From the Top: Crimson Design & Construction
By David Sharos For The Sun March 14, 2013 4:20PM
Crimson Design & Construction is the brainchild of brothers Neil (right) and Joel Kristianson, who together have been working in construction and remodeling most of their lives.
Updated: April 18, 2013 6:13AM
With the slow pace of the housing market, many homeowners have turned to improving their living spaces rather than selling and moving on. And clearly, many have turned to a local remodeling firm to change a room or an entire living space into something that has brought beauty and value to their homes.
Crimson Design & Construction is the brainchild of brothers Neil and Joel Kristianson, who together have been working in construction and remodeling most of their lives. Their business was launched more than 12 years ago and has been focused on providing an exceptional level of detail and professionalism not typically seen in the construction industry.
The construction company’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. Qualified Remodeler Magazine, a business-to-business publication with a subscription rate of almost 100,000 nationwide, tabbed the Naperville company last year as one of the top 500 remodelers in the nation for the fourth consecutive year.
Kenneth Betz, senior executive editor of the magazine, explained that the recognition is based on sales dollar volume and third-party input.
“This recognition is significant to the extent that it shows a business has maintained itself and survived, given the hard economic times we’ve had,” Betz said. “Beyond sales and third-party input, we also take into account the company’s professional memberships and its community involvement.”
The Kristianson brothers, who were born and raised in Naperville and graduates of Naperville North High School, say their success is based on each having his own expertise and knowing how to avoid stepping on the other brother’s toes.
“My mom said years ago to us that this was never going to work out and that we were nuts to think about working together,” Neil Kristianson, 44, said. “My brother’s expertise is in architecture. He earned a degree in it from UIC in Chicago. I have a degree from Northern in entrepreneurial management, so I handle the business end of things.”
Younger brother Joel, 40, said the two only talked “about three or four months” before deciding to launch their business, which was incorporated late in 2000 and opened in March 2001. Joel describes himself as “a trained carpenter,” and worked as one before he and his older brother joined forces.
“I do design work, and Neil handles the accounting and helps manage the field, and we both wanted to get involved in what was a good market at the time,” Joel said. “When the recession hit us in 2008 and early 2009, we had to make major changes. We pretty much had to let everyone go, and my brother and I went back and worked in the field for a while. It was tough, but we had to make a decision.”
The company continues to operate an office at the 5th Avenue Station near the Naperville Metra station, and has been making a comeback from simple bathroom or kitchen remodeling to much larger projects. Joel said the company is working on a couple of larger jobs that range anywhere from $350,000 to $600,000 worth of work.
“Most of our clients pay cash for the jobs whether by cashing in some of their assets or just through good management of their money,” he said. “It’s not like all of our clients live in $1 million homes. The majority live in places worth about half of that. So the recession didn’t really hurt us because these people lost their jobs — they just pulled back and didn’t want to spend their money.”
Both brothers say the recognition from the trade magazine represents a nice endorsement of their business and that being in the top 500 is more significant than one might think.
“I’d estimate there are 100,000 companies like this throughout the country,” Joel said. “The fact that we’re one of the smaller firms and not one of the big boys makes this recognition really great.”
Neil said growing up in Naperville and watching it develop through the last three decades means that their business can thrive in the right age cycle.
“This isn’t like Chicago where you have homes more than 100 years old,” he said. “Some place like the Ashbury subdivision is 20 years old, and everyone’s kitchen or bathroom is the same age and on the same cycle. This is the perfect place for a remodeling business.”Copy goes here and so on