To Highmark Builders’ founding partners Jim Moras and Terry Gaulrapp, the essence of creating a custom home is bringing the client’s vision to life. “Each project begins essentially as a blank page because each custom home is like no other and is the result of a personal dream,” said Gaulrapp.
Highmark’s team approach brings both continuity and extraordinary talent to the table. A staff of 20+ includes project managers and carpenters who are professionals and craftspeople in their fields. Many have been with Highmark for most of its 13 years. Two staff designers bring unique creativity and resourcefulness in new home design, remodeling and renovation that go beyond client expectations.
Remodeling contributes to a significant share of Highmark’s business. “Remodeling requires distinct capabilities,” said Moras. “We align client’s wishes with the capacity to conceptualize, structurally design and remodel elements like kitchens, baths and lower levels or additions that resonate with the existing home.”
There is no one set style that you can brand as “Highmark.” In fact, if you want a sleek modern, a classic traditional or a mid-century rambler, they are all within the realm of possibility because all Highmark homes are architecturally designed. An architect is recommended specifically for each project, or may be introduced by the client. Each home design and building project has its own team, including the architect, and every home design is well situated on its lot for optimal style, privacy and views.
“It may be unusual, but our clients really value the actual process of building or remodeling with us,” said Gaulrapp, “and that certainly is our goal. We begin with a plan that includes a realistic budget. All details of how that is spent, as well as where we are in the process are transparent. There are no surprises when the home is finished. And our on-staff team builds a lasting rapport with our homeowners.”
The building process is about building relationships, and that can begin before any remodel or new home project gets started, says Moras. In Minnesota’s higher end marketplace, prospective clients often research homes and builders for some time, even years, before choosing a builder.
“We have built a foundation for trust and a reputation for integrity and top quality,” said Gaulrapp. Highmark has found that showcasing its work in venues like the Parade of Homes and Remodelers Showcase provides that invaluable in-person experience, as well as opportunities for builders and potential clients to meet. Referrals from homeowners are also key to continual construction.
“We believe that all elements that contribute to making the building process a good experience are actually our job requirements,” said Moras. “And we can deliver on our promise to make their dream take shape. The design, character, ambience and creative yet functional use of materials all make sense within the whole. We both design and create the details.”
Highmark builds and remodels in the greater Twin Cities metro and beyond, from farmhouses in southern Minnesota to lake houses in northern Minnesota.
By Joan Knight
Photography by Meghan Doll