Take two unique backgrounds ... one, a landscape architect with a knack for designing and building patios, pergolas and outdoor kitchens. The other, a retired chiropractor finding himself gaining construction skills as he turns fixer-uppers into quality rental homes. Add in a the family connection of a father and the man who married his daughter and the perfect team is the result – the Southern Illinois Home Team.
This Carterville-based company made up of former landscaper Justin Vancil and his father-in-law, John McConnaughy — widely known in the region as “Dr. John,” a chiropractor of 33 years — has offered home remodeling, repairs, custom woodworking and handyman services for four years.
“We get into all types of different work,” Vancil said. “We do anything from a small addition and bathroom and kitchen remodels to custom decks, porches and more.”
Vancil says once the pair got to working together, the business grew quickly.
“We’ve found a really good niche, I think. There are lots of guys around here who build homes, but few that focus on remodeling and the things we do. It’s really just taken off for us from word of mouth.”
He adds that it hasn’t hurt that people have known “Dr. John” throughout the area for many years.
“It seems like he knows everybody from his 30-plus years in practice,” Vancil said. “One thing has led to another and now we typically stay scheduled out three or four months. Plus, over the years, he has bought several houses in the area, fully gutted them and renovated them, so he has had a basis of carpentry and construction knowledge for a long time.”
Vancil, a talented woodworker, has a following of his own for custom furniture and other pieces he has created in his own shop.
“Now that this has taken off, I try to squeeze in some customer furniture,” he said.
He says most of the pair’s work is in Jackson and Williamson counties.
“We’ve been fortunate to be so busy so close to home.”
While Southern Illinois Home Team has done everything from outdoor play spaces to new additions, Vancil says bathroom renovations have been very popular recently, but, he says, each project is unique.
“It’s always something different. I like the custom work – coming up with things that people can’t buy or make for themselves – building things that they want and meet their needs that they can’t get any other way,” he says.
Despite being busy and having a long to-do list, Vancil says the pair has no intention of slowing down nor growing too big.
“We want to stay small because we can be more attentive and particular to the details of a project,” he said. “I’m not against having employees, but I want to sleep at night knowing that we’ve done the best work we possibly can,” he explains. “To me, the goal is not to expand into 15 crews running around with trucks. Rather, it’s to stay local and provide excellent customer service and excellent end results on every single project.”