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From transistor radios to boom boxes with 8 track tapes, to cassette players, to electronic devices that will play your music through Bluetooth (thin air) and charge your battery-operated tools, electronic devices have come a long way in my lifetime. Music has always been a part of my creative processes, and remodeling is no exception.

I vividly recall feeling like I was playing the piano while listening to jazz and typing my blog.

The most striking similarity to music and creativity came to me while Mark Kolnes, a Levco production manager, successful new home builder, and guitar teacher, casually mentioned the word “tempo” when talking about how a well-run project should proceed.

Tempo keeper metronome


“Characteristic rate, rhythm, or pattern of work or activity”.

As an office kind of guy, I have always depended on my crews to create the projects that we design through a collaborative process that I am deeply involved in. The extent of my involvement in the production side of the equation is typically to support and praise great work. This has led to internal anxiety and frustration over delays and missed deadlines. I would begin begging my team to finish projects, as schedule after schedule was scrapped because “It’s going to take as long as it is going to take.” If I never hear that sentence again, it will be too soon.
Small projects were a breeze for me, but the bigger projects would inevitably have hiccups which led to a death spiral of delays, cost overruns, lost opportunities, despair, and worst of all, lost enthusiasm to go after selling another big project.

Something had to give

Then it struck me, tempo is the hokey pokey of a healthy remodeling project. As a conductor you keep the symphony on tempo by waving your baton in a predictable motion to keep the players together. While dissecting the tempo of projects we have done, it became painfully obvious that we would regularly hit a bump in the road. Lacking a flawless plan or reasonable contingency plan, we chronically fell apart or crashed horribly. Picking up the pieces, we always got through the project. Sadly, as we finished, the joy had been sucked out, leaving shriveled lemon to try and make lemonade out of. Once identified, it became my single focus to fix it once and for all. If I could define our ideal tempo, and get everyone to agree, I could make some beautiful remodeling music.

The Levco Adagio / Allegro remodeling project tempo

If we were to describe our ideal tempo I would say that our natural tendency is to fit nicely between an Adagio and an Allegro.
Adagio:  slow and stately (literally, “at ease”)
Allegro: play fast, quickly, and bright
What does it sound like when our tempo is kept? A beautiful flow of workers, materials and specialty contractors working together to accomplish a clear task without stress or interruptions that obstruct us or distract us from our plan.
To us, Adagio – Allegro is the tempo that gives us predictable, mutually satisfying outcomes. In other words, working too fast or too slow inevitably ruins the project. Working in our tempo range creates On time + On budget + Happy client = a sustainable business model that creates a gravity of its own.

To that end we do this and stick to our tempo with fervor:

  1. We create plans that lock clients choices and decisions in.
  2. We set expectations for what our vision of the tempo will be.
  3. We setup everyone for success with detailed instructions and directions.
  4. We create a contingency plan to put into play if changes to the plan are needed for any reason.
Finding the ideal tempo or pace of a project is not unique to remodeling, ours is a very intricate and complicated symphony. As we sell larger and larger projects, we look for clients that we can impress with our newfound rhythm.

Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261

If you or someone you know is considering remodeling or just wants to speak to a trustworthy remodeling contractor, please contact me. You’ll be glad you did.

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.