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2015 NARI Level Best Awards

Posted on March 1, 2015 by Amy Hanson

Every space within a home serves a purpose. No matter how large or small, attention to detail can make all the difference. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry “Level Best” Awards honor the remodeling work of local contractors who help homeowners achieve their dream spaces.

This year, the judges recognized standouts in five categories from members of the Fox Valley Chapter of NARI. Winners range from home retreats to kitchens needing a little TLC.

 

Photo courtesy of Mosquito Creek Home Renovations LLC

Photo courtesy of Mosquito Creek Home Renovations LLC

Residential Bath $25,000 to $50,000
Winner: Mosquito Creek Home Renovations LLC

Things got a little steamy in this bathroom redo. Quality materials, tile and wood created a spa escape right in the homeowners’ basement. The steam shower — capable of using essential oils — included multiple body jets, rain shower head, a bench to fit two and a sleek, hand shower unit. The clean, contemporary design with earthy colors also incorporated storage for towels and other bathroom needs.

“There are a lot of different ways you can use this bathroom,” adds Fagerlind.

To properly ventilate the space, the glass shower was built with a transom window that can be used for venting steam and a high-volume bathroom fan that allows for removal of additional moisture. The slopped ceiling, featuring sealed, low-voltage LED lighting, assists with runoff to help water down the drain. Due to the large-format tile, a Schluter linear drain was installed.

“That was lovely, it was warm and inviting,” shares Peters. “The linear drain was a nice, clean detail.”

 

Photo courtesy of Distinctive Renovations

Photo courtesy of Distinctive Renovations

Residential Kitchen under $30,000
Winner: Distinctive Renovations

Having a kitchen that would accommodate a family of six that grew into a family of 13 when seven foster children were added to the mix became essential in this renovation. There was an extreme shortage of storage, not enough meal prep space, limited air circulation for the volume of food being prepared and not enough room for the growing family, with children ranging from 3 to 19. Universal design was applied when planning the space.

“It was really that the kitchen worked, but it wasn’t great,” says Susan Fassbender, co-owner of Distinctive Renovations. “They really are beautiful people. … It’s one of those projects that make you smile. They needed it, they needed it so bad.”

The homeowners desperately wanted smooth traffic flow and the opportunity to create assembly lines for meal preparation.

The eat-in portion of the kitchen was eliminated in favor of a snack area for the younger children and a landing space for groceries since the adjacent dining room could work for sit-down meals.

“The design team and the contractors did this very well in a tight space,” says Peters. “The parameters and challenges were answered very well.”

 

Photo courtesy of Mosquito Creek Home Renovations LLC

Photo courtesy of Mosquito Creek Home Renovations LLC

Residential Kitchen $60,001 to $100,000
Winner: Mosquito Creek Home Renovations LLC

Prior to a facelift, this particular kitchen was facing a few speed bumps with an awkward traffic flow and minimal storage space. It was important to the busy family to move the seating out of the work area and have a bar-height, L-shaped counter and stools. The original island also was outdated with broken cabinets.

“They like to get the family together to eat whatever meals possible,” says Fagerlind. “We definitely found a better way to utilize the space that they had.”

Now, the family can work around one another, plug things in without tripping on cords, has easy accessibility to the trash and doesn’t have to deal with the hassle of difficult-to-clean surfaces. Low- or no-maintenance materials, like quartz countertops and e-granite sinks, were important to the homeowners and designed to conceal scratching, staining and sealing. The new work triangle also improved the flow from stove to sink.

“They took a nice kitchen and made it a ‘wow’ kitchen,” says judge Pete Weyenberg, realtor with Coldwell Banker, The Real Estate Group Inc.

 

Photo courtesy of Mosquito Creek Home Renovations LLC

Photo courtesy of Mosquito Creek Home Renovations LLC

Basement $50,001 to $100,000
Winner: Mosquito Creek Home Renovations LLC

Reclaiming a space with reclaimed and rustic materials was the focus of this relaxed basement environment reminiscent of a ski lodge. The project, which spanned from a finished family room to game room to gym — and, putting green — was designed with the family’s love of skiing and golf in mind.

“The putting green in the basement was the unique feature because it was something we did because the husband is an avid golfer,” says Ali Fagerlind, Mosquito Creek Home Renovations LLC design specialist.

The green, which was raised with a slab floor system, incorporated professional-grade, synthetic nylon turf, and professional cup and flags with staggered holes. It was surrounded by a railing system constructed from rustic tin and old rebar to keep the family dogs out.

The coloring of reclaimed metal inspired the palette for the basement’s color scheme and was tied into all the walls throughout the space. A variety of wood finishes also complemented the chosen hues. Mosquito Creek reached beyond their standard suppliers, with the help of the homeowners, to find aged timbers, barn woods and metals.

“I think they used a very unique range of materials,” says judge and designer Jennifer Peters. “It just wrapped it up beautifully.”

 

Photo courtesy of Mosquito Creek Home Renovations LLC

Photo courtesy of Mosquito Creek Home Renovations LLC

Residential Kitchen $30,000 to $60,000
Winner: Mosquito Creek Home Renovations LLC

This residential kitchen took the “country” out of farmhouse-style design, while embracing the home’s almost 120-year-old history.

“A lot of people when they think of farmstyle kitchens, they think of roosters on the wall,” says Fagerlind.

Instead, new, modern amenities, such as dishwasher and cabinet-depth refrigerator, blended seamlessly in this updated space. More general and task lighting was added, storage and functionality increased, and a focal point centered around an apron-front sink. The color palette was kept neutral so accessories could be updated from time to time.

“That’s one of those things as a designer, they kept a nice, neutral space, but they made that nice pop of color with the stools,” says Peters.

Solid wood cabinets with Shaker-style doors were a good marriage between traditional and modern styles. Recessed lighting throughout the kitchen and LED strip lighting under the cabinets illuminate the space.

 

Judging this year’s Level Best Awards:
Bob McKinney, faculty member with the Interior Design Program at Fox Valley Technical College
Pete Weyenberg, realtor with Coldwell Banker, The Real Estate Group Inc.
Jennifer Peters, designer

—FC

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