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HAVEN:
Q+A WITH VICTOR MEZHVINSKY OF FORMA CONSTRUCTION
12 November 2020
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In our first conversation we introduce you to builder Victor Mezhvinsky, a gentleman who approaches his work and our industry with integrity, commitment and excellence.



Tell us the story behind you becoming a builder.

In 2006, I was working an office job in manufacturing reminiscent of the movie Office Space. One day I had an epiphany. I looked over at my neighbor who was eating lunch at his desk and noticed he was on ESPN again, so I asked, “who cares about sports this much?” In response, he looked at me and said, “Well, why do you spend all that time reading about real estate?” Without even realizing it, every day, I was on my computer at lunch reading Socket Site or Planning Commission meeting notes about the next development. A light bulb went off for me and I started exploring the idea of quitting manufacturing and getting into real estate. Transitioning to a new industry in which I had no previous experience was tougher than I thought it would be. Serendipitously, around the same time, I met a new friend at a bar who worked for a high-end building company in Marin. Soon after, we decided to strike out on our own together!

I called my parents and told them I had met a guy at a bar, that we wanted to buy a home, tear it down, and build a new one. As most parents would have been, they were concerned. Thankfully, getting a loan at the time was pretty easy with banks like Washington Mutual giving out NINJA loans. Even though building this project during the Great Recession took its toll mentally, we pushed on and ultimately sold the home at a record price.

Friends saw the finished project photos and asked if we would remodel their own homes. We jumped at the chance and started contracting for clients from that point forward. As the company grew, my partner and I had creative differences and split in 2014. Today at FORMA, we are approaching 35 strong and firmly focused on architecturally, design-driven work for our clients.


How do you love spending your time outside of work? What’s important about that to you?

I often joke that I’m on Instagram looking at other people’s work when I’m not working. Outside of that, I’m fortunate to have an amazing family with two young boys. We spend time in Tahoe skiing or biking around the Marina. During COVID I got into mountain biking and often head up to Marin to get my shred on.

In your business, how do you stay inspired?

This is the easiest part of my job. Every day, I’m humbled by the collaborative talent this profession offers and the fantastic clients that give us a canvas to create these homes. Our team especially loves facing new and challenging design needs that require us to work with one another to figure out how to create something that hasn’t been done before.

Our team especially loves facing new and challenging design needs that require us to work with one another to figure out how to create something that hasn’t been done before.


What are some daily habits/rituals that keep you in excellence in your field?

There are a few habits and rituals that keep me focused on continual improvement for myself and the company. For one, I am deeply dedicated to understanding all of the amazing talents in the Bay Area. I am also committed to building relationships with the many talented professionals. I believe this industry is quite iterative, as we’re all taking the best parts of each other’s work and trying to make it our own. I’m also fortunate to work with some fantastic coaches and mentors from whom I’m always learning. Ultimately, what keeps us in excellence is an open mind and an open heart to listen and learn from all project collaborators and industry professionals.

Ultimately, what keeps us in excellence is an open mind and an open heart to listen and learn from all project collaborators and industry professionals.


What do you love most about the city you live in?

I love the diversity and dynamism San Francisco offers.

Favorite Restaurant?

Liholiho

Favorite coffee joint?

Blue Bottle

Favorite museum?

MoMA

Favorite outdoor activity?

Snowboarding

Favorite place that no one knows about, until now?

This little beach on the jetty past St. Francis Yacht Club in the Marina.

What is a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

I have a serious remote-control car addiction!

 


Q+A