New Brighton remodel pandemic perfect

When Tom Schiebout says Tomco Company wants to be your contractor for life these days, it takes on extra weight. Just ask the White family of New Brighton. Tomco completed their kitchen-plus remodel one week before Minnesota’s COVID stay home order took effect. They say their family and work lives would have been way different if they didn’t have the new space and the sunroom Tomco remodeled a few years ago

Brian and Tiffany White
The Whites
Island kitchen photo
Island seating for five

“It was great to be out of the construction zone, but even better to have the nice space because we have been spending so much time together during the pandemic,” Tiffany explained.

Old kitchen and sunroom not missed

Brian and Tiffany describe their old kitchen as a cramped, dark maze and said the old three-season sunroom was too cold to use in winter.  First, Tomco updated the sunroom with high efficiency windows, insulation and a gas fireplace. They also vaulted the low, flat ceiling to make the room feel spacious. Then they remodeled the kitchen and updated adjacent rooms. Now the living room, dining room, kitchen and sunroom flow naturally and share natural light.

You had us at No

Actually, the Whites first approached Tomco in 2017 to add a second story to their home. Tom talked them out of the idea because it would not have solved the home’s main-level problems. He also warned that their unusual single width, double-deep garage could curb resale appeal and payback. Instead, he designed both the sunroom and the kitchen remodels up front and tackled the work in two phases to spread out the cost.

Double deep garage

Tiffany says they have used the sunroom even more often than expected. “We use it every day, year-round,” she said. “It’s got such great natural light and it’s so comfortable with the fireplace.”

When it came time to begin phase two of the remodel, the Whites had Tomco develop a more ambitious design than the more budget-minded concept they had originally considered. They eliminated two kitchen walls to make room for an island that seats five. They also repositioned every appliance. The range moved to the old sink location. The new sink found a home in the island. And the fridge moved left to make room for a command center by the door. This both overcame the door conflict and created an efficient drop zone outside the main kitchen. It features dual USB charging ports and houses the family computer printer in the lower cabinet pullout.

Ambitious kitchen makeover

This was not your typical peel and stick kitchen update.  One of the kitchen walls marked for demolition supported the roof.  Replacing it with a common dropped beam and visible posts would have looked disjointed from the new floorplan. Instead, a structural engineer specified tying the joists into a massive in-line beam above the ceiling. Then Tomco concealed one of the posts in a custom buffet.

“I got home one day and discovered that the snow had been shoveled off half the roof. That was to lighten the load while the temporary beams were up and they hoisted the new beam into place,” Brian recalled. “I thought it was going to be a major project, but they had all of the structural work done in a day. This is why you choose a contractor like Tom with more than 40 years of construction experience. He’s seen and done it all.”

Personal touches

No remodel would be complete without at least a couple of personal splurges. For Tiffany it was the custom arched niche in the tile backsplash behind the quick-cooking induction range. For Brian perhaps the smart refrigerator with its big Bluetooth-connected Family Hub display for menu planning and shopping lists.

tile niche over range
Tile niche over range

Beyond the kitchen

In addition to remodeling the kitchen, Tomco moved and reoriented a coat closet to enlarge the main entry and improve storage. They installed more upscale, panel doors in the closet, bedrooms and bathroom.  They also refinished oak flooring in adjacent rooms to match the new kitchen floor, replaced base moulding and updated various lighting fixtures.

Better closet
Better closet

Perfectly planned remodel

Tiffany commended Tomco for adhering to the schedule and budget they shared via their interactive BuilderTrend software at the start of the project. 

“The accuracy was amazing. It takes real skill to plan the work of all the subs and have the project done right on time,” she said. “The only reason it cost a little more is because we made changes during construction.”

Patience now and no regrets

The Whites can’t wait to entertain friends and host large family gatherings in their new open floor plan. For now, they tell the kids, party time will have to wait for the COVID cloud to pass. Until then, the whole family is cooking together more than ever before. 

“It’s amazing how big the house feels now. Tom really helped us make better use of the space we have,” Tiffany remarked.

Brian agreed. “Initially, I struggled with putting this much money into the house, but (with COVID) I haven’t regretted it at all. It was smart to invest in the usability of our house. It’s not an enormous home, but it has everything we need. I see no reason why we would ever have to leave.”   

For life!

The Whites 2017
The Whites after their sunroom remodel in 2017

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