Cornerstone Profiles: AJ Ballantine – Owner

Cornerstone Remodeling focuses on making the most of your home. Our teams unlock your property’s potential with hand-picked elements and efficient essentials. Here’s what the owner, A.J. Ballantine, has to say about it all. 

Q: You could have done anything. What made you launch a remodeling company? 

I’ve been passionate about architecture, engineering, and construction since I was a child. Creating things transcends building homes. For me, it’s about connections, innovation, and opportunity. 

Q: It looks like you have a beautiful family. How do you balance it all? 

This one is easy. Our company’s vision is to make the most of life. So, we run a business that prioritizes living, and that means two things: 1) We never work weekends, holidays, or evenings, which my family loves. And 2) We’re always fresh and efficient when tackling complex projects. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, from the part-time employees to the project managers. 

Q: Cornerstone Remodeling was voted Best of Baltimore 2020. What lead up to that? 

Winning the Best of Baltimore Award was a complete surprise. We’d been working so hard that I guess we didn’t notice how groundbreaking our company had become. We’re still humbled by the nomination and win, especially considering how tough 2020 was on us all.

Q: Has the company or staff won any other awards? 

We’ve won tons of awards since our inception, and each one was an honor and privilege to receive. I work with a remarkable team that exudes talent, charisma, and passion regardless of the challenges. So, my crew earned the Best of Howard County Award. And we were named Case Entrepreneur of the Year as well. Cornerstone standardizes awesomeness, and it shows. 

Q: The Baltimore remodeling industry is booming. Why do you think Cornerstone stands out?

We stand out because of who we are and how we approach home remodeling. The Cornerstone crew consists of fantastic human beings who offer more than talent and technique. They’re also compassionate people who are dedicated and enthusiastic about helping others make the most of their homes. 

Q: Remodeling is no easy task. What would you say has been the most challenging part of operating the company? 

Tackling complex remodeling projects is what Cornerstone does best. But our tremendous growth has been the hardest part. Explosive evolution means there’s less time to focus on our vision. Yet, we never pass up a chance to create opportunities for our crew and community. We’re committed to maintaining our reputation as Baltimore’s Best, but that’s a challenge with so much demand. 

Q: Your passion is contagious. Can you describe what motivates you the most? 

Creating a vision, implementing it, and then watching that vision become a reality is what makes me tick. Witnessing a concept as it takes shape is always exhilarating, and some say my excitement is contagious. But it’s easy to get excited when Cornerstone has a reputation for making amazing things happen. 

Q: You’ve done so much already. What’s next for the Cornerstone Remodeling team? 

Our to-do list is massive for both this industry and another (we’ll drop more hints about that soon). But honestly, we take it day-by-day right now. From prayer to answered prayer, we’re becoming the company we’re meant to be. 

Q: Your customers are listening. What’s something they should know about Cornerstone?

There are so many things I want to tell Cornerstone customers. But I’d say the feedback speaks for itself. Previous clients say their experience with us is surprising. Maybe it’s because we photograph our work, showcase our designs, and toil efficiently in the field. But until you actually work with us, you can’t really know how fulfilling a remodeling project can be. 

A.J.’s Favorite Cornerstone Remodeling Projects 

Even the boss can play favorites. These are Ballantine’s most memorable projects so far: 

#1. Chapel Avenue Addition

We transformed an entire house on Chapel avenue. The original layout was puzzling but we still hit a homerun on our first pass. We also catered to the homeowner’s children with a custom bedroom window seat that became our top priority. The family was fun work with, and the property turned out beautiful. 

#2. Alice AvenueView Project

The Alice Avenue project was one of the first where we used our new Remote Quote system. But we ultimately proposed something different in the design. Our proposal changed the space in a big way – much more than anyone anticipated. The result was amazing, and it gave us a chance to refine our RQ interface for more intuitive outcomes. 

#3. Rolling Meadows KitchenView Project

Similar to Alice Avenue, we ended up proposing a much different kitchen reno than we were originally slated to. However, after we completed the project, we heard from the client that the renovation had made such a huge impact on how they interacted as a family. And when we get to do projects that have intrinsic impacts, well, those projects are ones that I take the most delight in.

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