What’s the secret to running an award-winning remodeling and design company? Have fun.
Have fun, and form a partnership based on excellence, experience and enthusiasm. Sid Levin swears by that philosophy, and he’s a trustworthy source: his company, Revolution Design and Build, has been awarded numerous accolades, including the Gold Master Design Award from Qualified Remodeler Magazine.
“Two guys: We design it. We build it. It’s that simple,” says Levin, who lives in Deephaven.
Levin decided to create the company, which he runs in partnership with his friend and fellow designer Rob Aldecocea, in 2008, when he realized he wanted to take his love of design to the finish line by being part of the actual construction process. Levin’s background is in architecture.
“With Revolution, I wanted to be the single point of contact: one set of ears to catch all of the dreams, goals and desires of our clients all the way through construction,” says Levin. “This is how it should be.”
Levin started Revolution after working as a design lead for a couple of design-build firms, and now focuses his time on large projects that redesign entire houses, or a large space in a home. He and Aldecocea begin each project with an interview. They discuss with the client all aspects of the project, from lifestyle and aesthetics to practical solutions and budgets. They create multiple design options to help the client take an active role in the process.
“Our process allows our clients to pick and choose the ideas that are best for them, seeing the pros and cons of various ideas that demonstrate what can be done,” says Levin.
After the final plan and budget are aligned, the team is off to work on blueprints, specifications and the bidding process. They meticulously schedule out work with subcontractors and carpenters to ensure that everyone is available when it’s time to build. As the home or remodel begins to take shape, Levin and Aldecocea keep the client in the loop at every step of the way.
“Our clients know every day what is happening, which takes the anxiety out of the picture and creates a light at the end of the tunnel,” says Levin.
Melodee Marx can speak to the collaborative nature of Revolution’s process, having been a client multiple times.
“It was a true partnership,” says Marx. “They took all of our wants and needs into consideration. We all worked together and settled on a final plan and the lines of communication were always open.”
Marx and her husband partnered with Revolution most recently on a remodel of their entire house in Orono, which was a project that was a long time coming.
“We really liked the house, location, lot and setting, and knew we needed to do a remodel to make it a fit for our everyday living,” she says. “We waited six years before we decided to move forward with the project, because we kept coming back to this lot.”
As revamping an entire home is a large undertaking, the vision for the completed space changed several times. “They were flexible enough to make changes on the fly to make the final design result even better,” says Marx. “We changed the scope of the project many times throughout and they were very accommodating to make sure we got exactly what we wanted.”
The final result was a home with a flowing layout and custom decor. “The whole house flows better; it’s more welcoming to friends and family,” Marx says. “We have our dream home that we designed, and it’s extremely comfortable.”
Levin’s favorite part of the remodel took a bit of a risk on his part. Above the dining room, which is an open, two-story space, the team built a small bridge to connect the two top-floor spaces. To fill the space near this bridge, they constructed a “wave wall,” a curved section of steel treated to look like the iridescent inside of a clam shell.
“It’s something I conceived of, but we didn’t know how great it would look in real life,” says Levin. “It ended up being a neat effect that’s very unique. We really love working with people who give us the freedom to make their home a work of art.”
Part of what makes Revolution Design and Build such a success is the true passion Levin and Aldecocea have for their work.
“Everyone has a passion for the business, but I think, because we are so hands on, we can uniquely suit the design, budget and schedule to our clients,” says Levin. “Rob and I, being best friends and business partners, can bounce ideas off of each other. We’re both talented and we are able to challenge each other’s thoughts. In the end, we make each other better than we would be on our own.”
And while logistical challenges sometimes come up, Revolution’s collaborative process makes it easy to catch such issues early on. “The friendships we make with our clients are real—we are delivering a service and a product, but it’s an intimate process and a very specialized product that, in the end, creates a bond between the home we design and build for our clients and the relationship that is forged out of that process.”