Real Families Tell their Home Remodeling Experiences

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ROSEVILLE, MINN. (February 28, 2014) — Two real Twin Cities’ families shared their recent home remodeling experiences.

Remodelers Showcase Entry #R1
New Spaces
16805 Huntington Path, Lakeville
Great Room/Family Room, Kitchen & Lower Level Remodel


Getting It Right Step-By-Step

During the height of the real estate boom, Barb and Merle were expecting their first child. Barb was living with her mother in the Twin Cities and Merle, an investment manager, was finishing out a job in Denver and getting ready to transfer to Minneapolis.

“The housing market was hot,” says Merle. “If you didn’t make an offer within a half day of looking at a house you were not going to get it.” The new house market was just as hot, and builders were busier than ever. So when Barb and Merle saw a model they liked in Lakeville, they told the builder to erect them a replica.

They moved into their new home in early 2000, the same week Barb delivered their first daughter, Molly, now 13.

In retrospect they say they might have moved too quickly. The $335,000 modified two-story was a base model that offered three bedrooms plus an office in 3,100 square feet of living space. The unfinished basement left room for expansion. By 2007, however, just five years after the birth of their younger daughter, Annie, now 11, the couple decided to upgrade.

“The placement of the center island turned our kitchen into a galley-style kitchen,” says Barb. “When you opened the refrigerator and dishwasher, the doors hit the island.” The couple’s goal was to correct the original flaws, open the kitchen, and make way for counter space with seating.
Barb and Merle briefly considered buying a different home, but they liked their neighborhood and neighbors so much that they didn’t want to move.

Barb had visited a number of Parade homes and was so impressed with the quality and creativity of projects by Burnsville-based New Spaces that she didn’t look any further.

The kitchen and living area remodel consisted of removing the island and adding a peninsula with seating, double ovens, warming drawer, custom cabinets, wine cooler and storage, boxed window seat, built-in living room cabinets, and a custom fireplace.

Merle and Barb were so pleased with the quality of the remodel that they hired New Spaces to install wood flooring in the family room and replace the home’s railings and banisters in 2010.

Last year, they were again faced with the decision of whether to move or remodel. “The basement was a big playroom,” says Barb. “It was time to get rid of the play kitchens and create a safe place where teens and tweens would want to hang out.”

131216_013.jpgThe project involved finishing 1,000 square feet by adding a kitchenette with microwave, convection oven, dishwasher, and small refrigerator as well as a spacious family room.

Merle says one thing he learned from his homebuilding and remodeling experiences is to not scrimp on upgrades. “If it is only going to cost $2,000 more, I tell myself to do it because it will only be more expensive later,” he says.

Delaying an upgrade can be costly in other ways, too. “We decided to upgrade so we could enjoy our home now, rather than waiting to fix it up someday in the future when we decide to sell,” adds Barb.

Remodelers Showcase Entry #R25
Crystal Kitchen Center
2020 Kelly Drive North, Golden Valley
Kitchen, Mud Room/Laundry Remodel


Heartfelt Hospitality

While Paul and Stephanie are empty nesters, their home sure doesn’t look like it. Three grown kids and eight grand children keep the pair busy, and their hospitality has been extended well beyond the family.

The couple is active in their central Minneapolis church, and has been hosting bible studies, missionary families, seminary students and foreign nationals for over 11 years in their home. “This was a huge factor in our decision to remodel,” explained Stephanie. “We needed a more efficient space on the main floor to host gatherings, and wanted to also transition our home for the future by adding main level living.”

Creating a fully livable space on the main level was a great option for Paul and Stephanie, and not just as preparation for future retirement. The couple is passionate about offering their basement as transitional housing for families in need. “Single moms going through divorce, people who have lost their job, you name it — by expanding our main level we are now able to offer a completely private lower level to people who need a place to stay,” she explained.

Paul agrees. “With a growing family (they welcomed their eighth grandchild before Christmas) and my wife’s gift of hospitality, sometimes the upstairs gets crowded,” he laughed. “We thought an addition and kitchen update including an upstairs laundry would make things more efficient, and allow us to continue to serve others while staying in the neighborhood that we love.”

Like most families who remodel, the decision was a long time coming. Paul and Stephanie seriously discussed renovating their home for three years before they were ready to take the first steps. They began their journey on the Remodelers Showcase. “We had never experienced the Parade of Homes before last year,” Stephanie admitted. “The Remodelers Showcase was extremely helpful to us in that we were able to expand our knowledge of the process and gather ideas that we may not have thought of before.”

From there, the family chose four companies to present bids. Crystal Kitchen Center was their top choice after several neighbors gave glowing recommendations of CKC’s President Jolynn Johnson, chair of the Builders Association of the Twin City’s Remodelers Council.

One of their neighbors had worked with CKC almost twenty years before. This recommendation solidified CKC’s reputation as a high-quality remodeler with a timeless portfolio.


The remodeling process was something Paul and Stephanie looked forward to but were also leery of. Mary Maney, a lead designer with CKC, helped guide them through the process. Stephanie and Mary hit it off right away. “You could tell that she really listened to us,” Stephanie explained. “She designed our kitchen to match our lifestyle and made us feel cared for and valued as clients,” she added.

As a self proclaimed neat freak, Stephanie found the actual remodeling stages a big adjustment. The couple moved out of the house during demolition and lived in their basement for the second half of the remodel. “We were anxious to have the house back to ourselves,” Stephanie smiled. Paul was quick to mention that the contractors did a great job at cleaning up at the end of the day. “They covered areas and sectioned off other parts of the house to keep the dust a minimum. They were really respectful,” he explained.

The end result serves Paul and Stephanie very well. The old kitchen is now the couple’s mudroom and the new kitchen is housed near the couple’s expanded dining room, which features a 14 x 16 ft. addition with tall windows throughout. A highly efficient kitchen, coupled with a nearby buffet counter in the dinning room is perfect for hosting big groups. And you better believe that they’ve been busy hosts. “Within the first six weeks of having our finished kitchen we hosted over 105 people in the new space,” Stephanie shared.


And this is only the beginning. For a family who lives each day with the knowledge that their house is just a temporary holding space, they will continue to open their hearts and their home in service to others.


The 2013 Spring Remodelers Showcase is sponsored by Marvin Windows and Doors.