Photo by Diane Zander

Meet Bernard Skibben from Leeds who moved to Los Angeles 38 years ago as a General Contractor.

Was there a particular reason you chose LA ?

I had been building unique style homes in the UK for over 20 years.  I was determined to show that both architectural style and quality of a "bye-gone era" could be achieved.  My Gothic, Georgian and Tudor specimens achieved national publicity and tremendous success.  Despite negative comments from friends about the possibility of its success in the US, I knew the demand for "authentic-style" old english homes would be great.  My determination proved to be true, particularly in Beverly Hills, Bel Air and other prestigious locations.  It was phenomenal!

Almost 5 years ago unable to even consider the prospect of retirement, I decided on an acting career.  My work in TV, movies and commercials has added a new chapter of happiness in my life.

What one thing do you miss from home?
Mainly friends and business associates with whom I had a wonderful relationship.

What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus the UK?
Strangers become friends or acquaintances much quicker.  The average American admires us and has tremendous interest and respect for our culture and history.

Do you have a hidden gem in LA that you want to share with us?

When my family and I arrived here an American endeavored to impersonate my accent without success.  When asked which city in England I thought he was from, I replied, "Brooklyn".  He said that I was right.  We both laughed and became good friends.

What would you suggest to others who are thinking about making the move here ? 
If, after doing as much research as possible, you feel your objectives can be achieved, think positive.  This is the most vital thing for success.


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