JobSight: Growing All Natural

During his days as a broker, Day met a young man who worked as a contract carver for some of the fabricators in the Yucatan. Day put up some money to buy equipment, and put the younger man to work supervising their joint fabrication operation.

“We started with a couple saws and a lathe under a big piece of canvas supported by bamboo poles,” Day says. “Today, we have a 10,000 ft² factory on four hectares of land, with room to expand.”

200_Bella Dura Macedonia Wainscot Sink Pedestal window surround. paving Uxmal sink  Pool BathClick photo to enlargeToday, the company also has access to the output from four different quarries, which produce Bella Dura’s four different stones: Macedonia; Ostra; Sisal and Uxmal.

“Most of the rural land holdings are owned in common by the peasants,” Day explains. “In some cases they quarry the stone and we buy it from them. In other cases, we quarry the stone ourselves and pay them an extraction royalty.”

He adds that Bella Dura grew and expanded by buying up equipment that’s been abandoned by other quarriers and fabricators of marble and travertine in other areas of Mexico.

“For the most part, we specialize in large, three-dimensional architectural detail, like columns and balustrades and moldings and coping and carved mantel pieces,” Day explains. “We also do paving – mostly as an adjunct to contract jobs – and we fabricate tiles when we have spare time, just to build up inventory. We’re mostly project-oriented, and high-end residential work is our bread-and-butter.”

One additional benefit to the project that Bella Dura offered the Letos (and all its clients): the knowledge of Day’s partner, Mary Kay Davis.200_Bella Dura Uxmal Limestone handcarved sinkClick photo to enlarge 

Davis is the Architectural Creations portion of the operation. Davis, with a Master of Fine Arts degree, offers a range of services, including the scale and placement of architectural elements in both interior and exterior settings.

Because the Letos were interested in expanding their use of the stone well beyond what they had originally envisioned, Davis spent a substantial amount of time working with the couple to help them successfully incorporate the additional stone into their original plans.

Or, as Davis says, “When it came to the architectural detail, that’s where we stepped in.”

SENSE OF PROPORTION

Davis says much of her work centered on providing scale and proportion to what the Letos wanted to do – as well as helping them keep an eye on cost.