The Horen family (Ryan, Geoff, and Kiersten are siblings, and Rich is their father) bring something to remodeling that few in the industry do: a background in business. Rich (back, left) and Geoff (back, right) were both employed at Bank One before leaving to start their remodeling company, and Kiersten left her position at Ernst & Young to join them.

The company's quick ascent to the top of the industry can be credited, in part at least, to that corporate experience. “We hired experts early,” Geoff says of the company's most important strategy. “We had to learn the business. You can hire people who know how to build things, but that doesn't mean they know how to price them.” Hiring experienced personnel kept the business afloat while the owners learned the vagaries of running a remodeling company.

Thirst for knowledge and willingness to try new things is the other part of The Lifestyle Group's success story. Geoff started going to trade shows, became active in local associations and joined a Remodelor 20 Club. The company did kitchen installations for The Home Depot for two years before deciding that wasn't the direction they wanted to go. But the owners' entrepreneurial spirit has built a reputable company that has won design awards and is highly rated on consumer advocacy Web site Angie's List. Despite their rapid rise, the Horens aren't exactly going to rest. “I felt comfortable after about a year in the business,” Geoff says, “but of course, I still learn new things almost every day.”