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Superior Craftsmanship and Breathtaking Design: An Interview with Total Home Solutions

By Kristen Bosse

Please describe a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Total Home Solutions was started to be a one stop shop for anything to do with renovation or the building of homes. We are a full service company and can handle any project, from small Honey-Do repairs, to full building services.

What is your position at Total Home Solutions?

I am the proud owner of Total Home Solutions, and I run the company with my Business Partner Tom. He handles the Crews, and I do the Sales and Design work. It's a great partnership, and we work well together as co-owners.

What are some important things to consider before you start your basement remodeling project?

The first thing to consider in a basement is to establish what you need down there, vs what you want. People try to pack so much into a basement that typically they end up compartmentalizing the space with different rooms for each activity. I like to try to retain the most redeeming quality of a basement in my designs, and that is the openness of the space. My objective when designing basement spaces is to let the client talk for a while about what they want to use the space for, and then come up with a layout that gives them what they want, but while keeping the space open and able to be used for a multitude of social situations. My basement designs are typically not a group of little rooms, but one space used for several purposes. It's a challenge, but hey, that's half the fun!

You seem to specify "Value-Added" improvements a lot on your website. Is there a difference between these improvements and others you offer?

Value Added renovations vs standard "improvements" comes down to one thing, Function. If someone wants me to re-do their bedrooms, or trim molding, or paint some rooms, these are improvements to the home for personal taste, but they have added no significant value to the house. Value is added when you can increase the overall function of your home- and the best way to describe this to anyone is "Kitchens and Bathrooms sell homes". Kitchens and Bathrooms remodels are the most "Value Added" projects you can do to your house, aside from additions. The Kitchen, for example, is where families spend 75% of their time- Cooking, Homework, Social Entertainment, Breakfast, Dinner, etc, all of that time is spent in the Kitchen. When the space just isn't functioning properly, the home's "value" is decreased, maybe not in monetary terms, but in its ability to function properly as a home. Kitchens can offer so much value to a family with things like: More countertop space, an island for seating, better storage, proper flow for cooking, and the one thing that a bank does not care about, but a prospective home buyer does, is the LOOK of your kitchen. Let's face it, the Kitchen is the centerpiece of a home, and if it's beautiful, it makes the rest of the house much more appealing to a buyer.

How do you make sure you continue to offer quality service while remaining affordable?

Maintaining quality service is the easy part, and we do that by having great guys working for us, but remaining affordable comes down to Budget. My biggest challenge in a renovation is not in being "affordable" because if the core reason for a renovation is not met, the budget gets diluted by so many "WANTS". However, if you focus on the real "NEED" of a project, I get my clients the most "Bang for their Buck." It all comes down to a give and take of how much you would like to spend vs what you need. My honesty in giving my clients the most for their money has helped us to establish an open budget for the projects, working with clients to understand where they are pulling their money, and that basically eliminates the thought of affordability, and induces a thought of spending your money wisely. You can remodel an entire house, but if you are trying to put too much into a project without enough of a realistic budget, your improvements are spread thin and don't see the added value of a renovation. It comes down to want vs need.

What sets your business apart from other comparable companies? What do you do better/different than the competition?

We care. Bottom line. When I go into a house for the first time and meet the families it's a very personal relationship we are forming. Many contractors forget that this is a very personal business- these are people's HOMES we are allowed to enter. They are paying for the work, seeing the house get torn up, and then the largest factor- they are trusting us to put it all back together so it's beautiful! Any contractor can demo a house, but can they put it back together right is the real question. The contractors like us that take the time to sit down and figure it all out in the beginning are the ones who shine in the end and wind up with the really great results.

What are some important aspects of your business philosophy?

The above answer can best describe this- we care. We care about the families who let us into their world and trust us to make their homes better.

What should homeowners be looking for in a good remodeling contractor?

Someone who gives you their time, one who makes you aware of considerations before you start a job. A contractor that comes into a house and rushes through the initial meeting is basically saying that this quote is taking him away from something more important, and you can expect the same mentality from him during the job, which is how issues occur. During the initial meeting, this is the time that should be spent sitting down with the clients and asking questions to fully understand their needs. Some of my Free in-home quotes have lasted 2-3 hours because we have spent that time talking about the needs of the project.

Also, find contractors who come with good references. Anyone can tell you they are the contractor of the century, but the proof is in the pudding. Get the opinion of some of their clients, and see how other people's experiences were with the contractor. But be careful of one thing- almost all jobs have their share of hurdles, it's construction things happens, but the really good contractors handle issues properly. That's the biggest difference between a handyman and a professional contractor.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

www.RebuildingMichigan.com or -1-800-520-1140 and press extension 1 for me.

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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

Phone: (203) 913-0483

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