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Longtime Area Builder, Baxter Construction, Receives Remodeling Big 50 Builder Award

AWARD-BUILDING BUILDER: “We are very honored to have received the Remodeling Big 50 Award,” says Jim Baxter, owner of Baxter Construction in Hopewell. “I direct a lot of the credit to my team of talented craftsmen and administrators. They are just as responsible for the experience that our customers receive and the success we have realized as I am.”

Whether it’s a 200-year-old colonial needing total renovation, a two-bedroom ranch requiring major expansion, or a 1960s kitchen or bath in need of updating, Baxter Construction will create just the look the homeowner hopes to achieve.

“Our focus is on residential,” explains Jim Baxter, owner of Baxter Construction. “We especially work on older houses, including repairs, renovation, and additions. Remodeling older houses and making them look as if they aren’t remodeled — keeping the character of the house — is our specialty. People are saying, ‘Let’s renovate’, but they still want to capture the feeling of the house.”

“We also do other jobs, however, both small and large. From replacing a doorknob or fixing a porch to new construction: everything from large and small additions to complete new houses. We’ll do kitchen and bath remodels, windows, mouldings, any kind of carpentry,” he continues. “Another thing we do is to put handrails and other support features in the house, so as they get older, people can continue to live in their home. We’ll do all kinds of jobs, all sizes, and I think people appreciate this.”

Many of the renovations have been of an historic nature, and have been featured in newspaper and magazine articles.

Peace of Mind

The company has completed many award-winning projects, since Mr. Baxter founded it in 1981. In addition to the 2012 Remodeling Magazine Big 50 Award (which recognizes “owners of remodeling companies that have set exceptionally high standards for professionalism and integrity through exemplary business practices, craftsmanship, and impact in their community or the industry at large”), Baxter Construction has received several Historic Preservation Awards, the New Jersey Historic Preservation and The Princeton Historic Preservation Awards for the Woodrow Wilson House in Princeton, and the Sustainable Princeton Leadership Award for the Whole Earth Center building.

Mr. Baxter attributes the company’s success to its fine craftsmanship, attention to detail, and listening carefully to the homeowners’ wishes. “We emphasize good project management and understanding the needs of the owners. We’re a traditional builder. We do a very detailed estimate, and the goal is getting a clear definition of the scope of the work. We have a lead carpenter and project manager on the job every day, which helps to create peace of mind for the client. What we always strive to do is to reach and exceed customers’ expectations.

“Our detailed management system allows us to plan and schedule your project, track progress of the work, and most importantly, communicate all of that to you in a timely and understandable manner And once your project begins, the work will proceed daily until everything is completed.”

Staying Put

“Many times today, the clients are people who are staying put, fixing their house rather than moving,” continues Mr. Baxter. “We do a lot of remodeling of kitchens and bathrooms, and expanding family rooms. In one house, we converted a two-car garage into a family room. People want to open up spaces and in some cases, they want to turn existing dining rooms into other space.”

Baxter Construction is also experienced in commercial building, having built the Michael Graves Design Studio and the Whole Earth Center store, a LEED certified green construction project, among other jobs.

Energy-efficiency, sustainability, and environmental-friendly methods and materials are very important today, emphasizes Mr. Baxter. “People are definitely thinking green now, and this is reflected in our construction projects.”

For many years, Baxter Construction has supported community organizations through its volunteer efforts with the Historical Society of Princeton, Morven Museum and Gardens, the Hopewell Board of Education, Hopewell Borough, and the Sourland Mountain Preserve.

Apprenticeship
Program

“Volunteering and being a part of the community is very important to us,” says Mr. Baxter, who is himself a carpenter. “I also hope to set up an apprenticeship program for young people to help them learn the building business.”

It is also important to Mr. Baxter that the company continues to improve. He belongs to the Remodelers Advantage, an organization helping companies to improve business practices and development. “There are 10 round table groups in the country, and 10 companies in each group. We meet twice a year to focus on improving business operation, including management, sales, and marketing, among other areas. It is very intensive and a great experience, and I am now focusing more on sales and marketing.”

Baxter Construction’s projects are found all over the Princeton area and beyond, including beach houses in Cape May. Mr. Baxter continues to enjoy the client contact, and he takes pride in the quality of work he is able to provide them.

“I enjoy the level of craftsmanship — what Baxter Construction brings to the job. To see the customer’s satisfaction at the end of the job is very rewarding. Baxter Construction is proud of the quality of the work we do, from framing through finish trimming. Our crews are composed of experienced carpenters who have been with us for many years and believe in the Baxter way of building: top grade craftsmanship, using high quality materials. Led by a master carpenter with decades of experience, each crew is extremely competent, efficient, neat, and courteous.

“I love my job. I walk away at the end of the day and am proud to look at what we have built.”

Baxter Construction can be reached to (609) 466-3655. Website: baxterconstruction.com.

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