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Ann Arbor

You've found the town that is the perfect fit, and now it's time to make your house the perfect fit for you, too. Whether it's a new bathroom or kitchen, making a classic Ann Arbor home better than new, building from scratch, or adding an accessory dwelling unit, Better Shelter can help you tailor your space with the fit, function, and finishes that are just right for you.

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Personalized Service, with Attention to Quality

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Kitchen and Bath Renovations

The Rooms that Really Matter

Ann Arbor has idyllic neighborhoods and charming houses, but those well-loved homes often come with kitchens and bathrooms that could use an introduction to the 21st century. It usually starts with updated plumbing and electrical service, and then the tile, cabinetry and fixtures that will blend seamlessly with the style of the house and make the most of small spaces--or add a touch of modern luxury to a vintage home. Better Shelter can coordinate your entire kitchen or bathroom remodel, offer help with design, or direct you to speciality retailers with products and design services that work with any budget, large or small.


Custom Home Renovations

It’s All in the Details

For those looking to give an entire house a facelift, Better Shelter can help. Bring plans from your architect, or we can refer you to one. Some homes can be transformed without an architect and major reconfiguration. A new kitchen and bathrooms, perhaps with small bump outs or tweaks to the layout, can make a huge difference. Most wood floors can be restored and new hardwood installed to match perfectly. And new interior doors, hardware, and woodwork/trim can make an old house look new again, especially after skilled drywall/plaster repair and painting.


New Construction

Customized to Your Preferences

Whether it is wooded acreage on the outskirts of Ann Arbor or an infill lot in the city, Better Shelter can assist with your new construction project. What could be better than a new home in Ann Arbor, built to suit your tastes exactly, with the energy efficiency and low maintenance that will make ownership a breeze?

Modern Loft

Accessory Dwelling Units

Making Ann Arbor More Affordable and Inclusive

As Ann Arbor moves toward making ADUs (accessory dwelling units) more attainable, Better Shelter hopes to be the company that makes it happen. As long-time residents, we are like many in town who hope to keep the dynamic mix of age, race, income, and education that draws people here. ADUs have the potential to help many people buy or keep their homes, through the additional rental income of an ADU. And those rental units can provide housing for many others who might not be able to find it in A2's tight rental market. We have plans for clever, charming, detached ADUs that can blend in with any neighborhood. We can also assist with modifying an existing house or garage to work as an ADU. For more information about ADUs in Ann Arbor,

Modern Apartment

Real Estate Investments

Better Returns While Making Ann Arbor a Better Place

For those looking to invest in an area with strong economic growth and a top-notch talent pool created by the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University, Ann Arbor cannot be beat. Consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the country, Ann Arbor has strong historic appreciation and rental demand. People moving to Ann Arbor or parents sending students to college can purchase a home with a strategic eye on future rental potential or a "house-hacking" income stream from roommates, ADUs, or short-terms rentals such as AirB&B. Better Shelter can assist with those strategic plans, with assistance from Radrick Realty. Investors looking for rental properties, flips, or new construction projects can also utilize these services and then move seamlessly into the renovation/construction work that is typically required.


Some of Our Latest Work

Home: Projects

This recent bath remodel on the west side of Ann Arbor is a good example of a mid-size project and budget. The original bath had worn, lime-green vinyl flooring, a single sink, and an aging tub insert that was coming apart at the seams.


BRAG Home Tours

Recent BRAG Featured Homes

These renovation projects were featured on the Spring 2019 and Fall 2019 Home Tours.

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About Better Shelter

Loving Ann Arbor from Day One


Better Shelter owners Craig and Sarah Lorenz were both born in Ann Arbor and grew up in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area. Craig's grandfathers worked at the Argus Camera Factory and the University of Michigan, and one grandmother boarded students in her Burns Park home. Craig and Sarah both attended Eastern Michigan University, and they have owned and renovated six of their own homes in the city. They also have a combined 17 years of experience as landlords. Craig is a licensed builder in the state of Michigan, and operated a custom painting company founded by his father, Pete's Painting, for over twenty years, working with the finest builders and in the loveliest homes in town. Sarah is a licensed real estate agent with Radrick Realty who can assist Better Shelter clients with the purchase of a home, if needed. Their most recent personal project was the full restoration of a Charles W. Lane mid-century modern home in Water Hill. Both Craig and Sarah have a keen eye for value, design, and quality that they put to work for clients. They both love the work of making Ann Arbor's older homes come to life again for new generations.

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Meet the Team

Licensed Professionals Here to Serve You

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Craig Lorenz

Licensed Builder
Member, BRAG/Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor

Licensed in the State of Michigan


Sarah Lorenz

Real Estate Agent

Licensed in the State of Michigan

Man with Wooden Background

J. Birk

Broker and Real Estate Attorney

Radrick Realty
University of Michigan Law School

No project is too big or small for Better Shelter. And as much as we love Ann Arbor, we also think that Ypsilanti, Saline, Dexter, and everyplace else nearby is great, too. If you have a project, we want to hear about it. Get in touch today for an initial consultation.

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