FAMILY BY DESIGN: Park Hill resident Debra Toney and her son Tristan create “Three Week Kitchens, Baths in a Week”
Debra Toney, who bought in Park Hill ten years ago and finally moved into her fully remodeled Grape Street bungalow in 2010 (which was promptly featured on the 2011 Park Hill Home Tour), considers herself a builder first and foremost.
She came from a family of builders and has worked in the industry for over 15 years, through a business she launched with equity raised renovating the family homes she and her three kids lived in. It took three live-in flips – in Crestmoor, Cherry Creek and Hilltop – to get her there.
She went from building single-family homes, to interior designing, to manufacturing her own line of goods, and now, as of 2009, showcasing those through her new business, Three Week Kitchens | Baths In A Week. Her son Tristan works alongside her, as the firm’s project coordinator.“I have a sense of how things fit together and I know what can go wrong in a remodel, and that informs my design,” said Debra.
The move to kitchens and baths was prompted in part by the economy. Compared with a new build, the time factor was irresistible.
“Remodel is all the rage in an economy where people no longer see their homes as a two-year investment vehicle,” said Debra. “It’s as much about equity as it is personal comfort.”
Tristan, 28, had always worked for his mom growing up until high school, when he started working in restaurants. After graduating from the University of Colorado, he went into restaurant management, working at twelverestaurant and the Hotel Boulderado, and becoming a sommelier along the way.
“An in depth knowledge of the world of fine wines is never going to hurt,” said Tristan.
For Tristan, joining the family business was part of a natural progression.
“Restaurants taught me everything I need to know about running a small business,” he said.
Debra jokes that the Toney family is their own target market. “The kitchen experience is essential to us,” said Debra, who has another son, Travis, 32, and a daughter, Laurel, 23. “We like to cook, hang out and drink wine together.”
While the Toneys are mum on their secret ingredients, their recipe includes good employees, maintaining a manageable project load, and having proprietary designs manufactured under an hour away, which allows them to resolve product problems within a 24-hour-period.
“I don’t want people to feel like they could have gone to Home Depot or Lowes and gotten the same result,” said Debra. “I want to provide a designer kitchen for less.”
The Toneys also re-purpose kitchens, for their clients who’d rather reface what they have instead of throwing it in a landfill.
“People are most concerned with two things during the remodel process,” says Debra. “How much is it really going to cost? And how long is it really going to take? We get the project specs done before we even enter the house and eliminate the need for change orders by handling all decisions on the front end.”
How do they pull off working in such a stressful business?
“Be detail-oriented,” said Tristan. “It requires a drink every now and again,” jokes Debra.
To learn more about the Three Week Kitchens | Baths In A Week, visit their website at threeweekkitchens.com.