Remodeling for the Test of Time

Remodeling your home requires a pretty big investment and it's safe to say you want your new space to look great for years to come. While it can be a pricey process, it's important to consider the long-term benefits of remodeling your home. Aside from breathing new life into an outdated design, remodeling can help you fall in love with your home all over again. Other benefits include:
  • Making your home more comfortable to live in
  • Redesigning your space to be more functional
  • Increasing the value of your home
  • Potentially making it easier to sell down the road
  • Creating more living space or storage as needed
  • Saving money by improving your home's energy efficiency
  • Improving your home's curb appeal with a few exterior updates
Using the following tips will help guarantee your remodeled home stands the test of time.

Hire an Experienced Remodeling Contractor

Not every remodeling contractor is created equal. Whether they lack the skills or don't understand your overall vision, picking the wrong contractor can lead to disaster. While interviewing potential contractors, ask to see examples of past projects. This will help you get a feel for their work and if their style is a good fit for your project. You can also ask for references from past clients or check out the Better Business Bureau website for any negative feedback. Another thing to keep in mind is you get what you pay for. While it's important to find a contractor that fits your budget, be cautious of those who are cheap and available right away.

Don't Get Too Trendy

While we're big fans of incorporating trends into home design, we recommend proceeding with caution. Trying to do too much at once can make your space look busy and unfocused. A good rule of thumb is to select one or two trends you love rather than a vast array. Another downside to trends is accidentally picking one that doesn't have staying power. If that happens, your space will quickly look outdated and you're forced to either live with it or invest more money to update it. With that in mind, it's a good idea to stick with timeless classics for more permanent materials like floor coverings and tile. Doing so not only ensures your remodeled space will stand the test of time, but can also help trendier selections pop.

Invest in High-Quality Products

Ensuring your investment doesn't go to waste is vital. One way to protect it is to opt for high-quality products. This doesn't always mean purchasing the most expensive products, though. When selecting products and materials, do your homework. Find out what you can about the brand, read reviews, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Picking products with warranties is also a beneficial way to protect your investment. The peace of mind a good warranty offers will make it easier to justify the price of more costly products and materials. Thinking about remodeling your home? We'd love to help! Get in touch with our award-winning team to learn more about our remodeling process. Read More
Jeff Harrison photo

Jeff Harrison, White Knight


Excuse Jeff Harrison if his phone buzzes and he dashes away in his big Knight Construction truck. Don’t worry. He’s not one of those contractors who leave you hanging to start another project. Jeff’s a proud Mound volunteer firefighter. And like his senior project manager role at Knight Construction Design, he takes the public service duty seriously.

Although the name on the sign says Knight, Jeff’s the guy who takes personal responsibility for scheduling trade partners, ensuring quality control and keeping several customers happy and calm on any given day. He’s Mister Detail, a role he enjoys almost as much as hunting or spending time fishing on his boat with his three kids. Well, almost. They’re awfully cute kids.

Jeff Harrison photo
Second generation Knight legacy

Jeff started in construction at 16 working for his dad, a veteran framing contractor who built with Gary Knight. When his father headed north to Detroit Lakes, Jeff stayed on with Gary and began to climb the Knight Construction Design ladder.

In the beginning, Knight kept most of the work in-house, which gave Jeff plenty of opportunities for on the job training. Over 15 years he learned every aspect of homebuilding and remodeling. Jeff progressed from crewmember to lead carpenter to senior project manager. He also earned his Certified Remodeling Project Manager (CRPM) certification from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) along the way.

Certification took two months of online classes, homework and tests. Students from across the country got to share experiences and compare best practices during interactive sessions, which was Jeff’s favorite part of the experience.

Relationships built on trust

Jeff says his Knight days tend to go smoothly because of the trust and friendships he has built with trade partners over hundreds of jobs.

“I’ve worked with many of these guys for 10 years or more. I know what to expect when they get on the project. I know the job is going to get done right and that they will call me if there’s a question,” Jeff said.

The Knight remodeling projects Jeff manages range from $50,000 kitchens to $1 million whole house renovations and additions. He also is responsible for managing Knight’s new home construction, such as the house they recently completed at 132 Benton Ave. tucked behind the new Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Wayzata.

Wayzata House

“I like the new home projects because we get to show off our quality throughout. When we build these houses, everything is quality,” he explained. “We figure people are paying good money and should get the best. It's not enough for something to look good.”

Advice for clients

What can clients do to ensure the best remodeling experience? Simple. “Invest the time to complete all selections up front so we don’t have to reschedule jobs waiting for stuff to arrive,” Jeff said.

Based on scores of successful projects, Jeff also suggests, “Don’t hold back.”

“If you are doing it for yourself, not for resale, don’t be afraid to invest in what you really want. How often do you get to do a $200,000 remodeling?” he said.

One more thing. Don’t forget to replace your smoke detector batteries twice a year. That’s the volunteer firefighter talking.

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Knight captures Triple Crown of 2015 NARI CotY Awards for Outstanding Edina Project

CotY entire house 250 to 500N15_pms287 The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) named Knight Construction Design 2015 National Contractor of the Year last weekend for its outstanding work at a Mirror Lake Drive, Edina, home. The Chanhassen remodeler won in the entire house remodeling $250,000-500,000 category. Seven other NARI MN members won in smaller categories. This is the fourth National Contractor of the Year Award Knight Construction Design has won since joining NARI in 2000. It also holds dozens of Minnesota and regional homebuilding and remodeling awards.


Gary Knight had received NARI Minnesota Contractor of the Year gold honors last fall and then took top prize in the NARI North Central Region 3 CotY Awards in the same category earlier this year to qualify for national consideration.

The triple award-winning project features a 17x32-foot addition, dual-sided Montana stone fireplace, large Marvin windows and doors, expanded mudroom, and enhanced master suite and office.

“The addition modernized the flow of the main level and connected the kitchen and living room to the new sitting/dining room. This made the space much brighter and more comfortable,” explained designer Kristen Peck.

By adding just three feet to the home’s front elevation, Knight was able to match the rear addition roofline and make the whole house look new and appealing.

Gary and Kelley Knight photo

Gary and Kelley Knight are pictured above after receiving the award at the NARI National Evening of Excellence event. Some 160 entries vied for national honors in 36 categories. Judges evaluated the projects on problem solving, functionality, aesthetics, craftsmanship, innovation, degree of difficulty and presentation without knowing who submitted the entries. Read More
2015 Regional COTY Award Winner

Knight Poised for Fourth COTY Award

Knight Construction Design will learn in April if it will be named a NARI National Contractor of the Year (CotY) for a stunning whole house remodeling it completed in Edina. However, its National Association of the Remodeling Industry peers already have recognized the Chanhassen remodeler in recent months at the state and regional levels.

Knight Construction Design earned two first-place/gold Minnesota CotY awards in the Entire House $250,000 to $500,000 category and the Kitchens Under $60,000 category last November. Then, in February, the whole-house project took first place in the Region 3 (North Central) 2015 CotY competition. With the regional win, the project automatically advanced to the national competition. National winners will be revealed at the NARI National Evening of Excellence in Fort Lauderdale, FL, on April 17.

“While we focus on pleasing our clients, it’s gratifying to see our designs, craftsmanship and customer satisfaction recognized by top contractors, architects and designers, said Gary Knight.

Edina Remodeling up for Third Award

The Minnesota and Regional winner that’s up for national recognition is on Mirror Lake Drive in Edina. It features a 17x32-foot addition, dual-sided Montana stone fireplace, large Marvin windows and doors, expanded mudroom, and enhanced master suite and office.
“The addition modernized the flow of the main level and connected the kitchen and living room to the new sitting/dining room. This made the space much brighter and more comfortable,” explained designer Kristen Peck.

By adding just three feet to the home’s front elevation, Knight was able to match the rear addition roofline and make the whole house look new and appealing.

CotY judges wrote: Addition has seamless transition. Took cookie cutter home and made it unique. Great details. Open floor plan yet definition of individual spaces. Marriage between indoor and outdoor entertaining spaces.

Award-winning Chanhassen Kitchen

Knight built the award-winning kitchen at a Highover Court home in Chanhassen. Five out of seven judges gave it a perfect 60-point score.
While well built with good materials, the home's existing honey maple cabinets, floor and woodwork looked dated and the design didn’t suit the homeowner’s cooking style.

Knight refinished the cabinets with glazed enamel, rebuilt the kitchen hood, and gave the center island a furniture look with beautiful legs, decorative grapes and large base molding to appeal to Jenny's Tuscan tastes. They also modified the little used kitchen desk cabinet to accommodate a beverage fridge.

Knight replaced the granite center island top with walnut plank and reused the stone at the beverage fridge and nearby powder room. With refinished floors, updated lighting and a new backsplash, the space went from drab to fab.

Judges commented: “Excellent and clever use of salvaged materials. Extremely innovative: keeping existing cabinet but making all seem new. Fabulous transformation.” Read More