Like a ringmaster, Astute Builder Rich Gillman, skillfully coordinates the grand finale



Rich Gillman, President of the Blake Group, a Chicago-based builder, does what he does out of a passion for creating an invaluable experience. His clients are not merely people whom he works for a fee, but more importantly, valuable team collaborators. It sounds reasonable that we all do what we do because we love to do it or for the living that it affords us, but so many extraneous factors can make it difficult and frustrating on any given day that it is not fun. They do call it ‘work’ and not ‘play’ for a reason. Not every day is rainbows and sunshine, but we must make it enjoyable even at difficult times.

According to Rich, “The difference with being a builder is you are embarking on a journey that will create something totally different than what was there before you started. It may have been an empty piece of ground, and it is now a home. It may be a home in a high-rise twenty stories in the air. But it will definitely be different when it is complete. My goal is to make someone happy and make their life better as a result.”

25 E. Superior Project

Rich has enjoyed working with some of the best-known architects in the city of Chicago. He understands aesthetics and is inspired by his travels. He has looked at, observed, listened to, and interpreted from many people. The challenge is to make sure you can “hear” what the client is looking for and make it a reality. He will tell you that not every client is right for him. "Sometimes, walking away from a project was the best thing for all involved," he stresses, “when you walk through my project, it has to be different. You must know you are in a special place you want to be.”

One of Rich’s favorite expressions is that he is “building for a ghost.” He is creating something for someone that is undefined and unknown until they walk up to the project and say, “this is just what I want." It is a very challenging task to say the least. When Rich chooses a client he can work with and they chose him, there is collaboration. He notes, “we have to more than just get along, we have to be connected at many levels. There are going to be those unfortunate calls with bad news that the client has to know. It does not make those calls easier, but there is better understanding by everyone once it is done. My philosophy is, treat them like you want to be treated, and things will work out!”

Rich has been a proponent of clean bathroom spaces and is a believer in Geberit in-wall tank carriers because he can lay out a powder room with hidden privacy. He likes to keep them away from the high traffic areas like a kitchen or entertaining area. No one wants to feel cramped in a tight space like a powder room, and the space a wall-mounted toilet allows adds to a more comfortable experience. Rich has used Geberit carrier systems when remodeling high-rise condominiums because of the flexibility of the carrier. “You are limited in a high-rise because you cannot easily move the floor-installed toilet. There are all kinds of issues if you knock holes in a floor 20 stories up. The Geberit in-wall carrier allows me to move to a new toilet location by furring out a wall and running to a different spot in the room. When you do that, you open up so many more design options,” he explains. And he doesn’t mind that Geberit offers the widest selection of decorative flush plates.

Like any good “ringmaster,” Rich makes his clients happy - they got a ticket for the circus! He relies on the good word of mouth advertising to keep more people coming to experience collaboration with his aesthetics and know-how! Everybody is happy when they walk in after he is done putting the entire show together.  

Amazing Renovation and Development Projects by The Blake Group in Collaboration with Geberit Products


Are you looking for more information about wall-mounted bathroom fixtures?

If you're considering a wall-mount toilet for your bathroom, you'll need the parts required to install the plumbing inside the wall. At Geberit, we offer these concealed systems so you can get your ideal look and style in your luxury bathroom.

Check out our  Clever Features That Make Your Life Easier section of our website for more tips and installation ideas.