Tim Lemke Construction (TLC) earned three 2017 Minnesota Contractor of the Year (CotY) Awards last week from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Each of the honors was for a home remodeling project on a century-old Portland Avenue house. The project was designed by David Heide Design Studio.
The St. Paul remodeling contractor received the gold CotY award in the Residential Kitchens $100,000 to $150,000 category and silver awards in the Residential Bath over $75,000 category and the Residential Historical Remodeling over $250,000 category. The etched crystal trophies were presented at NARI Minnesota’s annual CotY Awards Gala at Internal Market Square’s soaring five-story atrium on Nov. 16.
The Ramsey Historical Society once called the home one of the finest and best-preserved examples of Prairie School architecture in St. Paul. TLC’s challenge was to make the home safer and more functional while respecting and extending its rich aesthetic character.
Kitchen Remodel Showcases Fine Woodworking
The kitchen remodeling project proves that home contractors can respect historic 1915 architectural details while creating an environment that caters to today’s lifestyles. The footprint is unchanged but achieves so much more. Extraordinary red birch cabinetry, lighted display shelves and wall panels embrace the updated space, anchored by a heated slate floor, granite tops and rich tile. The secret to its success, however, is the new space TLC created by reconfiguring the adjacent basement stairway to accept the counter depth refrigerator and by installing a second sink in the hall outside the enlarged powder room.
The CotY judges wrote, “It’s a beautiful kitchen. Definitely Prairie style! Wood tones and details are right on.”
Exquisite Master Bath is Two-Time Winner
No one is surprised the master bathroom renovations earned a 2017 MN CotY award. David Heide Design Studio had already won a first-place 2017 ASID Rave award for the bathroom remodeling collaboration. The original leaded art glass windows inspired the custom lighting and cabinetry design. Enameled, window-height banding pulls architectural elements together. The elegant oval bubble tub and liberal granite and crystal knob details are pure class. Meanwhile, hidden in-floor hydronic heat extends into the tile shower and the water closet alcove.
This bathroom remodel started with some heavy lifting. TLC craftsmen first had to jack and reinforced the structural framing to make the pinched windows operable again.
The judges wrote, “The new master bath looks very inviting. The integrity of Prairie School style was not jeopardized with this beautiful renovation and provides the client the privacy they requested but with modern conveniences.”
A Historic Whole-Home Remodeling Triumph
Noted architects Bentley & Hausler had designed the 1915 house. TLC and David Heide Design Studio were careful to preserve its Prairie roots while remodeling the upper level to feature an extraordinary master suite. The main level gained the gourmet kitchen and enhanced powder room, and the basement benefited from the reconfigured stairs, a new bathroom and improved laundry.
The TLC team also corrected serious structural issues, mitigated hazardous materials, added central AC and updated all of the electrical and plumbing as part of the home renovation. The innovation around the central stairway skylight and high velocity AC registers produced architectural gems. The skylight actually is a pair of tubular Solatube units that terminate in a custom, rectangular lighting fixture that reflects the home’s period lighting. The attic-mounted high velocity air conditioner serves all three levels of the home. The ends of the narrow flexible ducts are concealed behind oak-trimmed black ceiling grates that look like they were always part of the public rooms’ decorative millwork.
The judges wrote, “Very nicely done. Good materials. Nice work at the stairs (direction and lighting).”
Home Remodeling Projects Scored on Six Criteria
Member judges from the NARI Milwaukee Chapter evaluated the Portland Ave. home remodel projects on six criteria: Identifying and meeting clients’ needs, functional improvement, aesthetic enhancement, innovation, craftsmanship and degree of difficulty. They were not told who designed and built each project.
NARI is the leading remodeling trade association in the country, with chapters in 49 states. Minnesota boasts the second largest membership. In addition to sponsoring the annual CotY competition, NARI provides education and certification for remodelers, advocates on behalf of the remodeling industry and helps homeowners identify reputable remodeling contractors.