People always ask us how, and when, we got started in the kitchen and bath design and remodel business. There seems to be a lot of interest from everyone on what it takes to become a business owner, and more importantly what the motivation and first steps are behind taking that dreadful leap of faith into entrepreneurship. Our story is not an uncommon one, and it began with having been slaves to the grind for other companies for most of our collective working pasts’, with very little to no appreciation, recognition, or long-term benefits for all the talent and hard work we brought to the table. Sound familiar? So, to answer all your questions, this is our story:
My name is Nicole Kotze, and I am a Newnan, born and bred, GA gal! I got my start in kitchen and bath design in 2000 when I went to work for a family owned and operated granite company. I applied for a secretarial position working as a kitchen and bath design assistant for an extremely talented designer who would later become my mother-in-love. (We don’t use the word law, because it is love that made her mine.) I worked side by side with her for 5 years, learning every aspect of the kitchen and bath design industry. During that time, I obtained certifications as a kitchen and bath designer, and a kitchen and bath sales and showroom representative, through the National and Kitchen and Bath Association, aka NKBA. The NKBA is well known and highly respected in the kitchen and bath industry, and they are the standard followed by most kitchen and bath design professionals. In 2014, I earned my Advanced 2020 Design Certification, allowing me to provide 3d renderings, virtual design lay outs, and architectural blue prints for kitchen and bath design projects.
Riaan Kotze, my husband of 17 years, was raised in the residential remodel business. His roots are in South Africa and the natural stone business. At age 5, Riaan’s father started a granite and marble fabrication and installation company in South Africa. They relocated their business to the USA when Riaan was 16. They were commissioned to the US in 1995 by a contractor/friend who had the contract for all the natural stone work done at the Olympic Village and Hartsfield Airport. After many years in the natural stone business, and in 2011, Riaan took a job working as the Operations Manager for ServiceMaster in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is there that he learned the disaster restoration industry, and he obtained his certifications in Water Mitigation and Mold Remediation. While in Hawaii, I also took a position as the construction project manager for ServiceMaster in Honolulu, and I worked alongside my husband to help rebuild homes affected, and in some cases destroyed, by water, mold, fire, and/ biohazardous conditions.
Together, Riaan and I have spent most of the last 20 years working for other remodel, construction, and or restoration companies. For nearly 20 years we have helped others build their brands and their dreams, we’ve shared our knowledge and expertise with them, and we have observed and reflected on how they did business. Our extensive knowledge of the kitchen and bath design and remodel industry, coupled with our 10+ years of disaster restoration and recovery knowledge, makes for a dynamic and thorough understanding of what it takes to be successful in the business of remodeling, reconstructing, and restoring client’s homes and lives.
“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs” – Farrah Gray
In January of 2018, Riaan and I decided that it was past time for us to invest in and build our own brand and dreams. We have learned so much by witnessing the success and failures of others in this industry. We are keeping the good things we’ve learned, we are choosing to let the bad things we’ve witnessed in this business serve as a reminder of what we will not do, and we know that we can, and will, do it better. We know that trusting us with your project is the best decision you can make. We say that with complete confidence, because not only are we more than qualified to design, remodel, and restore homes, we believe that the most important things in life are not things at all. The importance of life is in the relationships and lives that we help build and what we leave behind.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Colossians 3:23-24 NIV