National Association of Remodeling Industry Guide to Good Design

Finished basement company

Above: Finished Basement Company, Photo by Jeffery Bartol

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry, or NARI, is the only professional association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry. NARI connects homeowners with its professional members and provides tips and tricks so that the consumer has a positive remodeling experience.

The members of NARI are dedicated to ongoing training, are knowledgeable (whether NARI MN professionals participate in the certification process or not, all members have access to NARI’s continuing education seminars and are encouraged to utilize current industry resources via trade publications, educational programs, meetings, conventions, and expos that feature new products, materials, and techniques), act  with integrity and high standards, pledge to uphold the Association’s Code of Ethics, and are recognized in the marketplace for their professionalism and respected industry standing.

NARI’s roots go back to 1935 with President Roosevelt’s National Recovery Act and the New Deal. The Act focused on creating codes of “fair practices” and reducing disruptive issues plaguing workers or unions with their employers and furthermore promoted healthier business relationships between companies competing in the same sectors.

In 1956 President Eisenhower established Operation Home Improvement, a nationwide effort emphasizing the rehabilitation of existing housing rather than new construction. The National Home Improvement Council (N.H.I.C) emerged from this effort.

By the mid-1960s, NERSICA no longer reflected the membership of the growing industry and its name was changed to the National Remodelers Association.

In 1983, the National Remodelers Association and the National Home Improvement Council joined to establish the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Today, NARI has 58 chapters nationwide and has members in 49 states. It has truly become “The Voice of the Remodeling Industry.” ™

The Minnesota chapter, the second largest chapter, includes more than 375 remodeling professionals and companies statewide who share the standards and community oriented values of NARI. Members include remodeling contractors, designers and architects, design-build firms, specialty contractors, suppliers and manufacturers, lending institutions, utility companies, and subcontractors. NARI’s Core Purpose is to advance and promote the remodeling industry’s professionalism, product and vital public purpose.  Homeowners who see the NARI logo on a member’s literature, cards, vehicles or ads will identify that member as a professional, proactive, and service-oriented company worthy of their business.

hendel-homes-photo-by-landmark-photographyHendel Homes, Photo by Landmark Photography


NARI members voluntarily follow a strict Code of Ethics, so when you’re ready to invest in a remodeling project, you will have confidence and peace of mind that your NARI remodeler is properly insured and following all local, state, and federal regulations.

Here are other helpful tips to simplify the selection process:

Employ a contractor with an established business in your local area. Local firms can be checked through past customers. As tax-paying members of your local community, they are compelled to perform satisfactory work for local homeowners in order for their business to survive. Always be sure that you do business with a company properly licensed to work in your area. To see if the remodeler is licensed by the State of Minnesota, call the Minnesota Department of Commerce at 651-296-4026.

Look for a local member of NARI—the benchmark logo of a true remodeling professional.

Find out if the remodeler is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau.

Ask for local homeowner references and follow up on them. Call the references and ask if they were satisfied with all aspects of the contractor’s performance. Ask to see the finished projects.

When interviewing the contractors for your project, do not blindly accept the lowest estimate. Ask the contractor why his price is higher or lower than another. Are all contractors planning to build the same project? Have all the contractors considered all the details necessary for your project’s success? Often times, a higher price may be worth the cost of better materials and service. 

Choose a company with which you feel at ease and one that is well-matched to the scope and complexity of your project.

White Crane Design Build, photo courtesy of White Crane Design BuildWhite Crane Design Build, Photo courtesy of White Crane Design Build


Design-Build Contractor

A design-build firm offers quality design and construction services within the same general contracting company. Because a design build contractor understands job costs as well as design concepts, the entire process is engineered to fit your budget and vision right from the very beginning.

Remodeling Contractor

Many home improvements do not require professional design services. Projects like porch construction, roofing, siding, and window replacement can be handled successfully by an experienced professional contractor with an intimate knowledge of materials and methods.


Major remodeling projects require construction drawings for defining a contract and procuring permits. In cases where your professional remodeler does not provide design services, you may wish to seek the assistance of a professional architect, preferably one with extensive remodeling experience.

Interior Designer

Interior design consultants are trained to deal with more than the furnishings and finishes that go into a space and make it look wonderful. They help you to see the big picture (form and function) as well as balance your aspirations, functional needs and budget. This approach is based on listening, understanding and ultimately creating a space that exceeds your expectations.

NARI Certification

Serious professionals with a desire to excel in the industry are eligible to participate in NARI’s rigorous certification program. NARI certification seals indicate that the affiliated individual or company has taken the extra time and energy to meet performance and business criteria that exceed industry standards, including five or more years of continuous full-time employment in the remodeling industry, current employment with a firm that operates according to NARI’s Code of Ethics, completed a comprehensive written examination, complied with all requests for documentation of experience and competence, displayed the knowledge and ability required to perform the remodeling functions, and demonstrated adherence in personal practice to NARI’s Code of Ethics to make certain everybody plays by the same rules through fair contracts, fair warranties, and quality work and professionalism. Adhering to the Code of Ethics is a safeguard for homeowners when multiple decisions need to be made. Receiving certification is a challenging process, requiring extensive knowledge of the industry and a commitment to professional conduct.

Certified Remodeler (CR): a professional remodeler who provides a full range of remodeling services. Candidates must prove they possess skill and knowledge in a broad range of business management and technical skill areas.

Master Certified Remodeler (MCR): a CR of 10+ years who holds another NARI certification and has demonstrated leadership within NARI or within the local community.

Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodeler (CKBR): a professional who provides remodeling services specific to bathrooms and kitchens. Candidates must prove they possess skills and knowledge focused on materials, layout and installation of kitchens and bathrooms.

Certified Lead Carpenter (CLC): a hands-on field professional who oversees the technical aspect of the project, including personnel management and material flow while working on the project.

Certified Remodeler Project Manager (CRPM): a professional who oversees every administrative aspect of the project: customer satisfaction, scheduling subcontractors, record keeping, risk management, and much more. A CRPM may work full time on one project or oversee several at one time, depending on the scope.

Green Certified Professional (GCP): a professional who considers energy efficiency, sustainability and maximizing nature’s resources and energy in an efficient and responsible manner, both in the conduct of their business and in design and construction of a client’s remodeling project.

Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP): a professional who handles renovations that are appealing not only for “aging in place,” but for anybody who wishes to move about his or her home freely, without barrier and without giving their home that “institutional” look. Families who have members with special needs also benefit from a UDCP.


Remodeled bathroomPhoto courtesy of Home Restoration Services, Inc.


A leaking shower prompted these homeowners to remodel their master bath. The L-shaped room had been remodeled in the 50s, but not updated since that time. “They wanted a classic design solution to suit the style of their vintage home,” explains Greg Schmidt of Home Restoration Services, Inc., a Minneapolis-based remodeling company specializing in older homes.

Part of the intrigue of working on older homes is you never know what you’ll find during demolition. In this case, additional space was discovered behind the existing toilet. Seeing the opportunity to have a bigger shower (a project goal high on the homeowners’ list of priorities), the couple asked Schmidt if they could reconfigure the layout by moving the original location of the shower to where the toilet once was, and vice versa. This proved to be the perfect solution to the design dilemma.

Before and AfterBefore & After, Photo courtesy of Home Restoration Services, Inc.

One challenge of the relocation was a large window in the new shower, presenting an obvious privacy concern. This was resolved through a two-tiered solution: The clear glass of the existing storm window was replaced with obscure glass, and the old interior window was filled with obscure glass block, still allowing sunlight to fill the space.

Classic white subway tile was paired with marble accent pieces on the walls, vanity, shower nook and bench seat, while cabinetry details were inspired by existing window trim found throughout the home. For added convenience (especially nice on those cold winter days), in-floor electric heat was incorporated into the final design—resulting in a luxurious, serene, modern space.

Home Restoration Inc.

By Christina Sarinske

Personal Designer

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