REFINED aptly describes a young company that has already built a solid business in custom home building and remodeling since its inception in 2008. There are no titles among the three partners—Eric Nelson, Mike Jones and Andy Porter—and each partner came to REFINED with significant experience in the home building industry. Partners Nelson and Porter run all aspects of the business side of the company, and Jones manages the construction projects.
“We actually started our company during the crash and we hit the ground running,” said Porter. “We’ve been busy ever since.” Porter explains that in 2008 banks were generally debt-heavy and wary of lending. The new company was fortunate to begin fresh, building a banking relationship that has proved mutually beneficial.
REFINED specializes in high demand home sites, with custom homes in the general $900,000 to $3M range. These are located mostly in Edina where teardowns yield desirable home sites. The company builds between 12 and 15 homes every year.
“We can help clients find a great home site, or they can choose from our inventory of lots,” said Porter. “We always respect the character of the existing neighborhood and try to fit in.”
REFINED doesn’t have a “style” per se, but instead works with outside architects and designers selected for each project. A staff of ten keeps the project flow going, with homes taking six to seven months from start to completion. The partners prefer a competitive and fresh approach to architecture and interior design for each home.
“Our passion is one-of-a-kind,” said Porter, “and I like to refer to each home design as a snowflake—they are all different.”
Once the architectural and design team is selected, the design process ensures that budget and timeline are in sync. “We sit down with the client from the very beginning so we can interpret what they want within their budget. Eric and I are with our clients every step of the way, through every selection. All the legwork is done for them. I always receive the conceptual design directly from the architect first,” says Porter, “so we can control real budget parameters. We manage expectations. Custom home building is a very personal process, and we want to get it right and make it enjoyable for our clients.”
Much of REFINED’s business is referral, and clients have been more than happy to show a prospective buyer their home. “Our clients know we understand the community they live in, because we live here, too,” said Porter. “And our crews and teams respect us because we’re reliable and organized, we believe in communication and we make it a pleasant process.”
Porter himself studied business in college, and interned with a homebuilder. He remembers becoming more and more fascinated with home building as he visited the Parade of Homes.
“The Parade of Homes events are great ways to showcase our product, because this is the primary venue people attend to see the work of builders in their price category and neighborhoods,” he said.
Written by Joan Knight
Photography by Meghan Doll