Author Archives: Emily

Best Home Builder Award!

Best of SoMINN

Thank you to those who voted us Southern Minnesota SCENE Best Home Builder!  We are thrilled to have been recognized with this honor.  Check out the great write up here!

Here is an excerpt:

“Steve Schmidt is a Southern Minnesota guy, born in Sleepy Eye and raised in Northfield. He’s down to Earth, unassuming, smart and just charming enough to put you at ease without coming off like a guy who just wants you to buy a house. He, his brother Greg and the rest of the people at Schmidt homes, legitimately care about the quality of the product they produce and the homebuyer’s experience. After all, if Steve builds you a home, you very well could end up being his neighbor. The relationship is as important to them as it is to you.” – Rich Larson, Southern Minnesota SCENE, October 16, 2015



Now Hiring

We are currently seeking up to two skilled carpenters to join our team. Stop in to our office at 1325 Armstrong Road for an application if interested.

Must have exceptional work ethic, communication skills, and attention to detail.  

“Heatproof” countertops



To my dismay, I read in a Professional Builder magazine this morning that quartz countertops were “heatproof”, suggesting that you can place your pots and pans directly on the countertop.

“A quartz countertop provides an attractive and hardy work surface that’s also a heatproof landing for hot pots and pans on either side of the cooktop.” 

This is misleading and simply not true.  Check the product information of any of the quartz countertop manufacturers (Silestone, Cambria, etc.) and you will find explicit warnings not to place hot pots and pans directly on the quartz surface as this can result in thermal shock.
The same is true for granite.  Even laminate and solid surface products are not heatproof.  While you may have done it in the past without dramatic results like thermal shock, scorching, cracking, or de-lamination, placing hot pots and pans on any of these surfaces will void your warranty.
Protect your investment and use a trivet.

Tips for surviving a remodel

Here is a quick and easy read for tips on how to survive your home remodel from Better Homes and Gardens.

Remodeling Survival Guide

Remodelings may be exciting to plan, but they are often stressful to achieve. Here are some survival tips.

Remodeling usually involves tearing out old walls, windows, cabinets, or other pieces of your home that once seemed permanent. But this dirty, noisy, and disruptive process doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be tearing out your hair, too.

With careful planning, it is possible to survive major renovations. Even though your daily routines may be derailed, you can minimize the inconvenience and give yourself room to collect your thoughts even amid a storm of drywall dust, flying wood chips, and noxious odors.

The tips offered below can help you anticipate the problems that can arise with almost any remodeling project. Use that knowledge to short-circuit the stresses that are a natural part of changes to your home.


Plan for everyday life. Your house may be in shambles, but you’ll still want hot meals, a snug bed, a refreshing shower, and clean clothes. Seek safe harbor away from the confusion by staying at a motel, taking refuge with a kind relative, or even moving into a travel trailer or recreational vehicle. But don’t go so far away from home that you lose touch with the project.If you can, or must, live at home during remodeling, rearrange rooms before work begins. To prepare for a kitchenmakeover, move your microwave and refrigerator to a place where they can still be used. If the water will be turned off for long periods of time, order bottled water and scout out a place for showers. A bedroom may even become a combination living room/kitchen for awhile.

Keep waste in its place. There’s no way to avoid a mess when remodeling. But the tide of rubble, trash, and dust can be contained. Before the swing of the first hammer, work out waste logistics with your contractor. Hang tarps in doorways to seal off rooms where remodeling is under way. Establish a plan for handling waste materials so they will be routed away from sensitive areas, such as gardens or porches, and hauled away on a regular basis. If floors need protection, see to it that they are covered up.

Defend against air pollution. When determining the timetable, pin down the periods when glues, finishes, or other odorous materials will be used. Make certain the house will be properly, even excessively, ventilated when smells are at their peak. Escape to Grandma’s.

Protect your property. Some dust will always drift out of work areas. Electronic equipment, fine furniture, or other valuables should be covered or removed. Also, keep expensive telephones out of the remodeling area.

Communicate with contractors. Keep the lines of communication open and stick to your plans as much as possible. Midcourse project changes often lead to unexpected service charges.

– All text and images are from Better Homes and Gardens.

The Open Plan Kitchen


Here is an article we just wrote for the Home and Garden section of the latest Northfield Entertainment Guide – you can check out the full guide here.

The Open Plan Kitchen

Emily Schwamb Custard – Interior Designer at Steven Schmidt Construction

If you are building new or considering a kitchen remodel in the near future, you might want to consider the open plan kitchen.  It is a trend that has been developing for years and gaining momentum.  Increased connectivity, circulation, and functionality are just a few of the benefits to mention.  While no one should plan a space around a trend, and every homeowner/family functions differently, the benefits of an open plan kitchen are worth considering and may be right for you.

Kitchens of the past were hidden for a reason – they were purely utilitarian, and the idea of a guest seeing the host preparing the meal was unheard of.  We no longer cook and entertain the way we did 50 years ago, our appliances and attitudes have changed significantly.  Dining has become increasingly more casual, evidenced by formal dining rooms collecting dust across the country.  Hosts prefer to put the finishing touches on the meal while conversing with their guests.  Busy moms and dads enjoy the luxury of being able to prepare a meal in close proximity to their children. Your kitchen needs to function around your individual and family needs.

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Most of the lovely folks I get to work with would like some level of increased connectivity with the dining room and living room from the kitchen.  What we do most often in a kitchen remodel is remove visual barriers and correct circulation issues by enlarging existing doorways & openings, removing walls – even structural walls can be removed by transferring the load with a properly sized header, thus opening the space between the kitchen, dining and living room.  Closed kitchens often have dead ends and bottle-neck areas where traffic flow is blocked.  Closed kitchens are typically not suited for multiple cooks in the kitchen with tight corners and inadequate clearances between work zones.


The open plan also allows for greater flexibility when entertaining.  Guests can gather around the island and table without leaving the conversation.  If the dining room lighting is flexible (not a single fixture over the table), changes in size of gatherings can easily be accommodated by modifying the size and location of the dining table.  The island can also function as a buffet with clear circulation in and out of the kitchen.

You can still maintain a level of separation with architectural features such as partial walls, post or beams, through décor such as furnishings, textiles, lighting and color.  Regardless of the extent to which you open your kitchen, cohesiveness is a must.  There should be an overwhelming sense that these rooms belong together.  A well thought out design and plan will be functionally, aesthetically and psychologically beneficial to you, the homeowner.

Whatever you decide to do with your home is completely up to you.  Research your options; hire a designer to get a full menu of options and a kitchen plan that caters specifically to your needs.  Start with a list of needs and wants; think about what is currently working in your kitchen and where the trouble spots are.  Allow yourself to dream – what would your ideal kitchen look like and envision yourself working in that space.

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Schmidt Homes Remodeling wins a Best of Houzz 2015 Award

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Schmidt Homes Remodeling of Northfield MN ReceivesBest Of Houzz 2015 Award

 Over 25 Million Monthly Unique Users Rated Top-Rated Home Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals in the United States and Around the World


Northfield, MN January 19, 2015Schmidt Homes Remodeling of Northfield has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for Customer Satisfaction by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The 30+ year old Remodeling and General Contracting firm was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.


The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Design and Customer Satisfaction. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers.” Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2014. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2015” badge on their profiles, helping Houzz users around the world who discover and love a professional’s work to learn even more about that business’ popularity and satisfaction rating among their peers in the Houzz community.


“Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize Schmidt Homes Remodeling among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”


Follow Schmidt Homes Remodeling on Houzz


About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin and Sydney. For more information, visit

Northfield’s Best

Cottage Style

Northfield, Minnesota.

We love it for so many reasons, and this year it seems the rest of the nation agrees with us.  Earlier this year we were named the number 2 small town in the U.S. by Livability, and more recently by Time, for the best place for a well-rounded retirement.

If you are looking to retire here, we are building model homes in two of the best association-maintained single-family town home developments  in the area.  Check out our Ontario Circle neighborhood, featuring a slab-on-grade model and traditional 1-story model.  Across town will be another 1-story model in the Liberty Park – Freedom Townhomes.  Feel free to give us a call with any questions, or fill out our information request here on our website.

We are also developing new lots just north of the Ontario Circle neighborhood, if you are looking for a larger, single-family, new home development.  Check out the Hills of Spring Creek page for more info.

Click here for the Time article on best place to retire, and here for the Livability article on best small towns.July 11 2014 125