A Moveable Feast
by Cassidy Mantor
Ernest Hemingway wrote in his memoir, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” Standing in an elevator made by A+ Elevators & Lifts is also a moveable feast.
The uniqueness of A+ Elevators & Lifts (A+) is evident from the moment you step into their Salt Lake City Design Center. Three working elevators welcome visitors into an intimate space that feels more like a home than a custom elevator manufacturer with a working woodshop.
Stepping inside one of A+’s elevators reveals craftsmanship, quality, and attention to detail that results from spending years refining and perfecting their work. Their finished designs question the idea that elevators are purely functional equipment. Standing in an elevator by A+ leaves a lasting impression that elevators can be furniture. These moveable rooms challenge us to define new ways to live with ease.
Nikki Harris, Vice President of Operations, says, “A+ prides itself in working with architects and designers to bring levels of creativity to light by custom-matching the décor and style desired for their clients’ elevators.”
“The A+ team utilizes their talents to provide ‘one-of-a-kind’ elevators. No two elevators are the same. All of our elevators are custom-made to match the design of the individual homes by incorporating glass, metal, mesh, color, and profile. I would even be so bold as to call them masterpieces.”
Nick Harris, Vice President of Operations, A+ Elevators & Lifts
Today, A+ works in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and Nevada. The business operates on the principles of putting quality and safety first. The company makes both custom residential and commercial elevators and lifts. It services, repairs, and inspects its own custom-made elevators and lifts, and also maintains other brands.
A+ works with architects, designers, builders, and homeowners during all phases of the construction process. It is not uncommon for a client to bring torn-out pages from magazines with a picture of an A+ elevator that they would like to put in their own house.
A+ Elevators are Different
Size, aesthetic, and tech features are all customizable in A+ elevators. Sean Brown, Vice President of Sales, explains that A+ is different from its competitors because it can make elevators in any size. A+ builds the cabs at its manufacturing plant in Salt Lake City, which means it can fit any space using custom dimensions. It also delivers a superior quality of construction that is meant to last a lifetime and stand up to normal daily usage.
Sean is a lifelong woodworker who admired A+’s work from the first time he stepped into one of their elevators. He instantly noticed that there were no nail or screw holes on the interior of the cab. That is because A+ utilizes techniques so that fasteners are not visible from inside the elevator, making for an extremely clean appearance. As Sean recalls, “The elevator felt like a piece of high-end furniture.”
Quality is evident in A+’s work. The company matches wood species, colors, and finishes so the elevator seamlessly complements the rest of the house. A+’s craftsmanship means that details like moldings inside an elevator will match the same height, size, and profile as moldings throughout the entire home.
Nikki says, “The A+ team utilizes their talents to provide ‘one-of-akind’ elevators. No two elevators are the same. All of our elevators are custom-made to match the design of the individual homes by incorporating glass, metal, mesh, color, and profile. I would even be so bold as to call them masterpieces.”
Tech Features: Remote Diagnostics & Smart Phone Compatibility
Remote diagnostic elevators are one way in which A+ improves the customer experience. Justin Hansen, A+’s Director of Technical Services, says, “Remote diagnostic elevators are quicker to troubleshoot and often save a service call.” His team logs into the elevator system remotely and can fix the issue over the phone in five to ten minutes, versus dispatching a crew and waiting until a day or two later.
Smart home-integrated elevators are another favorite tech feature that A+ offers. They allow voice control of the elevator via Amazon Alexa or Google Home, or from a tablet or phone. Customers appreciate this feature when they are heading home with a car full of groceries.
Touchscreen elevators are also available. They replace traditional buttons with easy-to-use screens that can be customized with the owner’s photos for an additional personal touch.
Design: Glass and Lighting
A+’s glass elevators are undeniably works of art. A visit to A+’s Design Center in Salt Lake City reveals two cylindrical glass and steel elevators that offer unobstructed 360-degree views of the surroundings. Justin says, “Our glass elevators take more time to build, but the end result is perfect.” Sean loves the glass elevators because of the “unique experience to see the mechanisms running as the elevator is moving.”
Perhaps the most imaginative use of space for an elevator is as a bar, which is how one homeowner in Big Sky, Montana, used their elevator. Justin explains, “We built a four-and-a-half-footwide custom solid glass door system. Inside, it reveals shelves of liquor and cabinetry for glassware. That elevator allowed the homeowners to have a bar on every floor, no matter where they were entertaining. When the glass door closed, you could still look into the elevator and see the bar on display.”
Elevators are statement pieces. Creating a strong statement in one’s home is what Chris Harris, A+’s founder and president and head of their design team, strives for. Chris’s 20 years of experience in the elevator industry results in ideas and innovations that are mostly unheard of in the elevator industry. It’s this type of out-of-the-box thinking that he teaches and instills in the A+ team.
“Our glass elevators take more time to build, but the end result is perfect.”
-Justin Hansen, Director of Techincal Services, A+ Elevators & Lifts
A substantial part of A+’s work is maintenance. Most residential elevators require maintenance twice per year. Maintenance visits include testing to make sure all equipment is operating at prime performance and safety. A+’s mechanics are trained to work on all different types of elevators so that they can service all makes and models.
Modernizations are another aspect of A+’s services. An example is when a homeowner wanted to change her elevator from having manual doors to automatic ones. The original manufacturer of her elevator had gone out of business so they could not do the upgrade. A+ was able to install a new electrical control system that completely upgraded her old elevator with a new control system using current technology.
“We built a four-and-a-half-foot-wide custom solid glass door system. Inside, it reveals shelves of liquor and cabinetry for glassware. That elevator allowed the homeowners to have a bar on every floor, no matter where they were entertaining. When the glass door closed, you could still look into the elevator and see the bar on display.”
-Justin Hansen, Director of Techincal Services, A+ Elevators & Lifts
For Immediate or Future Use
A+’s clients immediately use their elevators for moving luggage, laundry, and groceries throughout the house without having to take the stairs. For clients interested in an elevator but who may not be ready for it yet, A+ has a program that allocates space for a future elevator. This helps clients plan for the future even if they do not want to put in an elevator during the initial construction process. Sean explains, “A+ will build the hoistway, but the actual space can be used for closets until the homeowner is ready for an elevator ten years down the road.” A+’s employees care about the safety of their customers and take pride in the work they do. Customers are grateful for the team’s friendliness and eagerness to help, as well as their good communication and reliability. They truly give A+ service all of the time.
Perhaps the best way to get a sense of A+’s work is to visit their Design Center and walk through their gallery. The Vuelift, a new cylindrical glass elevator for home use, drops clients off where the Design Center and gallery meet. Before the door slides open, clients can see photos of all of A+’s jobs and the range of different décor they match for their custom elevators.