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Remodel Now 2017 / 2018

Ultimate Makeover : Your Business Space Fulfilling a client dream

Curb Appeal Industry experts share tips on trending exterior makeovers

Chefs on Tour! VIP event offers food, fun and a sneak peek of the tour

a special supplement of The Olympian

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2017/2018 edition

Photo courtesy of Oly Kaz for Olympia Construction, Inc.

Remodel Now 2017 / 2018


Features 5

Welcome! From OMB President Ron Deering and Executive Officer Troy Nichols


Celebrate Award Winning Projects Tour of Homes and REX awards recognize outstanding work by Marsha Branch


1211 State Avenue NE • Olympia, WA 98506 360.754.0912 • FAX 360.754.7448

Ultimate Makeover Your business space by Barb Lally



Executive Officer

Communications Director

Ron Deering

Troy Nichols

Angela White

Olympia Master Builders

Olympia Master Builders

Olympia Master Builders

Curb Appeal Put your home’s best face forward! by Marsha Branch


Chefs on Tour New exclusive event - great fun! by Angela White and Brianna Bedell


Home Building A quality career path

2017/2018 edition

Vice President

Advertising Sales Manager

John Dzaran

Melissa Jenkins

Key Accounts Manager

Karen McClennen REMODEL NOW


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2017/2018 edition

Photo courtesy of Doug Walker for Interior Dimensions

From the OMB President and Executive Officer



hank you for reading the 2017/18 Remodel Now Magazine! Remodel Now Magazine is a publication of Olympia Master Builders’ (OMB) remodelers. OMB’s remodelers are professionals who serve and promote the remodeling industry. I know there is a lot of hype these days surrounding do-it-yourself projects, and depending on your skills and the project itself, it can be a great route. BUT, often times going at a project alone can end in disaster. A professional remodeler brings expertise and experience to a project, so I urge you to think twice before deciding to rip out your kitchen cabinets or re-tile your bathroom. Heck, I build new homes, and I don’t even think I would take on some of the remodel projects out there! This issue of Remodel Now

2017/2018 edition

Magazine is full of quality information specifically chosen for you, the consumer, to stay on top of the trends in remodeling. You will learn more about interior design, welcoming spaces, curb appeal, what it takes to be a great remodeler, and much more! In fact, you can learn several important tips about hiring the right contractor for your remodel job in OMB’s Executive Officer Troy Nichols’ column on the next page. If you are planning on hiring a contractor, please take the time to read what Troy has to say. I would like to thank the many OMB professionals who took their own time to provide insight and photographs for the articles in this magazine. Also, as you turn the pages, I urge you to also take note of the contractors and suppliers throughout this issue who would be happy to

RON DEERING President, Olympia Master Builders Northwest Family Homes

help you get your project started. OMB also has a website that includes a searchable (by product and service) database of members, along with a downloadable copy of the most recent OMB Buyer’s Guide. Visit or call the office at (360) 754-0912 today. Again, thank you for reading Remodel Now! I am confident that this issue will bring you inspiration along with a bit more knowledge of the remodeling industry.



Photos courtesy of Ramsay Photography for The Artisans Group

Remodel projects should be as exciting and stress-free as possible. – Troy Nichols, OMB Executive Officer 6


2017/2018 edition

We’re here for you!


or the last 12 years, the Olympia Master Builders (OMB) and The Olympian have partnered to bring you Remodel Now Magazine. If you’ve picked up this year’s issue you are, most likely, interested in taking part in a remodel project soon, and I hope the information included on these pages will prove to be invaluable. Many of our qualified Olympia Master Builders members have taken time to share their knowledge and insights with you. Remodeling can be a great way to finally get your dream home without having to sell and move! Or, if you are planning on selling, doing some remodeling projects can increase the value and the marketability of your home! As you embark on your remodeling journey, I have one caveat for you: make sure you hire the right professional for your project. You’ve probably heard horror stories from people who hired the wrong contractor and ended up suffering financially and personally. This doesn’t have to be you! I have listed a few tips and suggestions below that will help you make a good decision: 1. Make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. If you don’t listen to one other tip, please, listen to this one! You can verify this by call the State of Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries at (800) 647-0982 or visiting 2. Ask the contractor to share names and numbers of past customers and the sub-contractors they work with. Call the references provided and ask them about the contractor’s work, their overall happiness with the final results, and their view of the whole remodeling process. 3. Always take a careful look at your bids. If the bid is noticeably higher or lower, ask questions. The difference could simply be in the quality of materials, or they may have missed something you specifically asked for. A low bid could also be an indication that the contractor is not

2017/2018 edition

Remodel Now 2017 / 2018

TROY NICHOLS Executive Officer, Olympia Master Builders

Ultimate Makeover : Your Business Space Fulfilling a client dream

Curb Appeal

on Industry experts share tips trending exterior makeovers

Chefs on Tour!

VIP event offers food, fun sneak peek of the tour

paying all the legitimate business costs (see number 1 above). 4. Don’t hire without a written contract! The contract should cover the specific work to be done, materials to be used, warranties and payment schedules. Also, makes sure it covers the process of making a change mid-project and final project sign-off procedures. 5. Permits protect you! Make sure your contractor pulls the necessary permits and that inspections are made as work progresses. While these things are all extremely important, I also recommend that you feel comfortable with the contractor you hire. You are hiring this person and/or their crew to be in your home, sometimes for a substantial amount of time. Make sure you are confident they are hearing what you’re asking for, and that you won’t be uncomfortable bringing up an issue if one arises. And I wouldn’t be a proper Executive Officer if I didn’t bring up the importance of hiring a contractor that is a member of OMB. Business owners that choose to join their local professional trade association are more reputable and less likely to “skip out” on a project, leaving the homeowner holding the bag. OMB regularly provides members with educational opportunities, information on new products, new rules and regulations, and other industry-related issues. OMB has an on-line directory at There you will find a list of the best and most well-known remodelers in your community.

a special supplement of The

and a


On the cover Photo courtesy of

Cabinets by Trivonna

On page 3 Photo courtesy of

Olympia Construction Photographer

Oly Kaz

On page 5 Photo courtesy of

Interior Dimensions Photographer

Doug Walker

On page 6 Photo courtesy of

The Artisans Group Photographer

Ramsay Photography

Remodel projects should be as exciting and stress-free as possible. We at OMB are here to help make sure your remodeling experience meets your expectations!



Remodel & Repair



2017/2018 edition

Photo courtesy of Doug Walker for Dickey’s Remodel & Repair and Interior Dimensions

Ultimate Makeover:


Your business space

ost people want a home that is warm and welcoming. They often remodel to make it a comfortable haven that embraces their lifestyle and a place to entertain friends and family.

getting dramatic results.

But what about making your business a welcoming environment, not only for your employees but also for the customers who walk in?

“Whether you walk into a doctor’s office or a hair salon you should feel welcomed and comfortable, versus awkward and stiff. How our inner psyche is affected by a business space often determines how we feel about the outcome of our experience.”

That is exactly what businesses are doing in the South Puget Sound, with local experts applying many of the same tools used in residential remodeling and

2017/2018 edition

“With the economic recovery, businesses are looking to do a facelift and get a refresh,” said Tim Dickey whose company, Dickey’s Remodel & Repair, has more than 17 years of remodeling experience and has been recognized often for its quality work. Diane Gassman, owner of Interior Dimensions, LLC, and an award-winning interior designer for more than three decades, explained the importance of perceptions when a customer walks into a business.

Recently, Dickey’s Remodel &

Chris and Jennie McDonald, owners of Lifespan Construction, worked hard to turn their office into a welcoming space.

Repair teamed up with Gassman for a spectacular conversion of a commercial space for Derma Medical Spa in West Olympia that specializes in cosmetic procedures, esthetics and massage.



“The ambiance of the Spa is now like my dream vacation home with a serene, welcoming, warm experience, where a client can escape from everyday stress,” described Dr. Bessie McCann, a board-certified physician and owner of Derma Medical Spa. “Our clients deserve this kind of experience, and frankly, it’s the kind of atmosphere I want to work in.” Lifespan Construction, Inc., a company with more than 20 years of experience in home renovations and remodeling in the greater Olympia area, transformed an outdated space into their own beautiful, one-of-akind design studio that immediately appeals to their customers as they walk in. Photo courtesy of Doug Walker for Dickey’s Remodel & Repair and Interior Dimensions

“We wanted people to feel like they were walking into a modern and inviting home,” said Jennifer McDonald, who co-owns Lifespan

Construction with her husband, Chris. “It has made an outstanding first impression that encourages customers to stay a while and enjoy themselves while they discuss their dreams for a remodel.”

Commercial Remodeling is Like Residential… Somewhat Like each home, each business has unique functions that should translate appropriately into their materials and space planning. “When business spaces don’t function properly, even staff doesn’t feel comfortable,” explained Diane, who has been a design consultant on several local commercial projects including Clarus Eye Center, a Ford dealership and Panorama’s administration buildings.




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2017/2018 edition

“If Derma Medical Spa feels more like an auto dealership when I walk in, it is awkward. Rather than having large glass windows all around, a spa’s natural light should filter in through the softness of window coverings. I want to relax in privacy and feel confident that they are going to fulfill my need.”

“Carpet wasn’t a good choice for the Spa’s treatment rooms, with its use of essentials oils and water for stone massage, so we carried the beautiful hard surface in the entry through other rooms, providing continuity.”

“We brought in some homey elements to make it feel less stuffy. I shopped at our local stores and antique malls to find decor that was interesting and nostalgic to give the studio an inviting vibe.”

The local designer said it is all about attention to detail and the fit and finish.

Materials and space proportion certainly contribute to Lifespan’s newly-renovated design studio. “Instead of having little vignettes of sample kitchens and baths in our studio we decided to design around what a whole home would feel like,” described Jennifer.

McDonald noted that, though similar, there remain key differences between commercial and residential remodeling.

“Often, people don’t realize that spaces aren’t appealing because of a lack of proportion and balance. Is the furniture and decor well positioned and sized correctly for the space? Without proper proportions, something doesn’t feel right.” Diane added that the materials used in a remodel should fit the functions of each business.

“We used products and features that are hot ticket items like quartz counter tops, a contemporary sliding barn door, LED lighting, Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) flooring, high gloss cabinets that we sell in-house, plank barnwood flooring that runs vertically on a focal wall and funky lighting.

“Commercial spaces have ADA requirements that residential homes don’t and commercial spaces also live differently than residential. Our design studio has 12-foot ceilings throughout and one wall is almost floor-to-ceiling glass that wouldn’t meet today’s energy standards for residential homes, but it makes our space.” Tim Dickey has found that commercial remodels can often lead

Our clients deserve this kind of experience ... – Dr. Bessie McCann, owner, Derma Medical Spa

Photo courtesy of Doug Walker for Dickey’s Remodel & Repair and Interior Dimensions 2017/2018 edition



to innovative ideas, just as they do in residential. “In Derma Medical Spa, the existing shower room needed to be converted to serve the need for a laundry. That created a code problem because we exceeded vent pipe maximums for dryer venting. After research and assistance from our appliance vendor, we installed a unique ductless washer/dryer utilizing heat pump technology.” These experts know the greatest challenge in any remodel is to accomplish what a business or homeowner envisions. In these projects, they more than met that challenge.

A More Enjoyable Experience The Lifespan design studio remodel all started when the awardwinning company realized they had outgrown their 1300 square foot office space in Tumwater. They found an old kitchen and bath showroom on Fourth Avenue in Olympia that was going out of business. The McDonalds saw its potential, though the space was terribly outdated and they needed to gut it entirely. Because Lifespan is an experienced remodeling team, their project turned into a family affair with work done by some of the best in the business. They spent months planning before they got the keys to the space, a collaboration that included Lifespan’s project developer and

interior designer, Lindsey Balder. “I used the 2020 Design software to plan out every inch of the new space for the best customer experience,” described Lindsey. “We wanted room for them to sit and relax or to do a walking tour of our products used throughout the studio so customers can get excited and visualize ideas for their homes.” Chris McDonald laid out the floor plan with Chief Architect, a computer design program that aids customers in visualizing their planning decisions. The Lifespan crew was incredibly busy during the remodel so the McDonalds hired family and friends to help with the demolition and remodel. Their lead carpenters would eke out time to help put it back together. All of the effort produced stunning results.

I sat down and listened to Dr. McCann’s ideas and needs. – Diane Gassman, Interior Dimensions

Photo courtesy of Doug Walker for Interior Dimensions 12


2017/2018 edition

“The studio is now such a valuable tool,” related Jennifer. “By hosting the many products our clients can consider, we often eliminate the need for running around town with them to pick out products. That can be exhausting. We can relax the process and make it a more pleasurable experience.”

A Transformative Effect “Dr. McCann was a great client with a clear vision to transform her 2,200 square foot space into a unique spa and skin treatment center,” said Dickey, whose commercial projects include the Washington Rural Electric Cooperative Association in Olympia and the Lacey Library. “Her clients now wait for their procedures in a classy, calming room and then walk down a quiet hall with

indirect LED floor lighting and a barn door entry to their treatment rooms. The bathrooms are luxurious and spa-like. Staff and technicians have a beautiful and bright work station. “Diane Gassman provided the details that fit and worked physically for the end result—the colors, textures, sourcing materials and unique lighting. There are five different shades of grey paint in Derma Medical Spa and that’s why it works. That is what a great designer brings to the table.” That designer described the process that got them the dazzling results. “I sat down and I listened to Dr. McCann’s ideas and needs,” Diane related. “We talked about creating curved entrance walls to add interest and personality, rather than everything being square and cubicle-like. We

Photo courtesy of Lifespan Construction

Installations & Additions Refinishing & Repairs Recoating & Floor Cleaning


2017/2018 edition



discussed ways to ensure privacy, uniqueness and serenity. “Dr. McCann was very aware of having the appropriate counter heights, locations for outlets, data ports for music and laptops to maximize work procedures and the comfort and safety of both staff and clients.” Diane provided a detailed “Scope of Work” for the remodel along with an innovative way to visualize the project. “Interior Dimensions’ team creates a 3-D visual tour of an interior space that provides an inner sense of the new reality, whether it is for your home or business,” describes Diane. “It bridges the gap for those who are visually challenged as we can show the new materials selected in their space before construction starts.”

Photo courtesy of Doug Walker for Dickey’s Remodel & Repair and Interior Dimensions



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The whole process helped the owner of Derma Medical Spa fulfill her dream. “I really appreciated that Dickey’s Remodel & Repair and their designer were open to my ideas and the design elements that were important to me,” said Dr. McCann. “I had a very clear vision of what I wanted this to look and feel like, and they were gracious and supportive in helping achieve that. They simply facilitated my own creativity and added their expertise to help it become something I am truly proud of.”

The Results and Reveal “Our clients feel, as we do, that their mood immediately changes upon entering this space,” described Dr. McCann. “It’s an escape, and despite any stress they may be having, they

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2017/2018 edition

seem to all take a deep breath and settle into the peacefulness here. It’s infectious, and it’s obvious when that feeling takes hold. “As soon as they pass by the curved walls into the spacious dim hallway, they all express some sign of joy, relaxation or just admiration for the beauty. I love walking people back to the treatment room, because it’s almost as if a transformation occurs as we walk down the hall. “It was important to me to design the spa in a way that feels comfortable for men as well as women to make this space universal, flexible and welcoming for anyone.”

Lifespan Construction also noted the positive effect of their project on customers.

told me the space was so inviting that she didn’t want to leave, so we sat on our couches and talked for the next hour.”

“We wanted to set ourselves apart from the competition,” explained Jennifer. “There are no other remodeling contractors in town that have a design studio like ours.”

“That’s exactly the response that we were hoping for.”

“We wanted an office space with a high car count and visual interest from the street to draw people into the space with a cool vibe when they walked in and then enjoy it once they were here. We achieved our goal.” “Towards the end of our remodel, an artist friend walked through the door and was in complete awe. She

Whether you walk into a doctor’s office or a hair salon you should feel welcomed and comfortable ... – Diane Gassman, Interior Dimensions

Photo courtesy of Doug Walker for Interior Dimensions 2017/2018 edition



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2017/2018 edition

Photo courtesy of Oly Kaz for Olympia Construction, Inc.

Celebrate OMB Tour of Homes and


REX awards recognize outstanding work

ust last year the Seattle Times reported that the Evergreen State’s housing market was appreciating faster than any other state in the country. In fact, record house prices landed Washington on the nation’s top five list of priciest states. No doubt beautiful designs, attention to detail and outstanding workmanship are among the factors that

2017/2018 edition

contribute to Washington’s housing boom, and recently Olympia Master Builders honored some of the people and companies who have had a hand in helping to make Washington more beautiful. “Each year, the Remodeling Excellence Awards (REX) recognize outstanding work completed by our members,” OMB Communications Director Angela White said. “There are numerous judging specifications, including special and unique design solutions, aesthetics, using appropriate building materials and the quality of their craftsmanship,” she said. “And winning isn’t guaranteed if you are a

lone entrant, but only if you meet the strict judging criteria.” So in addition to the publicity and marketing value winning a REX Award offers, there’s also an element of pride that comes with winning such a prestigious award. OMB also hosts the Tour of Homes, an event that opens up remodeled and newly constructed homes to the public. “The builder or a representative from their company, will be there to answer questions,” White said. “And there are literally hundreds of people going through these houses, which is great for our members, because it offers them the opportunity to showcase their work in a tangible way.” Like the REX Awards, Tour of Homes offers numerous categories in which contractors and builders can enter, but they also have the opportunity to be



recognized by the judges, by way of the Judge’s Choice Award, or by the public, via the People’s Choice Award. Remodel Now Magazine headed south of Seattle to Thurston County to chat with some of the region’s awardwinners and find out how they got started, what they love most about what they do, and from where they draw their inspiration.

Olympia Construction Inc.

Photo courtesy of Oly Kaz for Olympia Construction, Inc.

In the remodeling world, “Builder of the Year” is equivalent to the Oscar’s “Best Actor” award. Simply put, it’s a big deal! Last December it was Olympia Construction Inc. that claimed the title. “I’m not very good at awards you know, but “Builder of the Year”

truly meant a lot to me because it was awarded by my peers,” Olympia Constuction Inc.’s owner Mike Auderer said. In business for 14 years, Auderer, noted that he always liked putting pieces together to make something. Before trying his hand at construction and remodeling, Mike owned a machine shop, but after building his own home, he pretty much found his calling in construction. They say figure out what you love, and do it, and you’ll never work a day in your life. That’s exactly what Mike did, and the fact that he just happened to stumble upon his passion invites a chuckle whenever he reminisces about it. Starting out on his own with just a desk and a laptop at home, and a storage unit to house his tools, Auderer now employs 12. Back then he was building simple decks. Today

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2017/2018 edition

he and his team build high-end custom homes and multi-use, three story buildings. New construction projects are what Mike is most passionate about. “They are fast paced, and it’s all about scheduling,” he said. With a new Multi-Use project on the horizon, Auderer is brimming with excitement, but, he’s staying mum about it for now. Averaging some two or three awards a year, for a total of 30+ since Olympia Construction opened its doors, Auderer and his team have won in every category. Some of his most outstanding work can be found in remodeled kitchens and bathrooms throughout Thurston County. “New construction is my passion, but I do love the challenge of a remodel job,” he said. “You never

know what you’ll discover when you open up a wall.” Topping the list of projects Mike is most proud of is a $450,000 local whole-house remodel with 1,800 sq. ft. of heated flooring and tile throughout. “It was pretty spectacular; the whole thing was over the top.” he said. “We even put a toilet in the shower.” Auderer and his team had 10 weeks to complete what was essentially a 20week job, but excited by the scheduling process and always up for a challenge, he said what seemed like an impossible timeline simply made the project that much more exiting. “We weren’t able to get them in by Christmas like we wanted,” Auderer said. “But we got them in by New Year’s.” Olympia Construction, Inc., also took home the 2016 REX Award for

“Aging in Place Universal Design,” and Auderer, who served as OMB President last year, won the organization’s “Recruiter of the Year” award, which is given to the member or members who recruit the highest number of OMB members throughout the year. Auderer shared the 2016 award with John Johnson of Johnson Custom Homes LLC.

John Erwin Remodeling Inc. “Mr. Peabody and I will get into the time machine and go back to 1985, at Gig Harbor High School,” John Erwin quipped when asked about his first realization that he was destined for a career in construction. 1985 was the year he graduated, and Erwin’s favorite class was Industrial Arts.

It was pretty spectacular; the whole thing was over the top. – Mike Auderer, Olympia Construction, Inc.

Photos courtesy of Poppi Photography for The Artisans Group 2017/2018 edition



“I loved it, and I excelled in it,” Erwin said. “And in my senior year I built an eight and a half foot wooden sail boat, and when I built it, I joked with my buddies that one day, I am going to teach my grandkids how to sail in this thing.” That boat, for which he won a National Scholastic Achievement Award, now hangs in the office of John Erwin Remodeling Incorporated, above their conference table, and Erwin said he will stay true to his word. “I AM going to teach my grandkids how to sail in this old thing hanging up here,” he reiterated. Fulfillment of that promise seems to be in the distant future, however, because John shows no signs of slowing down. He continues to love building things. And he builds them

Photos courtesy of Poppi Photography for The Artisans Group




exceptionally well. Now in business for 24 years, he’s come a long way since getting started in his early twenties. “By the time I was 21, I decided, yes, I want to be a general contractor, and specifically, a remodel contractor,” he said. “Because I met a guy down in California and he drove a big red truck, and had a big red trailer. He bossed everybody around, and did all the woodworking, and I said that’s what I want to do,” Erwin laughed. In 1993 he started his first remodeling company, Erwin & Associates, with his dad as a silent partner. Back then, it was John, his dog Joey and John’s tool bag, working out of his home, and only on small, handyman-type projects. But after just one year he was tackling additions, kitchens and whole bathrooms. “The smartest thing I did in year

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2017/2018 edition

two was join the Olympia Master Builders,” Erwin said. “Very quickly, my business grew, in part with help from my peers and the referral program that the Master Builders had.” In 2000, John sold his stake in Erwin & Associates and branched out on his own. Today, John Erwin Remodeling Inc. has 15 employees, tackles projects with north of half a million dollar price tags, and Erwin is Thurston County’s most decorated contractor, netting over 35 REX Awards in his 24 years of business. “My favorite thing, or part of a project, is the design work,” Erwin said. “I design and create the projects and then my guys build them out. Seeing your design come to life, and then win an award, that’s very, very gratifying.” With so many projects under his

belt, and so many awards to validate the quality of work John and his team members produce, there is certainly a lot to be proud of, but it’s the project he’s currently working on that is his absolute pride and joy. “We’re in the tail end of one of the most challenging builds we have ever had,” Erwin said of the Sunrise Beach project. The property had been condemned for several years. It took two years to go through the planning, development and permitting phase and an additional year building it out. “The challenge of this project is that it’s a tight walk, you know, not very wide, and it’s on a hillside,” Erwin noted. It’s 57 steps down to the front door, and then another 15 steps down to the main level because it’s

Photos courtesy of Poppi Photography for The Artisans Group

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2017/2018 edition

a daylight basement, and there is no driveway. “So the only way this whole house got deconstructed and reconstructed was by carrying things up and down by hand, manual labor, five gallon buckets,” Erwin said. “But it’s just been an amazing build.” Erwin hopes to finish the Sunrise project in time for this year’s REX Awards, but even without it, his sweep last year was impressive. Erwin and his team took home REX Awards in four categories – Best Kitchen under $30,000, Best Bathroom under $25,000, Best Outdoor Living project and Best Bathroom $25,000 - $40,000. Erwin also snagged the Norm Paulson Award, which is given to the member who best meets the criteria of leadership in the industry, participation in community affairs and high standards of professional ethics.

Dickey’s Remodel & Repair From a farmhand, to an Airman, to an officer in the Air Force, back then Tim Dickey probably had absolutely no idea he’d be the Tim Dickey he is now, one of Thurston County’s most successful contractors. Tim jokes that after getting out of the military, he asked himself the age old question: “What am I going to do when I grow up?” His love of working with people, and providing a service pointed him toward becoming a handyman. “I was making good money and doing things that I enjoyed doing,” Dickey said. “But I wasn’t going to build a business that I could retire from, and that was my goal.” So he worked toward hiring employees, taking his tools off, and

building the business up to where he was just managing it. From his start in 2000, operating from his home, Dickey now operates from a 4,200 sq. ft. commercial building and has his own showroom. Most of his current jobs are in the $25,000 to $75,000 range, and he lands at least one $300,000 job a year. Despite his success, Tim hasn’t turned his back on smaller repair projects. “That was our mainstay during the recession; it was what kept our doors open,” he said. “People weren’t spending money on remodels; they were just repairing things. I was doing business as Dickey’s Remodel & Repair, and customers were cueing in on the repair side of my tagline.” Tim’s favorite projects are kitchen remodels because, he says, they are the most transformational. The

... it’s fulfilling for myself and my carpenters. – Tim Dickey, Dickey’s Remodel & Repair

Photo courtesy of Dickey’s Remodel & Repair 2017/2018 edition



Why choose a licensed, bonded and insured contractor? MIKE AUDERER


In most cases, if you are taking time to do things right – carry a business license, insurance and bonding, and you join a local building trade Association like OMB you’re a standup business person.

I recently met with a lady who had a guy do an addition to her house. He WAS licensed, bonded, and insured but it lapsed prior to starting her project. She was away when the project started and came home to a garage addition built in the wrong place. He had let his insurance lapse, and his bond, so there was no going back and getting that corrected. It’s just a mess. It’s so important to work with licensed, bonded and insured contractors. The lesson learned here is to check the dates on the license and bond also.

JOHN ERWIN During a remodel project you are having a person come into your house, and if you’re like me you want that person to be a professional. Being a professional starts with being licensed and bonded. If a person isn’t licensed and bonded, and they’re not carrying insurance, things go south, what do you think your recourse is going to be? I am here to tell you that you won’t have many options. It just doesn’t make sense to hire someone who isn’t licensed and bonded; yes they may be cheaper, but is it worth the risk? Would you take your car to someone who had his garage door open and a cardboard sign that said ‘tune up $29.00?’ I don’t think so. Please go to an established business that is doing things the right way!

A lot of these contractors want you, the homeowner, to get the permits, and that’s the biggest red flag, because it usually means the contractor is not licensed, bonded and insured. A licensed, bonded and insured contractor will have no problem going to get the permits for your project. The whole license, bonding and insurance process is for the homeowners protection. You can verify a contractor’s license, bond and insurance by calling the State of Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries at (800) 647-0982 or visiting

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2017/2018 edition

kitchen is the room customers tend to be most passionate about. They have their own ideas of what they want it to look like and how they want it to function.

staging of a commercial project. It was the first time OMB offered an award in this category. Tim and his team also won the Judge’s Choice Award for Best Remodel.

finished projects and interact with homeowners who can share about their experience working with the contractor.”

“So for us to come in and marry up our abilities with their expectations and make it all happen, working with a designer to source materials and products, when it all comes together, it’s quite fulfilling for myself and my carpenters,” Dickey said.

“Most importantly, they are for my guys who do all of the work in the field,” Dickey said. “It’s their opportunity to be recognized for their craft.”

Lifespan Construction

Last year Tim and his team captured four REX Awards in the categories: Best Kitchen in $30,000 $60,000 category, Best Commercial Project Under $250,000, Best Whole House Remodel Under $150,000 and Best Aging in Place Universal Design. In the Tour of Homes they captured two awards: A People’s Choice award for best design and

“It’s on the bottom of all of our letterheads, and we have the trophies that customers see when they come in, so it’s good all around.”

Lifespan Construction Inc. opened its doors in 2010 as a husband and wife operation and every year since getting started, their focus has been on growth. Today, President Chris McDonald and his wife Jennie employ 12. Back in 2010, their average job size was $7,000 to $10,000, but now they are booking projects with an average budget just shy of $80,000, some even reaching the half a million dollar mark.

“The Tour of Homes is also an excellent project to participate in,” Dickey said, “because it allows prospective clients to view and tour

“For the first couple of years we were in business, bathrooms were popular, because they were a manageable project for people; they

“Customers also enjoy knowing their home was submitted for and won an award, and of course, it’s a great promotional tool,” Dickey said.

I just loved it, you know. I was always building stuff. – Chris McDonald, Lifespan Construction

Photo courtesy of Doug Walker for Interior Dimensions and Lifespan Construction 2017/2018 edition



could pay cash,” McDonald said. “Now we are seeing more financing happening, so that is helping the job sizes increase.” They still take on small projects though, perhaps because smaller and simpler invoke a sense of nostalgia, taking Chris back to his childhood days, a pre-internet era, with very little TV, where fun was had in his dad’s workshop grabbing pieces of wood and experimenting with various finishes and stains. “I just loved it, you know. I was always building stuff,” he said.

Photo courtesy of Lifespan Construction

Chris carried this love for hands-on work with him through college, and when the yearning for a challenge greater than basic carpentry came, he delved into the business side of the industry, focusing on systems, process and project development.

“I am still very knowledgeable about what it takes to put a project together out in the field,” he said, “but it’s been a lot of fun developing product delivery systems.” Unable to pin down one particular type of project or room he and his team like working on most, Chris said to them, each one is like a puzzle they need to piece together, and that element, and the different levels of customization required for each project make them all favorites in his books. Last year Lifespan Construction netted the REX Award for best kitchen in the $60,000 to $125,000 price range. They also won three People’s Choice Tour of Homes awards in the categories Best Remodel, Best Floor Plan and Best of Show. OMB also awarded Jennie the title of Remodeler of the Year, in recognition of her

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2017/2018 edition

outstanding contributions to the industry.

on his own 20 years ago as a small remodeler.

it feels. Their noses open up, their allergies are better.

With just six years in business, Lifespan Construction can definitely be considered a new kid on the block, but having already captured 12 awards since opening their doors, they are certainly not amateurs. While having the quality of their work recognized does feel good, what Chris loves most about the awards is the affirmation they give his team members that they are doing a stellar job.

Tess bought into the company in 2010, and after the economic downturn, they changed focus, and restructured to take on not only remodel jobs, but also super green, hyper efficient, newly constructed homes. They also both became Certified Passive House Consultants (CPHC).

They also experience and are drawn in by the design element, because The Artisans Group is a design firm. Tess is a licensed architect and they design all of their projects before constructing them.

The Artisans Group At 30, Tessa Smith is the youngest in our group of featured awardees, and she’s debunking myths that construction is a man’s world. Tess makes up one half of the ownership of The Artisans Group, along with Randy Foster who started the company

Passive homes are the latest and hottest trend in architecture. The term describes houses that use about one-tenth of the energy of an average home. “Our greatest success is having our homes open to the public,” Smith said. “Because then they can experience first hand how comfortable the temperature is, how great the indoor air quality is, and how fresh

“These homes really make your soul sing,” Smith said. “And they are really finely built by incredible craftsmen who care immensely about their product.” This focus on design, attention to detail and quality craftsmanship has certainly not gone unnoticed. The Group tackled their first commercial project in 2016 and it gained tremendous publicity, and won numerous awards. The 222 Market is the first of its kind in Olympia and has been billed as one of the city’s top

These homes really make your soul sing. – Tessa Smith, The Artisans Group

Photo courtesy of Ramsay Photography for The Artisans Group 2017/2018 edition



tourist destinations. The team has also won numerous REX and Tour of Homes Awards since getting started. Last year on the Tour they captured four Judge’s Choice awards in the categories Best of

Show, Best Design, Best Kitchen and Best Curb Appeal, and two People’s Choice awards in the categories Best Kitchen and Best Curb Appeal. The Artisans Group also won The Business Examiner’s regional award for Best

Place to Work. Remodel Now asked Tess to sum up what the melding of design, construction and artisanal work mean to her, Randy and their 15-member staff complement, and her response was thought provoking. “If you can create something that is lovely enough to be treasured, it will be treasured forever, like The Pantheon. It’s an amazing piece that transcends our natural inclination to tear things down and build them up again,” she said of the ancient Roman temple. “Truly beautiful buildings are things people want to keep and cherish.”

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Maintenance Program 2017/2018 edition

Photo courtesy of Mutual Materials

Curb Appeal


hether it’s a new roof or garage door, landscaping, or even just a fresh coat of paint, improving the way your home looks from the street can also add thousands to its value. Houses with high curb appeal command higher prices and take less time to sell. With a soaring housing market, among the top in the country, there’s no doubt that

2017/2018 edition

Put your home’s best face forward! Washingtonians know a thing or two about how to sell a house. Remodel Now Magazine chatted with some of the industry’s key players in Thurston County to find out what’s trending in exterior makeovers, and some of the ways you can help your home to put its best face forward. Roofing It may not be the first thing you think about, and it need not be the first place you start, but if you are serious about boosting your home’s curb appeal, you should definitely not overlook your

roofing. Its condition is one of the first things potential buyers will notice and appraisers will assess. “My thought is that if the roof looks good, it sets off the whole house,” United Roofing Solutions owner Derrick Presley said. “It makes landscaping look good. It makes everything look good. So if you have a crummy roof, people are going to devalue the price of the house.” A full replacement may not be necessary. If your roof is relatively new, a good cleaning may be all that’s needed to remove debris, dirt, moss and algae that would have collected on it over the years. Don’t try to make it a DIY project though. Call in a professional with the correct tools and technique to ensure your roof isn’t damaged during the process. On average, it takes a day to have a 2,000 square foot roof professionally cleaned, and costs in the region of $400 to $600.



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2017/2018 edition

If you are in the market for a new roof, however, Presley says the standard 30-year double laminate is United Roofing’s bread and butter, but they are also seeing an uptick in customers who are requesting 40-year-rated, and even lifetime-rated, roofs. “These are usually homeowners in their early to mid-forties who want to live in their homes long term,” he said. “So they are looking for greater longevity of a shingle, because they don’t want to ever remount their roof.” Some material and design considerations if you’re planning on a replacement include, from most economical to most expensive: Three tab shingle, double laminated architectural shingle and double laminated lifetime rated shingle, also known as the 50-year. United Roofing works mainly with the PABCO brand, which includes

shingles rated in 30, 40 and 50 year in various colors. There is also an option for algae resistance so you won’t have green moss or algae growing on your roof. On the pricier end of the scale are your exotics like tile, cedar shake, and metal, which is usually the most expensive. Square footage, materials used, and extent of damage (in the case of a repair) all play a role in what your new, or repaired roof will cost, but depending on the house and style of your roof, Presley says your return on investment, whether it be a cleaning, repair, or full reroof, is usually double what you paid.

Painting Giving your house a good wash is one of the fastest, and most

inexpensive ways to increase its curb appeal. Simple soap and water can banish dust, dirt, and mildew that have accumulated on the exterior of your home. This DIY job can give new life to your walkways and decorative brick, and will cost you nothing more than the day rental of a power washer. If you don’t mind shelling out some extra cash however, it could be hugely beneficial to go the extra mile and get a paint job. It’s the most proffered advice from real estate professionals on how to instantly boost curb appeal. HouseLogic, a national network providing information on how homeowners can protect, maintain and enhance the value of their homes, advises that a good paint job is instantly noticed by, and attractive to buyers, and appraisers will value it. To paint a 3,000 square-foot home, plan on spending $375 to $600 on paint, and another $1,500 to $3,000

You can be confident that your investment in your yard has long term benefits. – Josh McCarty, Mint Landscapes, LLC

Photo courtesy of Mutual Materials 2017/2018 edition



on labor. Avoid statement colors when choosing paint, as this may result in a mark down on the value of your home.

Windows, Doors and Garage Doors Window and door projects usually pay for themselves. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homeowners can expect 81 to 88 percent return on window upgrades on closing. For those staying in their homes, upgrading to insulated windows increases energy efficiency, and provides additional monthly savings.

Photo courtesy of Mutual Materials

Neutral palettes work best for home exteriors, but don’t be afraid to add a pop of color by opting for a brightly colored front door. In fact, it’s recommended. Your front door is the focal point of your curb appeal. Give

your current door a new lease on life by cleaning it up and adding a fresh coat of paint. Clean door fixtures and knobs, or seek out new ones for an even more polished look. And if your budget permits, consider installing a custom wood door.

Garage Doors Garage doors typically encompass 30 percent of the front of a home, so it goes without saying that an aesthetically pleasing door will contribute significantly to curb appeal. The choices available to customers today are across various budgets and styles. Steel doors are most common and usually cheapest. They are suitable for several environments, are weather resistant, and come either noninsulated or with varying degrees of

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insulation. Moving up the scale, vinyl doors are next. They are insulated, designed more for spring weather and are used primarily on the coast where there is salt in the atmosphere. Wood doors are predominately toward the high end. They are generally custom built, one-of-a-kind products and are higher maintenance. Fiberglass allows you to achieve the look of wood doors, without the need for maintenance and they deliver all the benefits of vinyl, but at a higher price. And topping off the list with the highest price tag are aluminum doors. They are used in more contemporary designs and on custom builds. Prices range from $700 at the entry level up to $30,000 for a highly customized product. But just how necessary is it to shell out for a new garage door? John McKinlay, General Manager of Olympia

Overhead Doors, says it’s definitely worth it, especially if you’re trying to sell your home. “In the last five years, garage doors have been at the top of the list for your return on investment, when compared to other home improvement projects,” he said. “Reports show yields anywhere from 80 to 115 percent ROI.” And the nice thing about a garage door replacement is that, unlike most projects, it’s a quick process. The installations are typically done within a day, do not require major advanced prep work and they are not as intrusive as some other remodel projects. “We show up in the morning, or around midday, and by the time the day is over, you have a brand new look,” McKinlay said.

Photo courtesy of Mutual Materials






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Landscaping and Hardscaping In a neighborhood of beautifully landscaped lawns and aesthetically pleasing yards, nothing is more of

an eyesore than the one house that sticks out like a sore thumb. If your home is already on the market, it goes without saying that maintaining the landscape is vital. And, if you just thought to yourself, what landscape,


then, whether you’re preparing your home to be sold, or you just want to make it more of an oasis for yourself, now might be a good time to plan a project. Substantial renovations and even complete overhauls are common on landscaping projects, with backyards being the primary focus. But even on a small budget, there are lots of little things you can do to make a big difference. Outdoor living is trendy, even in Washington, where the rain makes a regular appearance. Style, comfort and beauty in outdoor design are key, but a low maintenance, functional, family-oriented space is what people value most. Rustic and whimsical designs have particular appeal, and Marilyn and Josh McCarty, owners of Mint Landscapes, say the demand for evergreen beds is high. “People want something that’s sustainable, good for the environment and easy to take care of, so we’re doing a lot of rock beds and borders, and then adding some pops of color with flowering perennials and a couple focal points,” Marilyn said.

The garage door is still one of the best remodeling projects a homeowner can invest in to obtain a major return on their investment* *Remodeling Magazine 2017 - Cost vs. Value Survey -

Lighting is extremely popular, and it not only boosts curb appeal, but also provides safety and security. Common uses include adding accent lighting to the house, to trees, and also to illuminate walking paths. If installing wiring runs you over budget, consider solar fixtures. They are durable, eco-friendly, and deliver cost savings since no electricity is required to operate them. When deciding on the best plants for your project, Josh advises that factors such as drainage and shade/sun exposure should be considered, but the most popular and seasonally appropriate choices include evergreens, such as Rhodias, Azaleas, Nandinas and Pieris.


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2017/2018 edition

Japanese Maples, though not native, are extremely popular, Josh said. They require a bit more maintenance since they are deciduous, but during spring and summer, the leaves add a lovely pop of color, and in the fall, when they are shed, the branch structures blend nicely with the landscape. On a smaller budget, Josh advises seeking out less mature plants in one gallon pots. Other ways he suggests saving money on your project include creating your own beds, doing your own planting and phasing out each section of your landscape plan. “Just ripping out your old lawn and laying fresh grass could be one phase,” he said. “And that would cost you $2,000 and up, depending on the size of the yard.” Bigger projects may include

creating new flowerbeds, adding new plants, adding a paver patio or deck and even a fence or privacy wall. Budgeting for an entire backyard project like this starts at around $10,000 and increases depending on project size, complexity and materials used. If your focus is on creating a great outdoor living space for entertaining family and friends, Gary Rust of Mutual Materials advises that you think of hardscape as the foundation of your entertaining space. “Pavers, cobblestones, and bricks are all products that can be used to create walkways, sundecks, patios, outdoor kitchens and dining areas in your backyard,” he said. When you install permanent hardscapes you are building beauty that lasts, and if at some point you

decide to sell your home, these structures will increase its value. “It is safe to say that you will get out of it what you have put into it, and perhaps even more,” Rust said. “So, whether you stay in your home for many years to come, or eventually sell it, you can be confident that your investment in your yard has long term benefits.” Utilizing a designer for your landscaping and hardscaping project may cost more, but can be useful in terms helping you to recreate, or even develop your vision for the space. But just how worth it is it to spend extra on landscaping help you sell your home? Some industry experts suggest the return on investment is 50 to 75 percent.

When you install permanent hardscapes you are building beauty that lasts. – Gary Rust, Mutual Materials

Photo courtesy of Mutual Materials 2017/2018 edition



Chefs on Tour


New exclusive event - great fun!

ood isn’t normally the first thing you think of when you hear about the Olympia Master Builders, but last year they added an event to their repertoire that may make you think otherwise. The Chefs on Tour is a VIP night addition to their annual Tour of Homes event, where a select number of builders on the Tour partner with local chefs to provide the community with



an evening of food, drink, music, and an opportunity to view those homes prior to the rest of the public. “We wanted to add a fresh twist to our already-popular Tour of Homes™, and Chefs on Tour was just the thing to do it,” stated committee chair Karen McClennen. “We were blown away with the popularity of this first-time event and can’t wait for year two!” The Chefs on Tour is an exclusive new way to experience the Tour of Homes. A ticket to this event lends guests the opportunity to mix and mingle with the builders and chefs themselves, in a fun-filled atmosphere. Each builder and chef team has the chance to be creative in their own way by providing a unique experience to their

guests. For instance, last year, Dillingers Cocktails & Kitchen, along with The Artisans Group, delivered a “Mad-Men” themed evening, complete with live music from the era, an oyster bar, old fashioned drinks, and a delightful spread of food, including Ambrosia Gelato!

2017/2018 edition

Janet Kenney, one of the 2016 ticket holders, has already vowed to attend the 2017 Chefs on Tour. She said, “[This is] one of the best events I’ve ever attended in Olympia! Thank you for bringing it to us and featuring the stars, builders and chefs in our community. It was nice not to have to drive to Tacoma, Seattle or Portland for an event of this caliber.” “The Tour of Homes has always been a solid event, with hundreds of people coming through the houses each day,” said OMB’s 2017 President Ron Deering of Northwest Family Homes. “Adding the Chefs on Tour last year really spiced things up. People in attendance got to see the homes early in a leisurely, enjoyable fashion. As a long-time Tour participant myself, I love the idea of raising the bar by adding this special evening event.”

The 2017 Chefs on Tour is scheduled for Friday, September 15th, and tickets will go on sale at the end of August. The Tour of Homes is open Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17 from 11 am to 5 pm daily and is free to the public. Visit for additional information.

Photo courtesy of Angela White

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2017/2018 edition




Home Building: A quality career path Builders, Remodelers and trade companies around the country are seeking skilled craftsmen to help them build the American Dream, and builders in Thurston County are no different.

The overall trend for open construction jobs has been increasing since the end of the Great Recession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and




NAHB analysis, the number of open construction sector jobs (on a seasonally adjusted basis) came in at 184,000 in November. The cycle high was 225,000 set in July. July marked the second highest monthly count of open, unfilled jobs since May 2007. “The building industry offers so many great career opportunities, everything from architect to electrician to carpenter, depending on what you’re interested in,” states Olympia Master Builders’ (OMB) Executive Officer Troy Nichols. “This is the industry for people that aren’t interested in sitting behind a desk, but those that want to work with their minds and hands, build things, and make things work. The range of options are fascinating and financially rewarding.” Despite all this, builders in this community are still having trouble finding skilled labor. Many people left home building for other career paths, or early retirement during the Great Recession, and they aren’t returning. Kellen Mangan of High Definition Homes definitely agrees that we’re experiencing a lack of skilled labor for hire. Mangan explained that this has raised the cost of building a home because the supply of skilled tradesmen is down and the demand for them is high. Rusty Ruiz of Hung Right Doors stated, “The building industry has so much opportunity for kids coming out of high school. If a kid can find a building industry trade that they love, put in the time and effort to really learn it well, they’ve got it made. I know this is true in the garage door field, and many of the other trades; if you have the experience, and are good at what you do, you can go anywhere in the county and get a good job.” Plus, Ruiz talked about the joy of not having to be stuck in an office or a warehouse. Mangan shared, “for those kids out there that don’t have the financial means to drop $100,000 on a college education, they can go to a trade school for closer to $5,000; or in this industry, if you’re ontime and willing to work hard, the sky’s the limit.” Educators, parents and students are encouraged to take a close look at the career opportunities available in residential construction and understand that a vocational education offers satisfying career paths and financial gains. Visit or contact the OMB Office at (360) 754-0912 for more information.  2017/2018 edition

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