The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) has named APEX Construction Management a winner of the 2017 Minnesota Contractor of the Year ( CotY ) Award. APEX received the top, gold-level honor for Residential Additions under $250,000. It beat Schrader & Co., Edgework Design Build and Jones Design Build for the state title.
NARI recognized contractors in a total of 25 CotY categories plus best in show and best newcomer at its annual Gala at International Market Square on Nov. 16. APEX President John “JB” Biancini and designer Carmin Meyer accepted the crystal trophy. They were cheered on by more than 300 colleagues and guests, including Troy Eiden of Modern Design, which built the custom cabinetry for the project.
Unique Kitchen and Seamless Exterior
APEX won its latest CotY Award for a unique addition it built at the Laurel Ave. St. Paul home of Richard and Shirley Erstad. APEX expanded the kitchen, enhanced the rear entry and added a three-quarter main level bath and lower level laundry.
The primary challenge was to create an authentic looking 1920s kitchen for the couple’s painstakingly restored vintage gas stove and refrigerator and antique fixtures. From the storybook backyard, the addition needed to blend in seamlessly with the home’s 1912 architecture.
“We absolutely love the new space—it is so inviting that we constantly find ourselves hanging out there. We were purists about doing the renovation in a totally period style—we wanted everything to look like it’s been there for decades. So it was a challenge for the team since a lot of things we wanted done were not the way they are done now. In the end, the project turned out just as we had envisioned it, only better. It’s inviting, functional and beautiful. And it fits seamlessly with the rest of the house.”
NARI Judges Praise APEX CotY Project
NARI member judges in Milwaukee scored the project on six criteria: identifying and meeting client goals, functional improvements, aesthetic enhancements, craftsmanship, innovation and degree of difficulty. Here are some excerpts of what they said:
“Man…. this is right up my alley. Absolutely love this renovation. As an advocate of using reclaimed materials; just loved scrolling through this presentation.”
“Good use of materials to blend with the eclectic design expression. Great use of space.”
“The scope of work seems well executed with respect to customer preferences and within the period of the home. All points well supported by use of photos and the overall presentation in general. Nice work!”
APEX Team, Clients Collaborated on Design
JB said he was not surprised. “I sensed this would be an award-winning project from the moment the clients approved the plan,” JB said. “While remodeling projects can have a familiar look, this one is very special.”
JB, Carmin and the clients worked closely to conceal modern conveniences from view. For instance, electrical outlets are tucked under the upper cabinet rather installed in the backsplash and Sonos Wifi speakers are installed in vintage radio cabinets. Meanwhile, the freezer, dishwasher and microwave are hidden behind cabinet doors and drawers. And the antique wall phone actually works.
Outside was all about making the addition look like it was part of the original architect’s plan. New Marvin windows and the addition’s rooflines reflect the style, scale and period of the original architecture. The relocated entry porch features an ornate, reclaimed balustrade and classic beadboard ceiling. And lap siding was installed with true mitered joints rather than the more common corner boards. APEX’s Matt Grudzielanek managed the construction.