The Other Craftsmen

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Unlike an artist standing before an easel, ready to create a masterpiece from deep within his soul, or a sculptor, ready to chisel away at a creation that will later become his legacy, we are remodelers. We are the 'other craftsmen.'

May 01, 2000
Unlike sculptors, remodelers don’t start from scratch.

Unlike an artist standing before an easel, ready to create a masterpiece from deep within his soul, or a sculptor, ready to chisel away at a creation that will later become his legacy, we are remodelers. We are the "other craftsmen."

We come into your home wearing jeans and cap and carry a sledge hammer ready to begin tearing out your old kitchens, baths, closets and even some old memories. We’re the ones carrying heavy tubs and doors and chunks of solid surfacing through the snow and the mud and the rain; then trying to figure out how to gracefully slip out of our steel-toed work boots so we don’t track dirt through the home.

We’re the guys trying to fit the whirlpool tub "just up that narrow staircase and through the first door on the left," without damaging any wallpaper or chipping any paint. We’re the guys whose heads are full of creative ideas and whose hands can turn those ideas into realities. We’re the remodelers.

Instead of an artistic aura surrounding us when we enter a home, we have a name on our shirt and many times we’ve been already pegged as laborers who never finish fast enough or clean enough or perfect enough. We look at the blueprints, the side notes, the change orders and then, from deep within our soul, comes the talent and the creativity. We transform a kitchen or bathroom or basement or family room into a fresh new place that makes a family happy.

We stand back and look at the finished project with pride. We have created this with our hands like a painter or a sculptor. We clean up the mess, load our tools, and leave the homeowner with pride and a smile on our face from a job well done.

It’s OK that the homeowner didn’t say thanks. They were probably just too busy or forgot. It’s OK that the homeowner didn’t notice that we stayed an extra two hours in order to finish before the dinner party they planned that evening. They were thinking of other things. It’s even OK that the call we received the next day was to tell us that there was one screw missing from one of the switch plates. Of course we’ll get right out there; it was an oversight on our part.

Unlike the painter or the sculptor, we do not start from scratch. We do not have the freedom of expression to implement our own ideas. We are given a space. We are told what to do and when to have it finished.

When we stand back at the end of the job and look at the final project, we can be proud. We’ve used a homeowner’s ideas, combined our talents and creativity, and with restraints and limits, have created something new.

This article was written by D.K. Burgess of Home Works Corp. in Grand Rapids, Mich., and submitted to the NAHB Remodelors Council by the Greater Grand Rapids Home Builders Association.

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