Why We Did Not DIY / Our Contractor

Thanks for sticking with me through that little maintenance glitch and I hope you like the updates that were made to the site!  I’m still working on customizing some of it, but I’m happy with the new layout and fonts, so hope you are too.

I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about the bathroom and I truly do have other projects to show you, but the last topic I wanted to cover was our Contractor since I know a lot of people out there struggle with when/who/for what and making those tough decisions.  So here we g0:

Why We Did Not DIY the Bath “Reno”:

  1. First off, and as I noted in the last post about the exterior, this was not just a bath gut and replacement of finishes and fixtures.  We knew this project was a whole heck of a lot more than that involving new framing, roofing, insulation, vapor barriers, relocating plumbing and essentially having a hole in the house for a while. The magnitude of the work involved made this a job for professionals without a doubt.

Demo 4

2. Another thing to consider was that this is our ONLY bathroom! We have a half bath downstairs, yes, but bathing is essential for us (crazy kids) and we really wanted to limit the duration of the project to weeks, not months for this reason.  We made arrangements with Jacob’s gym to shower there and thankfully that’s only a 2 minute walk from our house. Our family was also quite kind to let us shower when we’d be dropping Birdie off or running up to see them here and there.  I took advantage of that a lot!

Bath Day 1

3. Town requirements; look into them! We pulled the permit ourselves, but our town requires proper licensing of a contractor for this work plus multiple inspections. Our project even underwent a zoning review on our roof area ratio to see if we needed to apply for a variance. This all took a lot of time and research and I would advise anyone to just call their Town Hall and speak to someone in the building department to see what’s required. A lot of folks don’t want the hassle of pulling the required permits or dealing with the building department, and working in the construction industry myself, I can attest to how tiresome some of the hoops you feel you have to jump through can be. But at the end of the day the process is there to not only protect you as the home owner, but also your contractor and it’s worthwhile to have the proper inspections done when you’re looking at this magnitude of work.

Choosing a Contractor:

This is the toughest part and was the most time consuming for us. Everyone was so busy last year getting people to call you back is a constant battle. So those that do call you back, take advantage of that and get them to your house to meet them, look at the project, and get that free estimate! What we thought our project cost going into it and what it actually was going to cost after getting that first estimate was a jaw-dropping-shocker. And even more so is what we paid in the end, but for all of the following reasons, hopefully you’ll see why we went with our guy and why wouldn’t have done it any other way. Here are some of our recommendations and observations:

  • Paying a lower price doesn’t equate to higher quality. I know that low bid is enticing…you could save $$$! Who doesn’t want that? But in the end, I would almost always guarantee that you’ll be back up to the higher prices in changes, “missed items” in the estimate, poor assumptions and bad communication. And all of that will just give you headaches and heartache.
  • Current Workload and Crew Size. How much other work do they have going on? Are you talking to a contractor that has 4 or 5 jobs going? 1 job going? 3 jobs going? Is it just him or does he have a crew? If there’s multiple jobs going, how often will they be at your project and on your job? This is going to effect your timeline so definitely ask these questions. The last thing you want is to have your job sit there for a few days with noone showing up.  Nothing is more aggravating and all you see are dollar signs.
  • Is there a personal connection? Honestly, do you like this person? I mean, not enough to have them for Christmas or anything, but do you like this person and feel like you connect with them? You will be talking to your contractor an awful lot and it’s important to feel like you can talk to them, voice your concerns and that you trust them and that they are keeping your best interests in mind, as well as their profit margin. Likeabilty, believe it or not, is a factor.
  • Also inline with #3 and was personally most important to me: RESPONSIVENESS. I spoke with so many contractors and received multiple bids. We then would have questions and hear crickets. Not getting a call back or feeling like your job isn’t important to them is something to take note of. We had even gone as far to give the job to someone we thought we really liked, although we were ignoring a few nagging concerns we had. We went weeks without hearing from him after award on when he may start or how long the project would take.  He just never got back to us on anything and we were going to give him money!! The almighty dollar couldn’t even get him to call us! So although we liked him and felt we could trust him, if he wasn’t going to respond on when the project was going to start, what was he going to be like when issues came up during the renovation??  Fortunately we had not given him any payments and were able to back out and go with another company.

We happily introduce you to our contractor, Eduardo Muniz, owner of Boston Best Construction.

BBC Eduardo

He was not the cheapest. In fact, he was the highest bid we received. Eduardo was also very timely, very nice, trustworthy, polite, funny and easy to get along with from the get-go. He did have another job or two going while our was but has the connections and resources to have framers where framers were needed and tilers where tilers were needed ensuring we had the resources around when we needed them.  There was that time at the beginning when our framer had to commit his time to his family when his mom fell, understandably, but Eduardo listened to our concerns and responded by getting another guy on our job.  This gentleman, Paul, was wonderful to work with and we loved how much pride he took in his workmanship. He spent so much time on the exterior of the house and ensuring the details matched that of our 1890’s home we couldn’t have been happier.  Each and every concern we had inside or out was addressed every single time.  And he will text you – a lot. But no one ever lost their job for over-communicating and we felt more confident that he was so available for us. Our project was completed in the timeline laid out in our contract and, even better, for the price that was quoted! We changed the roof line, added some scope and altered plans and Eduardo worked with us and within the original number he gave us.  Having zero change orders gave us peace of mind and it’s a guarantee he’s proud to uphold and should be.

Bath 1

If you’re in the Boston area, I’d recommend giving him a call. You may not like his number, but as they say – you get what you pay for. We paid a lot, but feel we got a lot of everything positive we were looking for.  We love love love our new bathroom and enjoyed working with Eduardo very much.  These are just our observations and are not the case for everyone, but I hope this lengthy post will help someone else!

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Exterior Update

Hi all! I hope you’re all recovering from the storm this past weekend.  We were lucky to miss it and only got about 6″ here, so I am quite thankful for that! It’s also 42 degrees today, so this is just crazy for New England, but I’ll take it.

Since I’ve shared the completed inside of the bath, I also wanted to share with you how this really transformed out house’s exterior with the new roof lines.

Exterior Before Exterior After

Exterior Before Exterior After

It just fits in so much better and I can’t hardly believe it sometimes.  You may see the inside and may think it was just a bath renovation, but it really was a full dormer demo and new addition to the house. To see it like this really puts it in perspective. We added the cedar shingles to match our existing details and we’ll get everything painted in the spring to match. Looks good, though, right?

BeforeAfter


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A Master Bath Reveal!

The day has come, my four readers, to take a look at the completed bathroom!  I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.

Bath 1 Shower 2 Vanity 2

So, what do you think?? We’re still adding updates like towels bars, new window treatments and decor, of course, but the overall construction is completed.  The vanity turned out to be everything we wanted and is so beautiful and well made!  Between all the storage there and the medicine cabinets, we have everything we need stored in the bath right now.

Vanity Storage

Some of our favorite details include the floor.  I love the floor!  It’s a grey porcelain tile with a marble look and I just love it!  The dark floor hides dirt and hair in between cleaning and with the added heated element it’s lovely to walk on. No rugs in here for the time being!

Floor

We also are in love with the way the shower niche turned out! The final design was literally a night-before decision, but it turned out just perfect. The night before install we found this crown/chair rail type tile at Home Depot that we were able to use to frame out the opening of the niche. The shelves are made of the back splash piece that came with the vanity.  I’m never a fan of the small back splash, so knew I’d re-purpose it here if we had the chance and the shelves are perfect and tie-in with the marble accent we chose for the shower.

Niche 1 Niche 2

Of course I can’t not talk about the chandelier!  I found this on Joss and Main last April and knew it’d be perfect for our bathroom makeover, even before we really had it in our heads to do the bath over! It looks like little droplets of water and adds such a fun touch. All the lights are on dimmers, as well, so if a little relaxing bath is in order, the lights can help set the mood. 😉

Bath Chandy

We also love the vanity, not only for the storage, but for the details.  This beast came full assembled at 350 pounds and really could not be taken apart, so keep that in mind if purchasing it (I sourced the vanity here).  The undermount sinks and faucets that were included are beautiful and pay homage to the age of our home.

Sinks

Vanity Faucet

What I really love, though, is the extra edge detail on the carrara marble top.  It’s so gorgeous and adds so much sophistication to this vanity.  I can’t even believe this is included at the price, really, but is very very lovely.

Counters

And personally, I love how the wood tone of the mirrors warm up the space.  We have plans to add some open shelving over the toilet nook  in the same wood tone and perhaps even a linen tower with how that nook turned out.  I’ll keep you posted on that, but for now, here she is. Of course you can’t have an after with out a before!

FullBath

Bath 1

Thanks for being patient and sticking with me through this!  Settling in and with the holidays slowed me down a bit, but I appreciate still being able to share everything!  If I can ever get home and outside while it’s still light out I’ll share a view from the outside, but we’re equally as in love with how the dormer turned out from there.

Let me know what you think!


Bathroom Plans | Demo | FramingBath Furniture | Dormer | Inside | Reveal | Exterior Complete

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