

Marty Hope

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To do something right, there has to be a passion.

Regardless the product or project, it’s not that difficult to see when someone is just going through the motions. Cut a corner here, slap a little paint on there, get it done and move along.

For Danelle Kaspers, the passion, love, and commitment she has shows itself in the homes her company, Treehouse Developments, creates for her very discerning client base.

“I am a boutique builder, doing six to 10 homes a year,” she says. “And I love what I do.”

Since 2007, Kaspers has been quietly and subtly enhancing the streetscapes of Calgary’s established neighbourhoods with traditional, contemporary, and modern detached and attached designs that pump new life into the surrounding streetscapes of existing communities on the fringes of Calgary.

Working the close-in communities as she does, the 36-year-old is seeing an increasing number of larger-volume builders turning more attention to the inner-city market, plying their wares in the wake of proposals by City of Calgary administration and elected officials who favour more residential development in existing neighbourhoods.

This, though, has little impact on Treehouse, and the way it does business, which is to provide one-on-one service to individual clients, to help create what they want for their own particular lifestyles.

And the inner-city does have its own lifestyle, one that has attracted clients, both local and from out of town.

“They love the trees, the parks, the existing amenities, the ease of access — the whole inner-city feeling,” says Kaspers, who moved into a Treehouse home in Altadore after being raised in Strathcona.

Her business card says she’s the general manager, but she wears many hats, some of them hard, during the course of a project.

“Today I’m the general manager, tomorrow I might be the controller, then maybe the site supervisor. I do have a construction manager, and sub-contract all the work we do, but I have been known to pitch in on site,” Kaspers says with a shrug.

Before starting Treehouse, Kaspers spent five years as a controller for Coco Homes. But the desire to build homes finally got to her, and she struck out on her own — about the time the economy went south midway through 2007 and just after she purchased her first lot and started construction of the company’s first home.

It was a challenge, to say the least, but the company survived and bought its second lot in 2009.

“Starting out during the rough times was probably a good thing. It gave me a chance to build relationships with my trades, to learn how to operate a business during a downturn, and how to prepare for the turnaround,” she says. “There was nowhere to go but up.”

What didn’t change through all of this was the personal relationship she built up with her clients.

She vividly recalls one client from Ontario who, because of commitments, could not get to Calgary to provide on-site input into the completion of the partially-built home in Killarney they had purchased through a realtor.

Much of the planning, design, and selections was done electronically, but there still had to be a level of trust between them and Kaspers.

But everything turned out for the best and the couple took possession in July of that year.

“I like building homes. I especially like the part where I work with my clients to give them the home they want,” she says.

For more information on Treehouse Developments, visit

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