Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Castle Building & Remodeling, one of Remodeling magazine’s Big 50 of 2011, hosts a team of professional designers and builders who overhaul interiors with historically inspired concepts. Two design-selection studios display the custom craftsmanship, showcasing a 1940s–style kitchen with cherry cabinets and a 1910s–style bathroom with hex tile flooring and a sink full of Teddy Roosevelt's mustache trimmings.
The remodelers create a mockup of each project using 3-D CAD software, noting any desired changes before installation. They realize projects with the help of artisanal manufacturers such as Clay Squared, whose artists craft custom ceramic tiles using time-honored methods.
Minneapolis St. Paul Plumbing Heating Air began dispatching technicians to homes throughout the Twin Cities in 1918. Though the ensuing century has seen a number of advancements in plumbing and air-conditioning technology, not much has changed in terms of the technicians? care and expertise. The employees, all of whom go through a background check and training, fix plumbing, heating, and air conditioning, and guarantee customer satisfaction on each job. Each job is preceded with a cost estimate, and the company also offers same-day service for emergencies.
The Tile Shop—as the name coyly suggests—specializes in tile for every imaginable surface and aesthetic style, making it easy for DIY handypeople to tackle small home projects, such as modernizing an avocado-green and penicillin-pink bathroom floor or re-grouting a small garden grotto. Underscore a kitchen with the appetizing orange of pirita siena ceramic tiles ($2.19 per square foot), then trim the counters in lizett beige ($3.99 each) for a complementary finish. Pick up a honeycomb pattern of hex matte black ($5.29 per square foot)—the quintessential backsplash for a gothy bumblebee—or add a touch of character to a small surface with a deep green verde butterfly mosaic ($11.99 per square foot). With its enormous selection of floor tiles, wall tiles, mosaics, and natural stone, the possibilities are as endless as a drive across Nebraska. The Tile Shop also has a plentiful selection of grout and tools for grouting it all together while grinning groutishly.
Established in 1960, Suburban Floor Coverings swathes bare bases in a wide selection of quality carpet, ceramic tile, vinyl, wood, and laminate. With more than 3,000 carpet samples, including Stainmaster Series 1000 ($15.95/sq. yd.) through Series 6000 ($30.95/sq. yd.), choosy feet can find the perfect soft surface on which to coyly leave footprints or engagement toe rings. Mannington laminate, tile, and wood flooring (starting at $10.95/sq. yd.) and Kährs wood flooring (starting at $4.50/sq. ft.) reward well-behaved ottomans with a fashionable foundation, and environmentally friendly, sustainably harvested QU Cork flooring (starting at $6.95/sq. ft.) satisfies tree-hugging yearnings without the awkward first date. The flooring professionals at Suburban Floor Coverings also expertly install all in-store collections, including carpet ($.60/sq. ft.), wood ($0.50+/sq. ft.), and tile (up to $1.50/sq. ft.).
The tidiness technicians at Design Unlimited Painting scrub homes with high-pressure washers that powerfully massage away grime and grit to leave siding and trim sparkling. Dwellings can cast off their soiled shells and slip into the more comfortable surroundings of a freshly scoured, like-new carapace, just in time for the bungalow beauty pageant on May 14. Every employee at Design Unlimited Painting has at least 15 years of experience cleaning up after nature’s thunder parties, snow fetes, and sun-baked mud-pie feasts, and the expert abode-bathers happily don all-white garb to tackle every style of domicile, from Victorian painted ladies to modest ranches. Siding, stonework, and decks all benefit from the mold- and dirt-dethroning work of dynamically pressurized water, emerging as pristine as the day of their ceremonial ribbon cutting.