It goes without saying that every treehouse needs windows—one of the best parts of treehouses is that they provide an unparalleled view of the nature around them. And do you know what frames that view? Yep, you guessed it: windows.
But only some windows are designed to meet the unique demands of building up in the trees—which is why we partner with Marvin for our treehouses. Marvin’s unswerving quality, diverse product lines, collaborative ethos, and efficiency make their windows the perfect fit for our builds across the country.
What else makes them the perfect fit with Nelson treehouses, you ask? Like us, Marvin is family-owned and operated, and has been since their founding in 1912. That makes their current leadership the fourth generation of family members at the company’s helm. Four generations! Holy mackerel.
Last fall, the Marvin team graciously welcomed a few members of our crew to the Marvin factory headquarters in the small town of Warroad, Minnesota. We learned a great deal from touring the factory and came away more inspired than ever by the company’s history, culture, and commitment to serving the surrounding community.
We reached out to Christine Marvin, Director of Corporate Strategy + Design at Marvin Windows and Doors, to share their story with you today. Christine explains why windows make a huge difference in the quality of our built spaces, both in the trees and on the ground. She also shows us how the fourth generation of Marvin family leadership is keeping the legacy of their company’s founders alive, while also adapting it to our modern needs.
The Marvin story is one of service, integrity, and innovation—we hope you’ll find it as inspiring as we do. Read on for Christine Marvin’s interview.
INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTINE MARVIN
Nelson Treehouse (NT): Why are Marvin and Integrity windows uniquely suited for use in our treehouses?
Christine Marvin (CM): Nelson treehouses are as unique as the people they are designed for, and we like to think we use the same approach when creating windows and doors. All of our products are made-to-order, and we’re able to work with architects and builders who might have a unique challenge or an unusual space to find a product that will not only meet the design vision but also provide great performance and durability.
Each of our window types offer unique benefits that have been designed for both beauty and function. Marvin windows have nearly endless options for design customization, and Integrity windows are available with our patented pultruded fiberglass material, which is incredibly low maintenance and durable.
We know that any dwelling, even (and maybe especially) a treehouse, provides an opportunity to relax and recharge—a sanctuary that should be a reflection of our personal needs and desires. Being able to help people create spaces that contribute to their happiness is one of the reasons why we love partnering with Nelson Treehouse.
NT: What is it like for Marvin Windows and Doors to be based in such a small American town?
CM: Our headquarters in Warroad, Minnesota, are remote, and that’s forced us to have a “can do” attitude and a creative, entrepreneurial spirit. Consequently, we are independent and self-sustaining—and we certainly know how to design windows and doors that let in precious light and beautiful nature views while still protecting against extreme temperatures!
We stay connected to advances in science and technology, ensuring that though we are remote, we are still cutting edge. We are able to connect easily to many locations across the country due to our company planes that allow daily travel to Minneapolis.
While our location has provided competitive strengths, maintaining our headquarters in Warroad is also a core part of our company’s purpose. It’s where we started, where we have the largest population of Marvin employees, and where we feel grounded in our history.
For us, putting people at the center means providing good quality jobs with outstanding benefits, but it’s also contributing to the vitality of the community in a purposeful and meaningful way. Our commitment to our purpose, values and the needs of our customers continues to unite our 19 locations across the U.S., keeping us inspired and committed to designing amazing products that add joy to people’s lives.
NT: In what ways does being a family-owned and operated company inform your approach to doing business?
CM: Marvin has been family owned and operated since its inception in 1912, and we recently transitioned to the fourth generation of family leadership. A commitment to family ownership and leadership is central to our approach to doing business because it allows us to wholeheartedly commit to serving our employees, customers and communities in both good times—and occasionally, tough times. For example, when the Great Recession hit, we did not lay off anyone. Every employee stayed on the payroll and received healthcare benefits—two things we believed employees needed as much as ever.
At Marvin, we don’t worry about shareholders. We worry about stakeholders: our people, our communities, and our customers. We can do this because we are a private, family owned and operated company. We aren’t beholden to shareholders—rather, we are beholden to the people we really serve: our employees, our customers, our communities. We are beholden to our values, which don’t change with the latest quarterly earnings report or annual operating results. We can take the long view, and we do.
We know remaining family owned and led presents challenges, as it is estimated that just 3 percent of family companies make it to the fourth generation of leadership. We are very proud to be among them.
NT: How does the current generation of Marvin family leadership continue the legacy of founders George and Bill Marvin?
CM: Our founder George Marvin was known for being hardworking, honest, and—above all—dedicated to finding creative solutions that would help the company and the community thrive, even during hard times. Bill Marvin’s vision was what shaped Marvin into the leading window and door company it is today—because he wasn’t afraid to think differently.
The third generation of Marvin family members in the business have successfully carried forward George and Bill’s legacy through our strong relationships in the industry, our commitment to doing the right thing and our ability to innovate and develop creative products and services that help our customers thrive. We consistently design for both beauty and function. We put people at the center of what we do and how we move the company forward, and strive to contribute to healthier, happier lives.
The fourth generation of family leadership continues to keep these dimensions of design and our values at the heart of everything we do as they evolve our company based on the needs of the marketplace.
NT: What’s one thing about windows that you wish more people knew?
CM: Windows and doors are just as integral to the design of a room as the more common elements people are interested in—like countertops or tile backsplashes or beautiful kitchen appliances.
The type, size and interior and exterior finishes on a window can add so much depth and style to a space, and one of the most important things is a window’s ability to bring in natural light that helps us feel our best in our homes. Windows and doors can be transformative, so it’s worth spending time and making an investment that will match your needs now and in the future.
NT: What is one recent initiative that you’re especially proud of?
CM: We’re proud to have introduced Marvin Modern in the fall of 2018. Marvin Modern is a new product line designed for use in modern architecture, combining uninterrupted sightlines with unbeatable strength, achieving the ideal aesthetic for modern homes.
We interviewed homeowners, architects, builders and experts from around the world and conducted in-depth research to understand what modern homeowners expect in their living spaces, and how we can help professionals achieve this look. The line uses an industry-first, revolutionary high-density fiberglass exterior and an aluminum interior, meaning the products are extremely durable and energy-efficient for all climates.
This product line rounds out a complete package of window and door offerings—from the historic and traditional styles we’re able to replicate and enhance, to more transitional style products, now to an ultra-sleek, modern look. We’re proud to be a company that can achieve any look that a project requires, especially when you consider our Signature Services department that is designed specifically for creating windows and doors that are one-of-a-kind or particularly challenging custom designs.
NT: What’s one of your favorite aspects of your work?
CM: For me, I’m fascinated by learning about how people want to live and what makes us happy in the spaces around us. Statistics show that we spend over 90% of our time indoors, and so these spaces that we live and work in can have a profound effect on our wellbeing.
I’m glad to have the opportunity to explore how we can promote better living through the products we make— be it more sunlight to boost our moods and regulate our internal clocks, easier transitions between the indoors and out or technology that helps us simplify our lives or ease operation of a window or door.
You can learn more about Marvin at www.marvin.com.
To the trees!