A Talented Team

Kaufman Construction awarded bronze in Master Design Awards.

Kaufman Construction was recently honored with its fourth national design award, this time by Qualified Remodeler magazine. According to owner Devan Kaufman, the Master Design Award confirms what he already knew: “We have a talented team of professionals, and this award is a way to recognize them for the quality of work that they do.”

The Master Design Award application process began late last spring and involved completing an application form and providing photos of the finished project as well as details about the remodeling process. “One of the important parts of the application is telling the story about the project,” Kaufman says. “The judges want to know what went into the thinking behind the design and what the goals of the project were.”

The remodel for which Kaufman Construction received the award was a bathroom redo in a Waterbury-area home. “It was an older home, of course. The homeowners, who had just relocated here from Chicago, originally wanted to add garage space, but they also needed to address the cramped single bathroom in the home. Ultimately, they decided the bathroom was the priority,” Kaufman explains.

Kaufman Construction presented several plans, and the homeowners settled on one that utilized a tiny, almost unusable bedroom. “When we began going over ideas and ways to accomplish the homeowners’ goals, we asked about that space,” Kaufman says. “It was very small, didn’t really have a usable closet, and it had a sloped ceiling that made it feel even more cramped.”

The finished project uses all the existing square footage more efficiently, and that transformed the home. What had been a tiny, 39-square-foot bathroom has tripled in size, offering a spacious, light-filled, spalike bath that serves the needs of the homeowners and guests.

“It has all the details you’d expect in a master suite,” says Kaufman. “But it’s not en suite—it’s still the only bathroom in the house.”

Featuring soft, beachlike shades of white and blue, the updated bathroom offers modern amenities such as quartz countertops, a bold blue furniture-style vanity, and a free-standing soaking tub. But the look pays tribute to the home’s historic past, with honeycomb tile flooring, shiplap wainscoting, and a chandelier over the tub.

Qualified Remodeler receives hundreds of applications for the Master Design Awards each year. 2018 was no exception. The six judges reviewed and rated each of the entries in 22 categories and provided written feedback to the applicants. Representing the fields of architecture, remodeling, construction, and design, the judges were professionals from across the nation, including one from Iowa—Urbandale’s Marc Black, owner of Fleming Construction.

According to Qualified Remodeler, being recognized with the Master Design Award is an ongoing benefit for the winners. “They get a chance to be stacked up against other industry professionals—to be able to measure themselves on a national scale,” Black says. “They’re able to use the award to provide additional credibility to their customers and potential customers for their design capabilities and skill.”

Kaufman says those benefits are a nice feather in the company’s cap, but they aren’t the main reason Kaufman Construction continues to apply for these awards. “We really do it to build up our team. It builds their morale to know they’re part of an award-winning team and to know they’ve been recognized for the quality of work they do every single day,” he says.

Founded in 1999, Kaufman Construction is owned by Devan and Tracy Kaufman. The company has always been known for its quality workmanship and attention to design, a valuable reputation they work hard to maintain.

One way the Kaufmans do that is by placing the same value on their employees that they place on their work. “I don’t think we really understood the importance of company culture during our early years in business,” Kaufman says. “And I know I didn’t understand how to develop it. Now we focus on hiring for culture as much as for skill, and that’s made a huge difference.”

Kaufman firmly believes skills can be learned; supporting the company’s vision and work ethic almost has to be ingrained, however. Honoring the team that fulfills that vision is the real reason Kaufman applies for honors like the Master Design Award. He knows his talented team is the reason Kaufman Construction continues to win.