With a client-centered business built from passion, Dan and Patricia Hilton have been masters of their trade for more than four decades.
How and when did Hilton Builders begin?
The company literally began by two people following their passion. I had planned to enter law school after graduation from UCLA. Dan went into the lumber business. But our passion was building and design, which we always did for ourselves. We couldn’t buy a house without remodeling it. One day a friend asked us to build for them and we replied we could not legally build for someone else because we didn’t have a license. We had always been owner-builder. She said, ‘So go get one!’ So we did, and that is how we became professional builders. That was 42 years ago!
What makes the business distinct from its competitors?
We love what we do. We are innovators. We can take clients into homes that we built 25 years ago and see things that our competitors are just now doing. We have always kept abreast of all the latest technologies and new materials. Our employees. We trained our own in-house carpenters to be the most highly skilled in the industry. They have over 100 years of combined experience with our company and take great pride in their work. Our subcontractors. Our subs are the best in the industry for quality and competitive pricing and are always willing to go above and beyond for our clients. Some have worked with us for as long as 30 years. Meticulous record-keeping and open-book project accounting. When we started building for other people I asked myself, ‘How would I want to be treated if I were at the mercy of a builder?’ Hence the complete open book system. Total perfectionism and unsurpassed attention to detail. Service above and beyond—before, during and after construction. Our clients are amazed that we truly are available for them 24-7. For example, a client’s new oven continued to stop functioning and the manufacturer refused to replace it. The client’s were having an important party and were afraid that the oven would stop working again. So we bought a brand new oven, got it installed before the party and then took on the fight with the manufacturer.
What makes you passionate about the industry?
We find it absolutely thrilling to create something new, different and beautiful for every client and every project. One of the things we enjoy the most is becoming part of our clients’ lives and being able to enjoy their homes after construction, as we are invited to so many of their parties. I must say it is wonderful to hear the accolades first-hand from the friends, neighbors, and relatives. What’s not to love!
How would you describe your style and the core of your design philosophy?
We don’t have a style per se. It’s all about the clients’ style, tastes, and wishes. We have built and done the interior design for just about every style home imaginable including Contemporary, Mid-century Modern, Tuscan, Mediterranean, Asian, Cape Cod, Dutch Colonial, Caribbean and Industrial, to name a few. Some clients prefer symmetry over asymmetry, warm colors over cool colors, monochromatic over dramatic. The evolution and mélange of all styles is exciting. We love coming up with new variations on old themes. We want every nook and cranny of the entire house to be spectacular. There are no secondary spaces as far as we are concerned.
What are your main sources of inspiration?
Architecture and design from around the world. For example, in France we were fascinated by some beautiful stone buildings with old wood doors that needed to be replaced. Rather than putting on new wood doors, large glass doors were used instead. The first opportunity we had to use this application came when we were remodeling a Tuscan-style home on Linda Isle. I suggested a glass door imbedded into the stone. They trusted us and the result was spectacular. We were the very first company in Newport Beach to do this.
What is your ultimate goal with every client?
We want all clients to be ecstatic with their home and look back at the process and say, ‘It was fun, and the results went beyond our highest expectations.’
425 31st Street, Newport Beach, CA 92663 ~ 949.673.4128 | HiltonBuilders.com
Photos courtesy of Tony Florez