When food blogger, cookbook author and Edina Magazine contributor Taylor Ellingson was ready to remodel the kitchen in her Edina home, it makes sense that she would connect with another Minnesota blogger who’s also mastering the digital marketplace. Meet the visionaries behind Construction2Style and take a peek at their work for the Ellingsons in Edina.
Jamie and Morgan Molitor are the husband and wife team behind Construction2Style, a full-service residential remodeling company that is also a media company. It all started back in 2012 when the couple were dating, and Jamie purchased a foreclosed home as an investment property. “I thought he was playing a prank on me,” Morgan Molitor says about when she first learned of her boyfriend’s plan to remodel and sell the home. “But, slowly, over time, as I watched the updates and how he did everything himself,” says Molitor ... she became a believer in the potential of a creative business model.
Molitor’s background is in fashion merchandising and marketing, so her initial contribution to that first remodel was to start a blog about it. “I didn’t have any idea what to do it at first, but I figured out how to build a website,” says Molitor. “That’s how we came up with the [company] name. He was construction. I was style.” She writes all of the website’s blog posts and credits the site’s success to how she speaks from her heart and shares her family’s lifestyle. She says, “I laugh because an aunt, who is an English teacher, told me, ‘little did you know you’d become a writer.’” Molitor tries to be open and honest with their online followers about life, including recipes and home organization tips, and about home improvement projects. She makes a point to share both the good parts and the things that didn’t go well and why.
The blog evolved organically into a DIY resource for people who want to make cosmetic changes to their own homes. The couple’s relationship also evolved. They got married and had children. Jamie went to school to become a licensed carpenter and contractor and Construction2Style grew into a full-fledged design, build firm.
After the arrival of the couple’s second child in 2015, Molitor abandoned her corporate career to work fulltime at Construction2Style. She helps collaborate with brands and create the company’s online content for a growing audience that loves all the behind-the-scenes videos and social media peeks into the couple’s real life. The company now also employs a full-time interior designer and project manager.
The team’s creativity gains an outlet through the Molitor’s personal spaces. They use their own homes, now on their third, to be imaginative with renovation. “We use [our home] to inspire readers and test boundaries, get edgy and try different, bold ideas,” she says. “Jamie likes to be challenged with his carpentry and craft. He wants to try different things so he doesn’t get bored.” And it’s all documented on the company’s website. Beyond that, the business has also evolved into a media company that helps other entrepreneurs through online tutorials.
But even though the Molitors enjoy pushing design boundaries in their own home and business, they strive to let their clients’ personal vision shine through when working for them. “Topher [the company’s project manager] has a background in psychology,” says Molitor. “He can read clients so well and he calls things out so that things come to life which is awesome. And the company’s designer does all of the renderings and plans.”
Like a lot of connections these days, Molitor’s first connection with Ellingson was via social media. She says, “My cousin’s best friend went to high school with [Ellingson] and asked me if I followed her blog [greensnchocolate.com]. I started following her and then she started following us. Later, Ellingson would contact Construction2Style about a front entryway and mudroom project. She wondered if the project was too small,” says Molitor, “but no project is too big or too small for us.” Then, this past year, the Ellingsons were ready to remodel their kitchen and dining room. Molitor says the kitchen remodel was a super fun project and that she loves how it serves as a backdrop to what Ellingson does fulltime, cook.
In the original floorplan of the Ellingson home, the kitchen was separated from the dining room. They wanted an open concept so that when Taylor Ellingson is cooking, which is often, she can keep an eye on her three young children. Ellingson says, “Our previous kitchen was not only outdated, but also lacked functionality for our growing family. We wanted a space that was more open to the living areas and a large island where our kids could gather for breakfast and lunch.” That island ended up being Ellingson’s favorite part of the finished project. She says, “It’s definitely our family gathering spot and I love how long it is. It’s the first place the kids go when they wake up in the morning and I love being able to cook and clean up while they are sitting right in front of me.”
The Ellingsons also wanted a very neutral color scheme that would work well with Ellingson’s food photography. Ellingson says, “We wanted a timeless look to our kitchen, so we went very neutral with the colors. At one point we had the island being green, but when it came down to it, I just couldn’t do it. I wanted colors that I knew would carry through the years.”
Molitor wasn’t really a big fan of white on white kitchens before this project. “It’s risky,” says Molitor, “because all whites aren’t the same and some brands have different tones.” Knowing how much the Ellingsons love and appreciate the cohesive look of an all-white kitchen, the Molitors delivered with a stunning renovation that includes an oversized island, custom cabinetry and molding as well as white appliances with contemporary gold fixtures. “It was fun to incorporate these new and different details,” says Molitor.
Ellingson adds, “When I saw the white and gold Cafe Appliance refrigerator and range, I knew we had to incorporate them into our kitchen and I’m so glad we did. But, I didn’t want all gold, so we chose black cabinet hardware and a mixture of black and gold for the light fixtures and appliances for a modern look and I love how the black and gold look together.”
Throughout the success of their full-service renovation business, the Molitors still continue to support and provide tips to their DIY audience. In fact, during the Ellingson remodel, they documented the installation of engineered flooring and shared it online. “Some people prefer to guard their trade secrets,” says Molitor. “But we want to be a resource and hope that if [followers] value our work, that they’ll choose us if they ever decide to hire a contractor.”