All photos: Sardone Construction

All photos: Sardone Construction

Stephan Sardone did not arrive at his career in home renovation by direct route.

The Flower Mound native headed to graduate school with the intention of earning his masters, then traveling to Papua, New Guinea, to work with indigenous tribes and translate their native languages, as well as aid with microfinance projects and community development.

Now, with two masters degrees in hand, he performs a different kind of community work: helping Dallas homeowners translate their vision for a home remodel into reality.

The transition started with a side business during his undergrad days. Sardone was an eager student with an entrepreneurial spirit and a knack for laying tile. It lasted into his graduate school days, and he drove around in a minivan, filled to the brim with tiles, and took on clients under the name Tile Fast.

“Tile Fast was never supposed to go anywhere, it was just supposed to teach me business and such, but then it turned into kitchen remodeling, then into full-scale remodeling,” he said. “It took about six months after I graduated to realize I was going to stay in the business because I really liked it.”

Stephan Sardone portrait

He changed the name of his company to Sardone Construction in 2010 and has earned accolades as his reputation has grown for creating smart and efficient designs that maximize space in a truly beautiful way.

The most important thing is to do really high quality work, have high standards, and give our clients a good experience,” he said.

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By Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber

I hate my range. Cooking on it is something I do almost every day when I’m home, and every time something cooks unevenly or dinner burns I regret spending a lot of money for something I had no knowledge of.

When I bought the Home Idea Factory, it truly was an old factory in Oak Cliff that was being used as a live/work space, but the previous owners spent money on the work side and neglected the live side. That worked out for me (I would have gutted it anyway), but the range that came with it was dangerous and had to be replaced right away.

I went to a national store that I had bought appliances from in the past and let the salesperson talk me into a really pretty new model with lots of fancy knobs and features, but after I got it home and cooked on it I discovered “pretty” didn’t translate to “function.” Even though I bought the extended warranty, the convection oven has never cooked evenly — in fact their warranty department told me that convection isn’t supposed to be an even heat. What? I’ve still got this albatross, and now that the convection function doesn’t even work I’m saving my money to buy my dream machine.

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Last week I was invited to visit the Thermador showroom in Irvine, Calif., with a group of esteemed kitchen specialists from all over the country. I wanted to not only learn more about the Thermador advantage, but to also use their appliances so I could really understand the difference. After we talked, played, and “looked under the hood,” we shared what we thought with the Thermador team, which was flown in from all over the world to hear our thoughts.

Thermador was founded in 1916 and they aren’t just another pretty face — every detail contributes to helping consumers create the perfect meal for ourselves, our guests, and our families. Getting to help cook a meal in their beautiful kitchen was such a delight, and yes, the food tasted as good as it looks. They also have Chef Kyle there, who cooked for us all day long to demonstrate how the different products work. The results were so good they might have me either considering a move to California, or talking Chef Kyle into coming back to Texas with me!

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I pretty much winged my contribution to our group meal — I made dessert, which was crepes covered with fresh bananas and a brown sugar sauce. No recipe, just making it up as I went but it worked. The signature Thermador star burners helped me to cook the crepes perfectly and the simmer feature helped keep the sauce at just the right temperature without burning or turning it into a crystalized mess. When I got home I decided to spend some time perfecting the recipe which I have now named “Mardi Gras Banana Crepes” which can be found on my Lifestylist® website.

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Trying to replicate the dish on my pretty but perplexing range as compared to cooking it on the Thermador Pro Grand Steam range made it very obvious that you get what you pay for. There’s no doubt about it after this exercise, my next range will be a Thermador. Replacing my current appliances with a dependable, luxury brand like Thermador makes financial sense as well as practical sense. One of the biggest selling features in a home is the kitchen, and a luxury appliance manufacturer shared with me that they have seen an average of a 4 percent increase in value if you have well-known luxury brands in your kitchen when you are ready to sell your home. Any good inspector would not approve my current range to a seller, and by replacing it now I get to enjoy my new appliances until I do decide to sell my home.

The Dallas Sur la Table store has Thermador appliances in their cooking school, and Capital Distributing now has two working Thermador kitchens in their showroom. Before you decide which appliance you want to upgrade to in your kitchen, find a place where you can actually cook on them and see how they perform. It will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make in your home-buying and remodeling decisions.

Suzanne FelberSuzanne Felber is a design and branding expert who runs the website Lifestylist.com. An Oak Cliff resident and lover of all things design, keep up with Suzanne by following her on twitter.