While hard at work constructing an addition to a Fittons Road home, two Orillia brothers are finding time to build some holiday fun into their lives -— and the lives of others.
Caleb and Josiah Warren own a contracting and real-estate holding company called Safe Haven Group. They went into business together about two years ago.
"We did this because we wanted to be closer," Caleb explained. "We sold our place in Durham just before the real estate market fell during COVID and moved our whole family up here to Orillia so our kids could grow up together."
The Warrens, who grew up in Peterborough and have been working in construction since they were 11 and 13 respectively, say it doesn't feel like they are working when they are on the job together.
"Every single day is so rewarding and fulfilling," Josiah said. "We are doing what we love while jawing each other off all day. It's brilliant."
Josiah, 37, has a more structural and design skill base while Caleb, 39, has a background in working with heavy equipment. They both complement each other on the job site.
Currently, they are working on adding two units to Josiah's property on Fittons, directly across from Jamieson Drive. They will be renting the units out once they are completed.
"We want to be leveraging our skills to become financially independent and this is one way to do that," Josiah explained. "We like the idea of having a quality property for somebody to live on because housing is a big issue."
Once the Warrens have completed the Fittons project, they will build similar housing units on Caleb's property on Concession 12 in Ramara.
"We will provide really good quality housing for people who need somewhere to live and can't under any circumstances afford to buy a home," Josiah explained. "We are designing and building stuff that is top shelf so that people will be proud to call it home even though it's a rental with landlords who actually care about them."
While working on their current project, the Warrens can be seen wearing Santa Claus hats and jamming — often loudly — to Christmas music.
"We both love Christmas," Caleb explained. "We are right next to a school, parents are coming and going with their kids, so we thought let’s just pound some tunes and people will come by to listen to the Christmas music."
The Warrens hope the positive approach to their work will lift spirits during the holidays.
"We've gotten some funny looks," Caleb said. "We have also gotten a lot of laughs, smiles and waves."
Josiah says the initiative is a way for the two brothers to encourage others to find light during their day, no matter what they may be struggling with.
"Post-COVID, people are struggling with so much," he said. "Mental health is at an all-time high, families are broken, and there is so much division in the world."
The Warrens are of Christian faith, which is why Christmas is such a special time for them.
"Christmas is about more than presents," Josiah said. "The hope that I have is because of the birth of Jesus."
Josiah has five children and Caleb has four. The brothers hope they are setting a good example for their families through their high spirits while on the job.
"They watch us goof off all day," Caleb said. "They also see us working hard. They get a good presentation of what it looks like to work together as a team and accomplish a goal while having fun."
The Warrens don't have a firm end day for their current project, but you can find them dancing about through the holiday season on their job site.