Certified Remodeler Tom Schiebout of Tomco Company was honored as the 2014 Minnesota Contractor of the Year by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) at the organization’s annual Awards Gala on Nov. 20. The Andover contractor earned the coveted CotY recognition in Universal Design for an attractive wheelchair-accessible kitchen remodeling he completed in North St. Paul this year. It was one of 84 projects entered across 20 remodeling categories.

Tom started with a floor plan drawn by Brian Lange of Birchhill Drafting & Home Design and worked with Kevin Ammerman of Outback Custom Cabinets to incorporate special storage and accessibility elements.

Features include a touch-control high-rise faucet, induction cooktop, sink cabinet pivot doors, nested rolling cart, multi-level counters, desk-height food prep area, accessible ovens, cabinet-mounted switches and increased lighting. By bumping the end wall just one foot into the garage, he was able to improve the work triangle, garage access and wheelchair turning radius.

All of the Minnesota CotY Awards were judged by builders, architects and designers from NARI’s Milwaukee chapter. They scored each project for meeting clients’ needs, craftsmanship, functionality, aesthetics, overcoming obstacles and innovation. Here is a sampling of what the judges said about the Tomco kitchen:

  • Nicely done. A+. Top of the class
  • A functional kitchen for the whole family
  • Resale value has got to be awesome
  • Love the different work levels
  • The 12-in. bump out really made a huge difference
  • Rolling cart is a great idea
  • Great craftsmanship

Tom Schiebout with award.

Tom learned Universal Design as a Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS) and has practiced the designing for all ages and abilities approach to remodeling for more than 30 years. He was particularly committed to the success of this project because it enabled the wheelchair-bound resident to prepare meals for her sister and teach her niece to cook.

“It doesn’t get any better than being recognized by peers for doing good work for great clients,” Tom said.