STEVE:  Hi, this is Steve Westmark.  Thanks for watching my video blog this week.  Well, this week I’ve brought in a great contractor who knows how to do remodeling, and it’s Pete Boyer of Pete Boyer Construction.  Welcome, Pete.

PETE:  Well, hi Steve.  It’s fun to talk about remodeling.

STEVE:  Well, Pete, you’ve done some interesting remodeling through the years.  Tell us one remodeling thing that stands out in your mind through the years.

PETE:  Well, the one that I really remember the most that was really interesting was one I started my career on was a big old house called Goosecap.  It was one of the three original houses built there on the Ward Burton property.  And apparently it was built in 1892 by the Burtons, and the Burtons still owned the property when I remodeled the building.  The house was going to be torn down, but I was able to change property lines to get the house to be saved and actually, the house was written up in the book “Once Upon a Lake.”  And it’s a historic house, a house built in Victorian style 

But it was all rotten, holes in the roof, windows blown out when I bought it in the winter of ’75.  But then I restored it, remodeled it.  I remodeled it three times in the process between then and now.  And different people have bought it and owned it.  One customer was from Boston that lived there.  Anyway, very interesting house, totally remodeled.  Now it’s been added onto, but the people love the location.  They love being near the lake in a historic piece of property.  It was a fun job to have started it and I know a lot of people enjoyed that house.

STEVE:  I know there’s a lot of choices out there when people go to look to remodel a home.  Sometimes I have buyers that come in from out of town, buy a house, and they want to redo it, but then there are people that just live in homes and they just want to do things.  What are the top things that you’re remodeling on properties today?  Is it bathrooms, kitchens?  What are some of the things that people ask you to do as you’re remodeling homes today?

PETE:  Okay, Steve.  A lot of the remodeling we’re asked to do has to do with upgrades for empty nesters, folks that have nice big houses and their family is kind of leaving, gone out.  So they want to get something that’s a little easier to maintain, something that a lot of times is brand new or fixed up or up to date so that they don’t have so much maintenance.  They’d like to go to maybe a smaller house.

So frequently, they’ll work with their realtor.  They’ll find a smaller place in a nice neighborhood, maybe a rambler where they can have single-level living.  And then we’ll just go through the house, make the rooms bigger.  Like we’ll combine a kitchen and a dining room, make it a kitchen and great room area.  We’ll go into the master bedroom for example and take two bedrooms and combine them into a master bedroom suite.  Sometimes they’ll move into the lower levels and make it into a theater room and just kind of take the old things that are kind of outdated and modernize and make them new.

We do a lot of bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling because obviously things change and appliances wear out and people want bigger spaces.  So old structures that can be rehabbed into newer spaces is a big part of our business.

STEVE:  I know there’s a lot of people that go out and do some kinds of redecorating or remodeling, but Pete, what makes it different when you’re going in to help somebody remodel a house?

PETE:  Well, Steve, that’s a great question.  Embarking on the remodeling process.  What do you do?  How do you go about it?  I like to look at the structure and the property the customer’s purchased and then find out what the customer’s goals are.  And then I try to think of the most economical ways to get their desires, their wishes, their dreams put into a piece of real estate.  I have a background in architecture and I used to be an architect in my younger years.

My dad was a building contractor.  So the combination of those design and building skills I use to price and design what the customer wants to do and what they need.  And then I usually get a schematic drawing and go back and forth with the customer a couple of times before I start to price out the ideas.  But I usually keep in mind all the time what the customer’s budget is going to be  and that’s of course a really big deal.  The customers though, they drive the program.  They drive the design process and they drive the pricing process.  Always being careful we don’t get out of line with either one. 

So once I get a price in line that looks like it’s going to meet the customer’s needs, then I bid the job competitively with other subcontractors to find out what the real numbers are going to be.  And it’s really great if the customer can kind of know what they want.  Sometimes they pick out scraps out of magazines—pictures and photographs and things that help me know what their design ideas might be.  And then I incorporate those into the building process, incorporate them into the pricing, and then I can direct them towards places that they can make selections at.

Selections for tile and cabinets and countertops and bathroom fixtures—all sorts of things like that.  And then with my design background and my engineering background, I’m able to know how to structure the building and structure the spaces so that they can work and work well and get a real design that really works, that can really be built and can really meet the budget.

STEVE:  Well, Pete, thanks for coming in today, and I appreciate you just sharing all your wisdom.  What’s the best way for people to get a hold of you?

PETE:  Well, we’d love to have a phone call.  And just call Pete Boyer Construction at 952-474-8077, and we’re in Minnetonka and we’d just love to talk to our customers soon and meet them at the office or come over and meet them at the house, wherever they want to be, and see what they want to do, where they want to go.