A Clean, Clear Look for the 21st Century
House of Glass, Inc. creates spaces that sparkle
Leon Cruz doesn’t know how to lose. He also understands that it’s all about perception. Owning a company with a five-star rating is of the utmost importance to him. Cruz imparts that to his employees at Orlando’s House of Glass, Inc., with a level of transparency that reflects the company’s bespoke products. Employees must keep their personal appearance on point as well as maintain clean and orderly job sites, or they won’t be with Cruz for long. “When I bring on new employees, I like to spend a week with each of them to make sure they’re compatible with the look and the attitude we are trying to put out there, in addition to seeing how they work … how they handle themselves in front of customers,” Cruz says. “I expect them to cater to the customer because that’s who we are working for—the customer.”
Cruz has been in construction for nearly two decades. About 15 years ago, he moved to Orlando and started a glass and mirror installation business for tract homebuilders. Initially, the business skyrocketed, and the firm was working on about 100 homes a month; but the market crashed, and so did the venture. Cruz closed that shop and worked in real estate for a bit before launching House of Glass in 2014.
“I just have that drive to succeed,” Cruz says. “I’m not afraid to take chances. Sometimes little companies won’t take on big projects because they are fearful the company will go under. But I like to think big. Nothing is guaranteed in business; but if you take chances and work hard, you will succeed. Then that success builds on itself, and you’re doing multimillion [dollar] jobs.”
Turning ‘OK’ into Great
House of Glass has completed hundreds of jobs, from small residential frameless showers to full-scale office rehabs. Cruz and his wife, Trish Figueroa-Cruz, strive to create a family atmosphere for staff and clients alike.
The company works with homebuilders throughout the construction process, installing windows, showers, glass partitions, glass tabletops, railing systems, delivering the exact and precise look that Cruz prides himself on.
“Everybody wants that clean, clear look,” Cruz says. “We used to do a lot of half walls, but now we are doing full walls of glass more and more. People also like to flip a switch and turn a full wall of glass into a frosted wall for complete privacy.”
Glass partitions, railings and walls can bring the most monotonous, drab office into the 21st century. And frameless glass shower doors can make the smallest bathroom feel more like a spacious, luxurious spa.
“I like turning something that looks ‘OK’ into something that looks great,” Cruz says. “Concrete and paint aren’t going to make a building look as good as aluminum and glass can.”
Demand to Remain High
Demand for glass shower doors is expected to continue for the foreseeable future “due to increasing urbanization in emerging economies and expansion of the real estate industry,” according to Prescient & Strategic Intelligence. The New York-based market research firm also says an increasing focus on home decoration is a major factor in the escalating demand for glass doors.
Commercial demand should also remain high, and House of Glass has installed glass entry doors, room dividers and glass cubicle walls for various clients, including a local Zoës Kitchen, a public works building in Winter Springs, Forida, and the Village Lakes Shopping Center in Land O’ Lakes, Florida.
The company installed showers, Herculite® doors and storefront windows at the Loews Portofina Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando ResortTM during a $22 million renovation a few years ago.
House of Glass also designs and installs outdoor spaces for clients. The firm has seen an uptick in demand for sun shades because people are growing tired of having to replace canvas shades every two or three years while aluminum and stainless shades last forever, according to Cruz.
The company recently completed work on The Quad, student housing at the University of Central Florida, which included mirrors, heavy-glass partitions and a multitude of windows and doors.
Emily Thorburn is a project manager in interior design with Horizon Student, a realty firm specializing in student residences. She worked with House of Glass on The Quad.
“When Leon visited our site to provide an initial bid for the project, his personal attention and willingness to work with our schedule definitely made House of Glass stand out,” Thorburn says. “It was evident throughout the project that Leon wasn’t just interested in getting the job done but felt passionate about us being happy with the end result of the overall project.” Thorburn said the firm went above and beyond the scope of its part of the project.
“When we were up against completing certain details on the project that other vendors were unwilling to fulfill, Leon came to our rescue. He stepped in and completed the work for us,” Thoburn said. “Our office is beautifully transformed due to Leon and his team. We are very happy with the results and look forward to working with House of Glass on future projects.”
Building a Literal House of Glass
House of Glass is based in Orlando but works all across the Sunshine State, with current jobs in Jacksonville, Homestead, Port St. Lucie and elsewhere.
The company has a showroom in Winter Park, Florida, and a warehouse in Lake Vista, Florida, but Cruz is in the process of acquiring a property on which he hopes to construct a building befitting the company name with an interior made entirely from glass.
Cruz is always willing to work with clients who may have fallen on some tough times by offering discounts and various payment options. He truly wants to provide the highest quality at the most affordable price.
This penchant for compassion also flows into Cruz’s after-hours interests. He volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House, sponsors softball teams, and youth football teams and has been coaching inner-city kids for nearly a decade.
“I want to give these kids an avenue to come into something other than the street,” Cruz says. “I want them to know that they can succeed in whatever field they want to go into.”
Cruz provides expert craftsmanship and outstanding customer service in the always competitive construction and building businesses. He also manages to open new doors and windows for himself and others through hard work and an unending determination to succeed.