Usztan LLC specializes in bringing older homes into the 21st century.
By Alan Dorich, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media
After 40 years, Usztan LLC has carved itself a niche as a custom remodeler and homebuilder, a specialization that is not for everyone. “Custom remodeling tends to be more difficult than building a new home,” Vice President Boris Usztan says.
“To take an older, outdated structure and bring it into the 21st century can be challenging and very labor intensive,” he says. “This requires insight, vision, design and, many times, creative engineering on the part of the builder and architects.”
Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Usztan LLC specializes in bringing those traits to each of its projects in the southeastern Michigan area. Founder Andy Usztan started the company with his namesake in 1978, but previously gained experience working for his uncle’s construction company.
After being discharged by the U.S. Marines, Ustzan began providing remodeling services on his own. “Good workmanship, attention to detail and meeting the customers’ expectations led to many satisfied clients,” Andy Usztan says.
The company later expanded its services to custom homebuilding. Over the years, “We have created homes designed by some of the finest architects in the tri-county area,” he says. “A custom home is just that: customized to the personal needs and desires of our client.”
While custom renovations and new-builds can be labor intensive and stressful, “They are also more rewarding at the same time,” Usztan says. “The satisfaction of our clients to be able to have things exactly the way they want them makes it all worth it.”
On Its Own
Usztan LLC’s portfolio also includes commercial and municipal work, including schools, fire stations, church additions, medical offices and industrial buildings. The company self-performs much of its work, which allows it to always have a presence onsite and have quality control, Usztan says.
Many of its employees and subs have worked for Usztan LLC for more than 20 years. With that experience, “Our staff and subcontractors have grown to know the quality of work we expect,” he says.
The company also works closely with architects on projects. “They have the vision and we are the executor of that vision,” Usztan says.
Its customers also often use interior designers. “But in the event they don’t, we are able to work with the client directly to assist with such items as kitchen/bath design and selection of all finishes,” he says.
Usztan LLC’s recent projects include a total home renovation in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Project Manager Jessica Steighner explains that the homeowners were struggling with a growing family and a lack of space.
When they looked for existing homes that better fit their needs, ”There always seemed to be something missing in the places/price range they were looking, whether it was too many rooms, too small of rooms or finishes that weren’t their taste,” she explains.
The owners ultimately decided it was better to renovate their existing house, and demolition began on the project in October 2015. The home had previously undergone several floor elevation changes during previous additions and remodels.
“The heights were all different,” Steighner recalls, adding that Usztan LLC managed to save part of the roof while building a new addition. “We worked together with our team of Lou DesRosier, architect, and Paul Hannenberg, structural engineer, to make things come together.”
The project also had a second-floor laundry that was designed in a closet. “As we were building, we decided to change this to a complete laundry room,” she says. “However, we were limited on space and did not want to change the number of bedrooms or have a negative effect on their size.”
The layout of the second master bathroom was changed to accommodate this addition. “In the end, this proved to be a very wise decision,” Steighner says.
One of the most important aspects of the project, Steighner recalls, was the tile. The homeowner, she explains, based all of her decisions around the new tile.
Today, after the remodeling, the walls in the bathrooms “all start with a soldier course and finish with chair rails,” she describes. “The master shower has a beautiful groin ceiling and detailed tile framework.”
One of the home’s bathrooms features Carrera marble with decorated tile framework and a frameless pivoting shower door. “The space also features a soaking tub with a waterfall faucet,” Steighner says, adding that the second master bathroom has onyx countertops and an onyx feature wall in the shower.
Steighner worked closely with the client to select all of the lighting fixtures in the home. The crystal chandeliers are stunning and really make the house feel like home.
The finished home also has an extensive amount of technology, with inside and outside lights that can be controlled via a smartphone or tablet. It also has a video doorbell that can monitor who is at the door and record it for playback, Steighner says.
Its rooms have built-in hidden speakers and smart remotes that control audio and video. Additionally, “The shades are motorized and programmed to fit the clients’ lifestyle,” she says.
Usztan LLC enjoyed the experience of building the renovation project. “These clients were tremendous to work with,” Steighner says. “As I am sure anyone who has gone through this process knows, building and remodeling does not go without unforeseen circumstances.”
The clients made themselves available to help resolve issues despite their busy schedules. “They remained patient and kind as we sorted out these things together,” she says. “Their excitement when it all came together and the closeness I felt to them as we journeyed through the project made this one extra special.”