When choosing a contractor, there’s nothing better than to consult someone who has been down the road before. Paul and Jenny have hired Refined Homes to design and build multiple remodeling projects in their St. Paul home. Paul shares his experience here, in his own words, to shed light on your remodeling path.

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How did you discover Refined Homes?

We initially consulted another contractor to remodel our basement. He looked at the job and referred us to Refined Homes.  He explained that Ian was an expert at remodeling hundred-year-old homes like ours. The fact that another contractor was willing to give up a job to Ian says a lot about his reputation in the industry.

What appealed to you after your first meeting with Refined Homes?

Ian and Tricia gave a great first impression.  It was obvious they knew what they were doing and that they were committed to ensuring our project would be done right.

What stands out about the Wiitanens after hiring them for multiple projects? 

Their first impression was on point.  They are genuinely nice people.  They are honest, straight forward and flexible.  Simply put, they seem to get it.  Remodeling projects can take a toll on a homeowner.  Whether it’s the money, the time, or the inconvenience… They understand that and help you manage the ups and downs. It helps that their workmanship and service are top-notch.

My sense is that while Ian and Tricia share common values, their personalities and strengths are complementary.

I absolutely agree... but I can't put my finger on it.  They just work really well together.  It's fluid.

Was it important to work with a local contractor?

It didn’t necessarily matter when we started, but it helped later. The Wiitanens live in our neighborhood and own an older home like ours. This paid off a couple of times, because Ian could just stop by on his way home from another job or swing by quickly for whatever reason (fix a door, get measurements, etc…)

How would you characterize Ian and Tricia’s communication style and effectiveness?

Efficient and direct – probably another reason I like them.  I usually know what I want and make quick decisions.  Their communication style works well with that.

Some contractors are merely business owners. They don’t personally know how to do design or construction. Was it important to you that Ian is a skilled carpenter?

Yes, it provides more ownership and consistency in the work that is being done.  There is something to be said about talking to Ian and Tricia about what I want done and knowing that they are the ones who do or at least supervise the work.  Nothing is lost in translation.

How would you characterize the quality of Refined Home’s construction?

Authentic craftsmanship.  Ian literally crafted paneling, crown-molding and trim by hand -- the kind of work that was done when this house was built.  It blew me away.  I had just expected he would find something close at Menards or Home Depot. This is probably what I appreciate the most about Refined Homes.

How have your Refined Homes projects enhanced your quality of life?

The evolution of our home has paralleled the growth of our family.  When we bought the house, it was fine for the two of us.  When we had our first  child we remodeled the upstairs to give him a better bedroom and create a more functional upstairs for a family.  When we had our second child, we decided to give her our bedroom and remodeled the main level to include a master suite and a much-needed mudroom. The original house would not have functioned with two kids.  Since the improvements by Refined Homes we would not be able to find a better home for us in our neighborhood.

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