Category Archives: The ADB Team

The Skilled Trades: A Direct Path to Success

Now that a huge number of millennials are buying homes, the US is experiencing housing shortages in many parts of the country. Part of the reason there are more home seekers than available homes is the skilled labor shortage. The skilled labor shortage doesn’t just impact home buyers and homeowners seeking needed remodeling for their current homes, it has an enormous impact on interior designers, builders, and remodelers. Due to an inability to find professionals in the skilled trades, many building and remodeling companies feel their growth has been slowed. Some companies could take on more projects, and serve clients faster, if they had plentiful skilled trades to employ. Many companies have to pick and choose which jobs will be the most profitable, leaving homeowners with smaller projects at a disadvantage.

Times Have Changed: A Generation Disinterested?

As contractors and business owners retire from the industry, there is often a lack of interest from the next generation to take over the family business. Younger generations were often brought up being told that a college degree was the only way to a successful career path. They often majored in industries that are increasingly less relevant or lucrative than the trades or oversaturated with qualified workers and not enough available positions.   

More and more, college graduates go through multiple career changes and relocations in search of an elusive sense of stability. With student loan debt crushing many millennials’ finances and optimism, career changes and frequent moves make it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Some people from the younger generations eventually find their way to the trades through a circuitous path. While it is wonderful how college graduates are returning to college, vocational school, or becoming apprentices in the skilled trades, a more direct path would lead to faster success, financial security, and both professional and personal growth. Making young people aware of the benefits of a career in the trades is a big part of solving the labor shortage.

Initiatives Working to Strengthen the Skilled Trades

Here are some of the initiatives in the industry supporting the development of a strong workforce in the trades to fill the approximately 750,000 positions that will be vacant in the next 6 years.

  • The National Association of Remodelers (NARI) has an education and workforce development initiative. NARI “supports increased training opportunities that will lead to greater access to skilled labor, without discrimination based on labor affiliation,” and “supports efforts to integrate Career and Technical Education back into High School curriculums across the country.”

    NARI has also partnered at the highest level, with SkillsUSA, a national non-profit    organization serving teachers, high school, and college students preparing for careers in the trades. SkillsUSA provides quality educational experiences in leadership, teamwork, citizenship, and character development. They provide state and national construction competitions requiring nearly every skill that can translate into a rewarding profession in the skilled trades
  • NKBA’s Next Up initiative seeks to bring education of the trades as a career option into middle and high schools as a response to shortages in the industry. Next Up endeavors to “recruit and empower a well-prepared workforce that will contribute to the future prosperity and vibrancy of the kitchen and bath industry.”
  • We are Generation T is another initiative with a powerful message on strengthening the skilled trades. Their goals include:
    1. Rallying a national audience to help promote or join the trades.
    2. Connecting people to apprenticeships, training, and trade-related programs in community colleges.
    3. Bringing shop classes back to target cities.

The ADB Family Supports the Skilled Trades

ADB is fortunate to have one of our own family members who has stepped up to learn the industry and work in the family business. We are incredibly proud of our Production Assistant Manager (PAM), and the daughter of ADB’s President, Dale Contant, Sydney Nunes, CRPM (Certified Remodeling Project Manager). Sydney spent a decade in the field before coming into the office as the PAM. She apprenticed for 5 years before becoming a project manager. Sydney was also named a “40 under 40” by Professional Remodeler when she was just 26. She has put her support of the skilled trades into practice, with a focus on lifting up the next generation of women in construction, by participating in Mentoring a girl in construction (MAGIC) camp, an organization introducing middle school and high school girls to careers in construction.

https://www.atlantadesignbuild.com/blog/infrar2020 Residential Coty award-winning bathroom

ADB Wins NARI Regional Contractor of the Year (CotY) Award for 2020

Atlanta Design & Build has been named 2020 NARI Regional CotY Winner, in Region 2-Southeast, for Residential Bath $75,001 to $100,000. Look at this amazing master bath transformation:

This elegant, spa-like bathroom also won a 2019 NARI – Atlanta CotY award.

2020 NARI Residential CotY bathroom vanity, water closet, heated towel bar
View of the water closet, built-in vanity, and heated towel rack

Winning a CotY Award is a distinguished recognition. We are honored to be in the ranks of the best in the remodeling industry. NARI received almost 500 entries valued at over $138 million, and our project stood out as the best in our category for our region.

2020 NARI Residential CotY bathroom with sauna
The client desired an infrared sauna as part of their luxurious space

Our clients’ 90s style master bathroom was dated and dysfunctional: the master bath entrance required passing through a claustrophobic hallway, containing a pair of inadequate walk-in closets. We created a seamless entrance into the master bath from the bedroom, along with an incredible walk-in closet for two.  

ADB is an award-winning design/build firm but we aren’t simply concerned with awards and recognition: we treat our clients as part of our ADB family. Our goal is to help transform your home to enrich your life. Contact us today for an initial project consultation.

ADB’s Newest Kitchen and Bath Expert: Heather Marcet-Henderson

We are pleased to have Heather Marcet-Henderson, AKBD (Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer), as our Design and Sales Consultant and part of the ADB family: she has been with us for nearly a year! Heather is originally from San Diego, but her father was in the military, so they moved frequently. She relocated to Georgia in 1997 to attend The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and now resides in Kennesaw with her husband and son. Heather earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology before she decided to study design, and she received a Master of Arts in Interior Design from SCAD.

In addition to her extensive education, Heather has a strong background in design. In the past, she has worked as a designer of model homes and clubhouses, a design representative for a tile company and a design studio manager for a new home builder. Heather has also worked as a private designer. As our Design and Sales Consultant, she works with clients making selections for cabinetry, countertops, tile, plumbing fixtures, etc. and choosing space planning design options for kitchens and baths. She does everything from drawing kitchen and bath layouts in Chief Architect to suggesting various organizational features for increased functionality.

A Solid Team with Integrity

Heather met Dale, and other ADB team members, 8 years ago when she worked with us on a client’s home where Dale was the contractor. She was applying for a job and called Dale to see if he could give her a reference. He said that he needed to hire someone with her skill set. The timing of their conversation was serendipitous, and it all happened organically. When Heather had previously met Dale, and other members of the ADB team, she thought it would be great to work with us—according to her, it has been great!


Her favorite part about being a member of the ADB family is that “ADB is a good, solid team of people. The level of integrity that Dale has matches my own personal level of integrity.”

Perfect Skill Set  

Heather in her element at the drafting table

When creating design solutions for clients, every project is different, and this is where Heather’s psychology degree comes in handy. The most important part of the design process is listening. According to Heather, clients will tell you about their current design’s problems, but they sometimes either hold back, or have trouble identifying all the issues with their current design. Heather states that “There is not a pat answer for everyone’s life.” She listens to our clients’ cues to determine exactly what they need.

Sometimes, during the design process, Heather finds herself acting almost as a mediator because she’s helping couples compromise and agree on a design. She also helps to steer clients toward what will best help them and give them the most satisfaction from their kitchen and bath. Heather states that the main challenge in her work is finding a balance between a client’s needs, wants, and their budget. She helps guide them to features that will give them the biggest benefit.

Favorite Leisure Activities

Heather Horseback riding in Costa Rica

Outside the office Heather enjoys doing mission work and spending time in Costa Rica.  She loves going horseback riding and hiking, especially near Costa Rican waterfalls.

Two 2019 CotY Awards for ADB

It’s our pleasure to share that we were honored with two 2019 Contractor of the Year (CotY) Awards from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s Atlanta chapter!       

Atlanta Design & Build won CotY Awards in the following categories:

Residential Bathroom $75,000 to $100,000

Our CotY award-winning master bath is luxury epitomized

Our clients’ 90s-style master bathroom had a dysfunctional layout that wasted too much square footage. Situated behind a pair of walk-in closets, the master bathroom was only accessible by walking down a narrow hallway. The large bathtub was a feature that the homeowners rarely used and wanted to eliminate. They did not like the dim lighting in their master bathroom and desired an increase in natural lighting. 

Our solution to the cumbersome layout of the master bathroom was a whole new design. We completely flipped the separate walk-in closets and the bathroom. Redesigning the space created a direct entrance to a new spa-like retreat with an expansive custom closet for two behind it. We incorporated many space-saving features into the design, like frosted, glass-fronted, pocket doors. Not only did the pocket doors eliminate the swing of traditional doors, but they help illuminate the bedroom and bath while maintaining privacy.    

Some highlights that the new master bathroom boasts:

The enviable infrared sauna is tucked in beside the linen closet

•           Infrared sauna for two 

•           Roomy linen closet

•           Heated tile floors

•           Heated towel rack

•           Luxurious heated walk-in shower

Entire House under $250,000

This clients’ 1984 home was dark and had a segmented layout. They wanted to move their fireplace and create a seamless transition between the home’s interior and its outdoor pool/patio area. They wanted a lounging area beside the pool where they could have meals or cool off in the shade. The upstairs master and hall bathrooms also needed to be updated.

Our team produced an entire-house remodeling plan to transform this family’s home and enrich their lives. To create an open concept on the main level, we relocated the downstairs bathroom and pantry from the middle of the home. We relocated the laundry room upstairs for convenience. We moved the fireplace, installing a wall of French doors in the living room to open the room up to the backyard and pool.

Additionally, an outdoor lanai located by the pool area blends the indoors and outdoors and extends the family’s living space. We were able to implement the poolside retreat that they desired. They have shelter from the sun or the rain, a gas fireplace, television, tables and seating, and easy access to the pool bathroom and kitchen inside.

The wet surround in the new master bath of our CotY award-winning project
The wet surround in the new master bath of our CotY award-winning project

Upstairs we created a convenient laundry room and renovated the hall bathroom increasing its floor space and giving it modern flair consistent with the rest of the home. In the master bathroom, we removed a large, outdated garden tub, installing an expansive curbless shower and tasteful soaking tub within a large, tiled wet area surrounding it.

To see a more in depth look at these projects, coming soon, visit our website at atlantadesignbuild.com

Introducing Project Manager, Ed DePriest

ADB's new Project Manager, Ed DePriest

Ed DePriest, is originally from Middle Tennessee. Ed and his wife relocated to Marietta in 1999 because her family is from the area. He grew up in very rural Tennessee so everyone was self-reliant when it came to building whatever they needed. Family members and neighbors taught one another the skills necessary to be self-sufficient from a young age.

Ed’s high school offered the Trades & Industry class. The T&I class had either a mechanical focus or a building focus. Ed chose a building focus, and with his classmates, built a greenhouse for the agricultural club. They started the project from scratch, laying the block and installing fiberglass panels on the frame they built.  This class helped lay the foundation for Ed’s future. 

A Solid Foundation of Construction Experience

Ed has worked in construction for more than thirty years. He started out working for a custom home builder. He had to do every task on the jobsite, from cutting trees on the property, to roofing—it was like a crash course in building. Working in custom home building gave Ed the opportunity to learn every angle of the building process.

For approximately 18 years prior to working at ADB, Ed performed construction supervision and punch work. He progressed into the supervisory role due to the length, and extent, of his experience, and his sharp eye for detail. Ed still enjoys the building process. Part of his management philosophy is that he wouldn’t ask his crew to do anything that he wouldn’t be willing to do, including ditch digging. “It’s noble to say that, until you’re in the ditch,” he joked.

Ed’s previous experience doing punch work honed his ability to spot any errors or incomplete tasks left at a project’s completion. He inspected completed homes and repaired or finished anything that was not up to his high standards. His great attention to detail is still a wonderful asset as part of the ADB team and it serves him well in the role of Project Manager. 

The Strongest Link of Communication from Clients to Crew

As a Project Manager, Ed is the primary point of contact for our clients throughout the course of their remodeling project. He is the link between his crew members and homeowners, making sure that the lines of communication are working well. He also oversees the entire crew working on a project, making sure that everything is done to his, and ADB’s, high standards.

A friend of Ed’s enjoyed working for ADB and recommended he apply for an open carpenter position. Ed checked out ADB on Guild Quality and other websites and was glad to discover “a stellar reputation.” He chose to apply at ADB because from what he found out about us online, “It seemed they like to do things once and do it right the first time, and that is the same way I am.” He also appreciated the level of ADB’s craftsmanship as he saw it displayed on our website.  

Additionally, one of the reasons Ed enjoys remodeling with ADB is that he works on a lot of projects, especially bathrooms and kitchens. There is variety in the project locations and the rooms being remodeled, different than while he was in new home building where he stayed in one place for a long time repetitively doing the same thing. He did not want to build the same houses over and over.  Ed appreciates the challenge of completing various projects, managing his crew, working with his hands, and applying real craftsmanship to ADB’s projects.

Ed relaxes with Dale & Heather on our annual company Fishing Trip

Hardworking and It Shows

When he is not working, Ed enjoys spending time outdoors, especially hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking. He also likes drag racing, and fixing up old Chevy trucks in his spare time.

One lesson his long career in construction has taught him is “Don’t just double check your crew member’s work, double check your own work!” Ed is hardworking, and he hopes it shows. A willingness to critique his own work, and enough humility to admit he holds himself to the same standards as his crew, shows us how lucky we are to have such a great Project Manager and craftsman on our team!

Credible. Accredited. Remodeling Done Right™: ADB becomes the 1st NARI Accredited Remodeling Company in Georgia!

Atlanta Design & Build (ADB) is one of a handful of companies nationwide to have achieved certification as a NARI Accredited Remodeling Company (ARC), and the first ARC in the state of Georgia!

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the only professional organization for remodelers in the nation with a system of accreditation for top businesses. With its heartbeat and primary purpose being to “raise the bar” for what homeowners can expect from a remodeling contractor, NARI has provided opportunities for networking, mentoring, training and development for individual members and their employees since its inception. As the first of its kind, the NARI ARC program was created to support both consumers and remodelers by providing a company designation in addition to individual credentials.

Consumers desperately need a professional remodeling contractor they can trust to update their homes. NARI remodelers need a program that supports remodeling companies in the continuous improvement of their business, following best practices, and elevating the level of professionalism in organizations throughout the nation. In order to be considered for this recognition NARI accredited companies must demonstrate how they meet a set of higher industry standards determined by a third-party, the NARI Accreditation Board; for example, ARC companies must demonstrate:

  • Sound Business and Operations Practices
  • Employees with Specialized or Top Tier credentials
  • A Commitment to Professional Development

“What an honor to be the first Accredited Remodeling Company in the state of GA!” said H. Dale Contant, ADB President, “Completing the requirements of NARI’s ARC accreditation process is a wonderful accomplishment and we are proud of this professional recognition. This designation provides homeowners the way to identify a credible, accountable and reliable remodeling company.”

Getting accredited sets us apart from our competition. NARI’s ARC brings its core purpose to life with this new program: to advance and promote the remodeling industry’s professionalism, products and vital public purpose.

Contact ADB for a consultation on your next remodeling project!