David Amundson (seated, left) doesn't believe in lead carpenters. Instead, he adheres to a master carpenter system.

"I want my carpenters to love the craft, excel at their craft, and have the freedom to excel," he says. He believes project managers should tend to organizational duties. He'll also readily quote Brittanica's Great Books of the Western World: "Whatever work there is should have as much meaning as possible, and, wherever possible, workmen should be artists."

Cultivating his craftsmen helps Amundson realize another mantra: "If we concentrate on excellence, the money will follow." His upscale niche is 1900-1950s homes that boast large rooms, detailed millwork, hardwood floors, and cove ceilings. His craftsmen atend to average jobs of $60,000, although on topped $80,000.

Amundson's varied past includes a degree in psychology and speech communications, but his vocational thread comes via his grandfather, who built wood boats by hand with handmade tools. In fact, the Norwegian name TreHus means tree house, or house of wood.

Amundson says success has come by working hard and living simply. Perseverance, attention to detail, and a dedicated team have served the company well, too, he says.