At 24, David Vinje was building his own home on the weekends. Now, with over 11 years in the business, Vinje transforms the suburban homes of others in Minnesota.
The owner of Attics to Basements Building and Renovations completed the remodel of Maple Grove couple Deb and Michael Bray’s kitchen last November, after three months on the job. The result? A space open for cooking and gathering with the whole family, all designed in a craftsman style.
“The big, open room pulls everyone together,” says Vinje. “It transformed the whole floor.”
The couple was pleased with the vision Vinje had for the project after their initial meeting at a home and garden show. Their goals were to make better use of the space, incorporate a center island and add new cabinetry in a kitchen that was falling apart. “If you know what you want it to look like, I can tell you how much it costs and why,” says Vinje.
“Of all the people that gave us quotes, David was the only one who saw the possibility,” Michael says. The largest impact was made in removing the wall between the front dining room and kitchen, a space now nothing like its predecessor. “He always wanted us to be happy. We changed a few things and he always asked, ‘Is this what you want?’”
After cooking with an electric stove for 20 years, the Brays are excited to make use of their newly remodeled kitchen. “It absolutely feels completely different in here,” Michael says of the new space.
“It’s hard to remember what it was.”
“I’m excited to entertain and have people over,” says Deb. The previous space was slowly becoming another storage area; now it’s an open, light-filled dining area.
What surprised the couple most was—the bane of remodeling—the cost. But having established open dialogue with Vinje, the Brays were able to make informed decisions about the budget throughout the process.
In addition to understanding what was possible, Vinje brought in designer Shelly Dau and used his own design sensibilities to bring the kitchen dream to life. Being a contractor, you would imagine Vinje being the big-picture guy, but much of his work lies in the details that don’t always catch the eye. For instance, the upper lights on the kitchen cabinetry may seem superfluous up close, but the impact is appreciated in the room, which showcases the tilework in the backsplash. Another detail: The floors are covered with bamboo flooring strong enough to endure the wear-and-tear of the couple’s four dogs.
Vinje was asked to incorporate an island in the kitchen and, with a little problem-solving, ended up with a solution that matched the space and style. These small details bring distinction and, for clients, it’s worth the wait.
“If you’re going to live there for 10 years, what’s two-to-four months?” says Vinje.
After more than a decade in business, you could say Vinje’s seen it all. His experiences have been largely positive, something he credits to his clients. Home improvement websites have peaked interest and given Vinje a look into the styles many clients desire. “If you have a bunch of pictures, it helps,” he says. “We love Pinterest.”
While working, Vinje has added certifications over the years. He’s most recently been named a Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodeler by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. Starting in the industry at a young age, he was accustomed to being passed over for older contractors with the same, if not less, experience.
“I already met the criteria nine years ago. I can say I’ve done all of this work and scored better than other guys,” he says of his newly acquired certification.
The certifications add credibility, but meeting and working with clients has long been Vinje’s favorite part of the job, building rapport and working as projects change and develop.
If you need a place to start with a home renovation project, Vinje advises talking about budget, especially if there is more than one person making household decisions. What’s more, having a decent safety net available for the inevitable hiccup is essential. Remodeling is an expensive game, and you’re more likely than not to run into something that’ll hassle your budget. Having an experienced contractor helps when you get to the bumps on the journey.
“Interview a few different contractors,” Vinje says. “The devil is in the details.”
No doubt, the details will remain Vinje’s specialty, and his love of the everyday work, evident. “It’s never the same thing,” says Vinje. “It’s always something different.”
Cabinets - Rift cut oak with custom stain – Mission style with hammered hardware
Floor - Fossilized bamboo Hardwood – Mocha
Backsplash - Imperial White ceramic subway tile
Countertops - Hyena Black 3 cm. with stainless steel farm sink
Paint color - Natural Linen
Attics to Basements Building
and Renovations, Inc