Renewal Design-Build in Decatur specializes in solving “renovation puzzles,” particularly in older homes such as the Craftsman bungalows and classic ranches that are prevalent in the heart of Decatur.
Projects last year in Decatur’s Winnona Park neighborhood near Agnes Scott College garnered the company regional awards that its officials say are among the most prestigious in the industry. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) awarded Renewal Design-Build Regional Contractor of the Year (CotY) awards in its residential kitchen and residential bathroom categories.
Heather Shuster, project development director at Renewal Design-Build, said that judges look at the intelligence and creativity that goes into a project. Judging, she said, is based on problem solving, functionality, aesthetics, craftsmanship, innovation, degree of difficulty and entry presentation.
“They look not only at the layout, the design and the choice of materials, but also at the company itself and how well its teams work together to execute to a higher level. That makes a company like ours really stand out from one that operates out of a pick-up truck.”
Shuster said her company analyzes the square footage to determine how it can best be used for the way the family lives. “We completely rethink the space and aren’t limited by where existing walls or windows are or how the space is currently divided into rooms,” she said. “Ultimately, the design of the home should support the lifestyle of those who live in the home.”
The award-winning kitchen, for example, had been renovated in the 1980s, but didn’t fit the family’s current lifestyle, according to Shuster, who said the designers moved a laundry area that had been part of the kitchen—something the homeowners really wanted—and opened up the area in a way that brings in more daylight. They also added an island and made the room more guest-friendly so that the homeowners could entertain in the kitchen.
The award-winning projects were designed by Aimee Leonard.
As with the bathroom project, Shuster said, the space is more modern and functional, but retains the character of the original home. The Winnona Park neighborhood is listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places and seeks to keep the classical look of the area through any renovations on its homes.
Officials at Renewal Design-Build, who say their company is the largest remodeler in DeKalb County, attribute the company’s success to such factors as passion, innovation, collaboration accountability and the pursuit of excellence. “Every project, large or small, is treated like our own,” states the company’s website, “and that’s why we exceed a 97 percent client referral rate, and our clients are raving fans.”
Shuster said that she and her colleagues were especially proud to receive a NARI award because the organization—the only national association designed, organized and dedicated specifically for service to professional remodelers—“sets the standard” for the profession. Renewal Design-Build is one of 350 members in the Atlanta area.
Contractors from seven regions around the country vie for CotY Awards every year. Projects that win regional awards are eligible to compete for national awards, which this year will be presented in Dallas, Texas, in April. This is the fourth consecutive year Renewal Design-Build has won CotY awards.