Once Upon a Dream

One company’s journey from cabinets to new construction

Keven Schmidt is an affable guy. His voice is as chipper at six o’clock in the morning, when his day gets going, as it is late in the evening when he’s winding down. It’s hard, maybe even impossible, to catch him sounding anything less than enthusiastic.

Of course in this instance it helps that he’s talking about Dreamhouse by Dream Kitchens. It’s a relatively new endeavor for the company that began as a cabinet manufacturer twenty-eight years ago. Since then, Dream Kitchens has branched into whole-house remodeling and has opened full-blown retail stores in Madison and Delafield.

Just last August, Schmidt steered his company into new home design and construction. Dream Kitchens will soon be breaking ground on its first home, and Schmidt is understandably excited. “It’s great. It’s wonderful,” he says.

Dreamhouse by Dream Kitchens goes about the design process somewhat differently from its competitors. Schmidt says the company relies on a sophisticated 3D virtual-design program that provides clients with a much more accurate idea of what their designs will look like when built and what their budgets can accomplish. The program actually allows for virtual walk-throughs, lighting adjustments and other manipulations that help clients visualize the end result.

“We design from the inside out,” Schmidt points out, explaining that the first focus of  Dreamhouse by Dream Kitchens is to perfect the layout and functionality that clients want. The exterior comes later so that the interior is not constrained at the outset by the home’s footprint. Plus, it all happens right in the store, so customers can make their selections right then and there if they like.

“The clients that we’ve worked with love the program,” Schmidt says.

Dream Kitchens also keeps the vast majority of the design and construction in-house. The company hires-out the concrete work, while most of the other trades are handled by employees, not subcontractors. This gives Schmidt more control of scheduling and quality, which he says leads to a better end-product and one that rarely exceeds the client’s budget.

Schmidt loves his work, but he says that the best part is seeing the customers’ reactions when they first see their new spaces, which are their soon-to-be new homes, for the first time. “That’s always been the treat, no matter what we’re doing,” he says. “It’s amazing.”

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