Our passion is building condominium projects whose style and quality add even more charm to already lively urban communities in Ottawa. We believe that we have mastered the art of urban infill; after all, it’s been our speciality for over 35 years.
As Domicile co-founder and president John Doran says, “Building on an urban infill is much trickier than building in the suburbs. The approvals, the planning, the design—everything is turned up a notch. I think that’s why I’m still having fun after all this time.”
We’ve mastered another art as well: forging strong relationships—with our staff, with our partners, with the communities we build in and, of course, with our clients. We have a reputation for keeping our word, for living up to our responsibilities and for delivering quality not just in what we design, but also in how we deal with people.
And certainly, the success we’ve had comes largely from the skill of our people whom we rely on day in and day out to make sure we keep doing things right. On the strength of their expertise, for the past 35 years, we’ve been able to offer something unique to home buyers who want to revel in urban life.
Ideals and values that go back more than 120 years: Our history
The family of John Doran, Domicile’s current president, has practised the craft of building since 1892. William Doran, John’s grandfather, had worked in Seattle for awhile before moving back to Ottawa and starting his own highly regarded construction business.
For all William Doran’s mastery in construction and design—he helped build the East Block on Parliament Hill and Ottawa’s intriguing Daley Building (no longer there today)—his eye for choosing the right associates wasn’t as keen as his eye for striking architecture. Not only did Doran’s partner and company manager allow the company bookkeeper to raid the till at will for lack of supervision, but he also wiped out the firm’s bank accounts by writing one cheque after another to himself for what would prove to be illegal ventures. So after many years of proud labour, William Doran ended up virtually penniless and saddled with a huge debt left behind by the men who betrayed his trust.
Then, older son Hugh joined his father, and Doran Const. Co. Ltd. was incorporated in 1921. Younger son Burke would partner with his brother in 1929. From the outset and until his passing in 1925, William Doran stressed that they must pay back every cent the company owed. They took 10 years to do so, but they did it.
From both the successes and the trials of those very early years, Domicile has drawn lessons that shape its values and fuel its success today: build top quality, choose your people wisely and don’t walk away from your obligations.
With a dual passion for old, historic buildings and for the development process (finding and acquiring the right properties and bringing them to life), John Doran and partner Joe Dinis launched Domicile under its current name in 1976.
To excel at renovating and restoring older homes in the city, the pair had to assemble a team of construction professionals who had the same passion for the art of building as John’s grandfather. As the company blossomed, it began to design and build its own projects, most of which were high end and brimming with detail. Ultimately, Domicile evolved into Ottawa’s top “infill” specialist, a company known for its ability to fill open spaces in established neighbourhoods with both elegance and sensitivity.
At the same time, though, Domicile ventured into affordable and non-profit housing, a valuable experience that taught it how to preserve style and quality despite the constraint of smaller budgets and how to instill a community-oriented focus in each of its projects. Among its biggest achievements in this area is Thorncliffe Village, for which it partnered with City Living, a public agency mandated to provide rental housing to Ottawa residents who can’t afford to buy a home in the marketplace
Today, Domicile continues to scout out and reinvigorate diamonds in the rough in Ottawa’s downtown area, constantly improving its standards in energy efficiency while adding architectural flair to each new project. Its workmanship, its after-sales service and its keenness on giving back to Ottawa and its citizens have brought the recognition of customers and community organizations alike.
William Doran would be proud to see that, despite its tremendous growth and progress, Domicile is still driven by the quality and integrity that were his own hallmark.
- In 2012, Domicile received the Smoke-Free Champion Award by Ottawa Public Health for making our One3One condominium entirely smoke-free.
- In 2011, Tarion named Domicile “Ontario’s High-Rise Builder of the Year” based on the results of customers surveys sent to 48,000 Ontario home buyers. Domicile was the only Ottawa builder nominated in this category.
- In 2010 the Ottawa Council for the Arts recognized Domicile for its ongoing contributions to the arts. The company is also a proud supporter of Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Company.
- In 2010 by deciding to make all of its new condominium projects entirely smoke-free.