A New Day, a New Year, A New Kitchen

A past customer of J Carsten Remodeling recently wrote a letter involving their kitchen remodel.

“My wife and I had finally saved enough money to remodel our 1950s-era kitchen. We Homerwere anxiously awaiting a New Kitchen. We watched the sales for new cupboards and countertops, and I was convinced that my son and I could install them ourselves. My wife, who has a better handle on carpentry skills than I do, had different ideas. She told me, “You can install the cabinets in our kitchen when I can start sewing the suits that you wear to school!” She had made her point; this was not something I could do myself. Within a week, we had hired a contractor.” Ric

handsThe point of the letter that Ric wrote was to know and understand your limitations. When J Carsten Remodeling starts planning a kitchen remodel, we confirm with our trade partners how much time will be needed to compete the required tasks. We also have a very good idea how long it will take to complete the tasks we do in-house. We could do most electrical, plumbing, drywall, etc for our projects, but we know that the professionals we hire will get the job done quicker, and most likely do a better job. In the end, we want to provide the best product in the most efficient manner possible.

Good Luck

Jason- J Carsten Remodeling


Parade of Homes- A great time to look at new designs

The Parade of Homes has started. And spring is coming soon- depsite the fresh coating of snow we have received in the great white north. The Parade is great opportunity to get OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAout there and get ideas for a new space in your home, regardless if you are looking for a new home or just a new kitchen. Below are a couple of ideas to making the most out of the Parade.

Determine your need

Figure out what you want and need. Even the best remodeler can’t provide solutions when you haven’t figured out the problem.

  • Examine your family’s lifestyle. Determine what fits how you live in your current home, and what doesn’t. Make a list and then prioritize it into a wish list and break down the list into 1) must have, 2) nice to have, 3) nice to have, but could live without
  • Take a good look at your home, your lot, your neighborhood. What needs to be updated or repaired? Do you have room to expand outwards? Will property values in the neighborhood support your planned improvements?
  • Figure out how much you are willing to spend.
  • Keep a scrapbook of pictures and articles from magazines and books to get ideas about style and features you like.

Homes to look at

When you start looking at which homes to look at, error toward the more expensive ones.  If you only look at homes that are in the same price category as your own homes, you are less likely to get new ideas. More expensive homes may have been constructed with the use of an interior designer or architect, which may give you ideas that you may not have thought of.

Take notes

While most homes will not allow you to take pictures, you can take notes on spaces that imagesworked well. Some builders may also have pictures of their models online so that you can capture their work for a scrap book.


The Parade of Homes runs from March 2-24 with the Remodeler’s Showcase running March 22-24. http://www.paradeofhomes.org/

Good Luck


J Carsten Remodeling

J Carsten Remodeling earns CKBR certification

J Carsten is pleased to earn the CKBR certification from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).

CKBRs (Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodelers) provide remodeling services specific to kitchens and bathrooms. To become a CKBR, candidates must possess skills and knowledge focused on the requirement of materials, layout, and installation of kitchens and bathrooms.

To qualify for the CKBR designation, applicants must meet all of the following:

  • Be employed by or own a firm engaged in remodeling kitchens and bathrooms
  • Adhere to NARI’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics
  • Have a minimum of five years continuous experience in the remodeling industry
  • Have completed 4 kitchens and/or bathrooms per year
  • Completed 16 hours of continuing education
  • Successfully completed a comprehensive application that details their background and experience
  • Successfully complete a one-day written examination on business, construction, and remodeling practices related to kitchen and bathrooms
  • Submit all required application materials and fees

What is NARI?

NARI is a not-for-profit trade association representing the largest network of professional remodelers in the United States, with over 7,500 members nationwide and 60 local NARI Memberchapters.

As the only national association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry, NARI brings together leading trade professionals from all over the country. NARI promotes ethical and sound business practices for the benefit of America’s homeowners as well as for the industry.

NARI was founded in March of 1983 with the merger of the National Remodelers Association (NSA) and the National Home Improvement Council (NHIC).

NARI Mission:

To develop and sustain programs that expand and unite the industry, and that ensure its continued growth and security.

NARI Vision:

To become the primary remodeling resource for homeowners and professional members alike by providing information, education, and mentorship to the community at large.

Good Luck

Jason- J Carsten Remodeling

Perefect time to update your kitchen with a Free Cambria Upgrade

Now is the perfect time to remodel your kitchen. J Carsten Homes & Remodeling is offering a Free Cambria Upgrade on qualifying Kitchen Remodels. This is up to a $1500 value.

Take a closer look at the benefits of Cambria.

  • Strength & Durability– Cambria Natural Quartz Surfaces™ are stronger than granite. Cambria is a surface that is truly everlasting.
  • Maintenance Free – No sealing, polishing or reconditioning is needed. Simply wash with warm water. It’s that simple. Plus, unlike granite, Cambria will resist stains from common food items such as wine, coffee and tea.
  • Food Safe – Unlike granite, Cambria has been certified by NSF International as safe for use as a food preparation surface. Cambria is nonporous; therefore, food and moisture cannot penetrate the surface — the main source of growth for harmful bacteria.
  • All Natural – Cambria is created from pure natural quartz, an extremely hard stone. In fact, quartz is the hardest non-precious stone that can be found in the earth’s surface.
  • Everlasting Value – With its beauty and performance advantages over granite, a Cambria kitchen countertop or bathroom vanity will add value to your home.
  • Guaranteed – As the only producer of quartz surfaces in the United States, Cambria is covered by a Lifetime Limited Warranty.

Safety and Performance

Today’s busy families demand products that stand up to rigorous use. With Cambria, you can be assured of a product that is not only beautiful and elegant, but also strong, durable and safe for food preparation.

Cambria’s nonporous surface:

  • Is certified by NSF International for both Splash Zone and Food Zone
  • Is nonporous, reducing the potential for bacterial growth
  • Is as food-safe as a stainless steel countertop
  • Resists stains caused by common food items such as coffee, tea and wine
  • Is stronger than granite
  • NEVER needs sealing or refinishing to keep its natural luster
  • Is maintenance free – simply wash with warm water
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty

Green Story:

Quartz is a mined product. It is mined through a pipe, one vein at a time and then is back-filled to preserve the integrity of the environment. Seventy percent of the material that is taken out of that vein is used in the finished product.

Granite is also a mined product. It is mined by destroying an entire area of a mountain, rain forest, etc. Approximately only 35% of the initial material becomes the finished product.


Same price for any of the 96 colors. Same price for any of 9 edge profiles.

Good Luck

Jason Myrlie

J Carsten Homes & Remodeling

J Carsten Homes wins ACE Award

2012 Achievement in Consumer Excellence Award

National Association of the Remodeling Industry, MN Chapter

NARI of MN is proud to announce the newest recipient of the Achievement in Consumer  Excellence (ACE) award. The ACE award recognizes companies that provide outstanding service in quality, responsiveness, meeting deadlines, professionalism, and communication. JCarsten Homes is a recipient of the NARI of MN Achievement in Consumer Excellence award.

What is the ACE Award? ACE – Achievement in Consumer Excellence is a consumer rated award program that recognizes NARI MN members who provide exemplary service. All members who provide products or services to consumers are eligible. Member companies of all types and sizes can be recognized as ACE Award recipients based on consumer evaluations of their work.

The ACE Award recognizes members who receive an average score of 4 (out of apossible 5) on five criteria: quality, responsiveness, meeting deadlines, professionalism, and communication. Consumers who have directly worked with the NARI member rate them in each of the five areas. To qualify members must receive an average score of 4, with no score in any individual category lower than a 3. Members who receive the required scores on a minimum of five surveys are recognized as a NARI MN ACE Award recipient.

Good Luck

Jason- J Carsten Homes

2011 COTY (Contractor of the Year) Award Winners

On Friday, November 18th the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry announced the recipients for the 2011 NARI MN COTY (Contractor of the Year) Awards. The awards recognize excellence in aesthetics, functionality, superior craftsmanship, use of innovative construction materials & techniques, overcoming difficult obstacles, and meeting client needs. There were 79 entries across 25 categories in this year’s competition. Receiving an award is a great accomplishment. The following are this year’s winners:

Residential Project Under $15,000
Winner: Closets for Life
Honorable Mention: DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen

Residential Kitchen $60,000 and Under
Winner: Posch Builders, LLC
Honorable Mention: w.b. builders

Residential Kitchen $60,001-$75,000
Winner: James Barton Design-Build, Inc.
Honorable Mention: DiGiacomo Homes & Renovation, Inc.

Residential Kitchen $75,001-$90,000
Winner: Structural Dimensions Inc.
Honorable Mention: J Carsten Homes

Residential Kitchen $90,001-$120,000
Winner: Bluestem Construction
Honorable Mention: DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen

Residential Kitchen Over $120,000
Winner: White Crane Construction
Honorable Mention: Streeter & Associates, Inc

Residential Bath $30,000 and Under
Winner: Metamorphosis Group, Inc.
Honorable Mention: J Carsten Homes

Residential Bath $30,001-$60,000
Winner: James Barton Design-Build, Inc.
Honorable Mention: Knight Construction Design, Inc.

Residential Bath Over $60,000
Honorable Mention: w.b. builders

Residential Interior $150,000 and Under
Winner: Finished Basement Company
Honorable Mention: Schrader & Companies

Residential Interior Over $150,000
Winner: Jones Design Build LLC
Honorable Mention: Streeter & Associates, Inc

Residential Interior Specialty
Winner: Structural Dimensions Inc.
Honorable Mention: Closets for Life

Commercial Interior, Exterior or Specialty
Winner: Pure Design Environments

Residential Addition $200,000 and Under
Winner: TreHus Architects+Interior Designers+Builders

Residential Addition Over $200,000
Winner: Awad + Koontz Architects Builders Inc.
Honorable Mention: TreHus Architects+Interior Designers+Builders

Residential Historical
Winner: Vujovich Design Build
Honorable Mention: DiGiacomo Homes & Renovation, Inc.

Residential Exterior
Winner: Sicora, Inc.
Honorable Mention: Southview Design

Residential Exterior Specialty
Winner: Mantis Design & Build, LLC
Honorable Mention: Knight Construction Design, Inc.

Entire House $250,000 and Under
Winner: College City Design/Build, Inc.
Honorable Mention: Building Arts Sustainable Architecture + Construction

Entire House $250,001-$500,000
Winner: Streeter & Associates, Inc
Honorable Mention: Sicora, Inc.

Entire House Over $500,000
Winner: Northway Construction Services
Honorable Mention: TreHus Architects+Interior Designers+Builders

Universal Design
Winner: Jones Design Build LLC

Associate of the Year
Winner: All, Inc.
Honorable Mention: Granite Tops, LLC

Best Newcomer
Winner: Metamorphosis Group, Inc.

Best of Show
Winner: Northway Construction Services

Good Luck-

Jason- J Carsten Homes

Dealing with Insurance- Making the most of your claim.

I just finished a NARI (Nation Association of the Remodling Industry) roundtable discussion about dealing with insurance companies. I thought it might be useful to recap what the professionals said about dealing with insurance.

Here’s what we discussed should be considered in your claim.- Costs for:

  • Design- especially if your house, kitchen, garage, etc is a complete loss and needs to be rebuilt
  • Estimating- numerous hours are put into estimating the cost of repairs. A good estimate will be very detailed and will include work needed from all subcontractors involved to complete the job
  • Job supervision- Someone needs to make sure everything goes as specified in the scope of work
  • Overhead- the cost of doing business
  • Permits- required for most large claims
  • Profit-  Everyone needs to make a living
  • Landscaping repair- if any type of exterior work is to be done, chances are the landscaping will get worn/ damaged.
  • Cleanup- of both the site before work begins and after work is done
  • Furniture/ flooring protection- While work is being done so that more damage is not incurred
  • Furniture moving- If it’s in the way, it needs to get moved. Especially important if doing drywall work or painting in a room. It will get messy.
  • Other temporary storage- Large claims may preclude that furniture, appliances, or other large items may need to be stored off site for a period of time
  • Inconvienence- Do you need to stay at a hotel while repairs are being made?

Also keep in mind that if you are a homeowner wanting to do the work yourself, you are not entitled to the same payment of costs as a professional contractor. They won’t pay you for overhead or profit and a handful of other costs.  The pros say one thing “ASK FIRST” before you assume you are covered.

Good Luck