When many homebuilders were tightening their belts in 2009, Ross Olsen and Matt Cooke launched their company, Oslo Builders. They showcased their design and meticulous building capabilities with two spec homes in Edina, setting a gold standard for their company that has earned them an excellent reputation ever since.
“It was actually a good time to start the company,” says Matt Cooke. “We weren’t over extended and we didn’t have high overhead. With our combined expertise we could start fresh and build a great team of subcontractors who excel in true custom building, remodeling and superior finish work.”
Matt’s previous experience in logistics management for CH Robinson, sales and customer service was perfectly paired with Master Builder Ross Olsen’s 15 years in the high end local building industry as a craftsman carpenter and site supervisor. With a financial jump start and a core team of select subcontractors, the spec homes became the best advertising a builder could ask for.
Oslo Builders primarily focuses on the greater Edina area, where there is high demand for remodeling and real estate lots are sought after. “We often work directly with the client to locate a lot, many times when it is not yet on MLS. This saves time and money and otherwise the lot is quickly snapped up once it’s listed.”
When homeowners remodel, they may do a total remodel and almost always want to expand their living space. “Remodeling demands specific knowledge, because the infrastructure and systems of the existing house are affected,” said Cooke.
Nothing describes Oslo’s work like a real walk-through and hearing about a home from the homeowners themselves. Cooke says clients gladly open their homes to prospective customers. Oslo works with a number of buyers relocating from other areas, and clients attest to a long distance building process without hitches.
In new homebuilding, Cooke says, “We don’t work from preordained plans or models that can then be further customized. This is all about your home from start to finish. An important question we ask is, how long are you planning to live here? Will this home be flexible as your needs change? First we learn how you want to live in the home before we put together the architectural and design team.”
Matt Cooke describes how Oslo Builders brings value to its customers. “You are working directly with the experienced principals of the company, not a large staff. Ross is on the site every day. And our lower overhead means cost savings for the client. We’re also flexible, and work with interior design details along the way.”
Partners Cooke and Olsen generally work on three or four projects simultaneously, a comfortable pace for them. Most new homes they have built are in the 4,000 – 6,000 square-foot range, a size that can easily accommodate a family and its activities. The partners forecast growth in their remodeling business, from total remodels to additions and specialty rooms, as clients envision fresh potential for older homes, especially in high demand neighborhoods.
By Joan Knight
Photography by Meghan Doll