San Diego remodeling business is a family affair

San Diego remodeling business is a family affair

Nick and Lorraine Adkins left the Hollywood life behind and moved to San Diego to raise their family and grow their cabinet and remodeling business.

Seventeen years later, they say the relocation and a move toward general contracting projects, many that include handmade custom cabinetry built by Nick, made them a stronger business and family.

“As the kids got older, I got more involved in the actual construction part instead of just paperwork,” Lorraine says.

It can be hard to shut off business mode at home sometimes, but they say it works for them and there’s more flexibility than when Nick worked for other general contractors and Lorraine worked in accounting departments at music and movie studios, or even when she was a stay-at-home mom to their three children. “The two of us work in tandem,” Lorraine says of her work relationship with Nick.

2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award Winner:

GNA Construction

Owners Nick and Lorraine Adkins of Vista, Calif., earned the Super Service Award in 2008, 2010 and 2012. The company services portions of North City, suburbs and Northwest San Diego County.

Nick, who has more than 25 years of construction experience, initially specialized in finished pieces, like cabinets, but in order to gain more control over how his work fit into a finished project, he put to use his general contractor’s license and launched Vista, Calif.-based GNA Construction.

At first, Lorraine stayed home with the kids, but over the years she put her business and art background — she attended a fine arts college to study painting before stumbling into accounting — to use and started helping design and oversee remodeling projects and find subcontractors for trades her husband doesn’t specialize in.

Lorraine says their symbiotic relationship with subs helps fuel the general remodeling company’s success.

“A lot of general [contractors] treat their subs as separate,” she says. “It’s a real family network between us and our subs.” Besides the network of subs, the Adkins children — 16, 14 and 12 — have also helped with the business, from demolishing tile to helping their father install cabinets.

When member Kumiko Koelkebeck remodeled her Pacific Grove, Calif., kitchen to add more storage and countertop space, she solicited several bids before hiring GNA for the kitchen remodel based on their price, proximity and custom-made cabinet offerings.

But this year, when she found the money in her budget to update her master bathroom, she says she and her husband didn’t even consider other companies because their excellent prior experience with the remodeling contractor.

“It’s very easy to work with them, and they’re very nice,” Koelkebeck says, adding that the Shaker-style custom cabinets Nick built turned out beautifully.

The Adkins teamwork earns them positive ratings from Angie’s List members, who mention both by name in numerous reviews. The Adkinses attribute that success to good old-fashioned business ethics.

“The customer worked hard for their money,” Lorraine says. “It’s not my job to squeeze them for every penny. I work for them. We rest easy knowing when we walk away from every customer, we did our best.”


The Super Service Award recognizes contractors and health care providers that have maintained a stellar service rating on Angie’s List throughout the past year. Be sure to always check the List before hiring, however, as ratings can and do change.


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