Making things better is Northbrook builder’s passion
Dave Lupfer stands in his client, Betsy Weiss's kitchen, which was part of her firs- floor remodel earlier this year. | Jackie Pilossoph~for Sun Times Media
1500 Shermer Road, Northbrook
Updated: January 16, 2013 8:14AM
NORTHBROOK — Betsy Weiss and her husband, Jim had been considering remodeling the first floor of their Northbrook home for several years. When they finally decided it was time, they knew exactly who to call: Dave Lupfer, owner of Northbrook-based Lupfer Builders.
“I had seen Dave’s work in so many of my friend’s homes all around town, but the house that sent me over the edge was a friend of mine’s whose house I’d seen before and after,” said Betsy Weiss, whose entire first floor, including the kitchen, living room, dining room, bathroom, laundry room and foyer was recently remodeled and reconfigured by Lupfer. “Her house was remodeled in such a beautiful way.”
Lupfer Builders is an 18-year-old full-service remodeling company that specializes in kitchens, baths, basements and additions. Owner, Dave Lupfer is the general contractor, and has four full-time craftsmen who work with him, a plumber, an electrician, a tile installer and a carpenter.
“They work for me full time,” said Lupfer, who is a certified remodeler through the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, “In other words, they’re not subcontractors, and that’s a big deal because I train them, and I know I can rely on them. They won’t be at another job.”
Before starting his company, Lupfer worked for a real estate developer for 10 years, and said every time he would go to a construction site, he was so much more interested in the construction aspect of the project than the real estate part of it.
Lupfer also had a job several years ago running the installation department of a home improvement store in Chicago, and said that experience helped him learn the construction business.
“I sold kitchens and baths, and I supervised the installations,” said Lupfer, who holds a BS in Economics from Northern Illinois University. “Through that, I learned the different trades, the drywall and the stages and steps of the process.”
According to Lupfer, there are three stages of a remodeling project. First is the initial assessment or design, next comes the construction, and last is the client using and enjoying it.
“I love the whole process,” he said. “It’s really gratifying. I enjoy the challenges and solving problems, and I love that it’s tangible and I’m building things and fixing things and making things better.”
“I’m madly in love with our first floor,” said Weiss, “Our family’s whole dynamic has changed. We now eat dinner together every night, and we can entertain family and friends in a much better space and a much more comfortable space.”
Lupfer partners with various designers for different clients, but works mostly with designer, Dallas Smith, who has been in the business for 40 years.
“Dave and I make a great team,” said Smith, who has a construction background and who has also designed industrial kitchens. “Dave does a nice job and he’s fair, and I’m good at space planning and giving people more options and educating them about what it is they are doing.”
“Dave and Dallas were very much in sync,” said Weiss. “It took Dallas about 30 seconds to figure out how to reconfigure our first floor. And when we got stuck, both of them were able to help us come to a decision.”
Weiss described Lupfer Builders as a boutique-style contractor with a moderate price point.
“I’m not the big giant company with the big overhead,” said Lupfer, “But I’m not the guy working out of my truck. I’m mid-sized.”