Historic review boards don’t intimidate Daniel Steinkoler, and as for old houses — well, bring on the warts. A recent job included replicating the façade of an 1853 Georgetown townhouse, down to the shutters’ scalloped shells. The $1.3 million project had begun as a $150,000 kitchen remodel. And then “we started demolition and saw the termite damage,” he says.
Steinkoler went into business shortly after getting a history degree. Painting, plaster, drywall, and then bathrooms, “then our first kitchen, and very slowly we morphed into a bigger company,” he says. Through relationships with architects, Superior Home Services earned a reputation for museum-quality restorations as well as more modern projects, including a 2008 whole-house renovation that won several major awards.
With 33 employees at one point, Steinkoler deliberately downsized to allow his team to focus on detail-oriented projects. More recently, he overhauled his systems and contracts, and poured $125,000 into rebranding and marketing. “A big task has been cleaning up our client list,” he says. “I started my company so long ago that clients didn’t even have e-mail.”
- Very selective about trade contractors. Has worked with the same small companies for many years.
- Networks through architects, Realtors, and project open houses. Recent open house attracted 125 neighbors.
- Frequent testimony before fine arts commissions and historic districts.
- Restructured for and invested in expected growth in 2010, including hiring a senior project manager with 30 years of experience, investing $125,000 in marketing, and purchasing an $18,000 accounting system.
- Lots of deconstruction work. Salvages and donates appliances, doors, usable trim, etc., to Rebuild America.
- Leah Thayer