Qualified Remodeler Magazine

MAY 2014

Qualified Remodeler helps independent remodeling firms to survive, become more professional and more profitable by providing must-have business information, namely best business practices, new product information and timely design ideas.

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ForResidentialPros.com QR May 2014 23 Dexter Builders. "The building we found is located outside of the village on a main road with good traffic and was all but abandoned. A guy was living there with a chicken running around outside." Although the run-down home may have been fit for a chicken, it was far from ready to be the home of a modern business. "We've learned that the house was built originally in the 1850s and then burned down in 1929," Brown says. "The owner then built a block house on top of the existing fieldstone foundation, so that's what we had to work with: a flat roofed, block building with 8-in.-thick concrete block walls. On the exterior, we started with the block walls and put 2 by 4 sleepers on it and foam- board between them, and then installed siding and trim, as well as new windows." A pretty major face-lift was given to the building, both inside and out. "The fieldstone foun- dation was in decent shape, but one room that had been added onto the back was in really rough shape, so that came down com- pletely," Peters explains. "We rebuilt the addition and added a second floor above that, which tripled the size of that room by overhanging it in a couple of dif- ferent directions." The roof also needed an upgrade. "We eliminated the flat roof by putting a hip truss roof on the house, and we also rebuilt the wrap-around porch," Brown continues. "That also originally had a flat roof and now it has a nice pitched roof on it." Other touches were complet- ed on the outside, as well. "Our sister company is Dexter Block, and they provide full masonry services," Brown says. "They went through and put new len- tils in over a lot of the windows, tuck-pointed the fieldstone wall around the porch and installed a nice stamped concrete patio and- sidewalk. We also installed new porch caps with concrete to give a nice finished look to the porch." To bring the former residence up to commercial standards, a few additional changes were needed. "The house needed to be handicap accessible, so we had to eliminate an 8-in. step coming into the building," Brown says. "Dexter Block installed a paver patio over the existing porch floor, so it is a zero threshold. We also had to upgrade the electrical, plumbing and HVAC to commercial standards. The original house ran on four or five fuses; we installed a whole new electrical service and rewired the whole building." All the upgrades to the building have substantially increased its energy efficiency. "Our heating has gone from about $600 per month to under $200," Brown says. ELBOW ROOM The exterior clearly needed a lot of work, and the interior was no different. "I'd like to say we took the main floor 'down to studs,' but there were no studs. We took it down to the block wall and pretty much started over with new drywall, flooring and all the finishes," Brown says. "The sec- ond floor was in decent shape. By the time we bought it, it had been converted into a duplex so one of the rooms was a kitchen that we removed and turned into an office." The end result is a space that has allowed Dexter Builders to accommodate its growth. "When we moved in, we had five people here at the office, and now we have 17 workspaces and confer- ence rooms that go with them," Peters says. "Right now we have 16 people working in the office at one time and they are very comfortable." Best of all, the stunning trans- formation of the old home pro- vides an example to show poten- tial clients. "It's convenient the way we can take people through the house," Peters says. "We've done each floor differently. In some cases, we've finished one office different from the adjacent office so we can show potential customers various trim styles, lighting options, floors and other products. Instead of trying to explain things, you can just point to it. It's much more understandable. It's a living showroom." QR Allen Barry writes about remodeling and construction from Chicago. Dexter Builders found the ugliest house it could to transform into its new office space. The exterior received a total face-lift, including transforming the flat roof into a pitched roof. Before QUR_22-23_ExtSolutions515.indd 23 4/28/14 10:02 AM

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