The owners of this Capitol Hill home love to cook; in particular, they love to bake. They needed a complete kitchen renovation that would offer an open concept with exceptional functionality. Using the tile up the wall offered a great look and easy cleanup option. Top of the line appliances and a butcher-block island completed the look.
06/01/2012 – Mitch A. (Angie’s List Review)
We contacted Justin in November 2011 to bid on our project, remodeling the kitchen and both bathrooms. He came right out the next day, quickly did a thorough review of the project, and responded within a couple of days with a competitive, detailed proposal, which we selected among five other bids.
Most of the work was handled by a two-man crew, Nate and James, but four other contractors came on the job at different times for extra hands or when a specialist skill was needed. The crew is great to work with; friendly, courteous, considerate, and diligent. They keep a clean job site, removing trash and debris frequently. We liked that the J and M team was small and easy to work with, but also big enough to bring on more people when required.
J and M handled everything in the remodel except for the cabinetry, countertops, painting, and shower doors, which we contracted out to others, an arrangement which saved us a considerable amount on the job. J and M’s work included all the demolition, rough carpentry, plumbing, electrical, tile, and the finish and trim work. They worked really well with the other contractors, coordinating schedules and working out dependencies as needed. They also bought all required materials with a reasonable markup, but allowed us to buy the more costly items to avoid the markup, often using their contractor discounts saving us even more money.
We worked from rough designs, which led to frequent changes, including a few major changes. They were very flexible, handling everything, working with us to get exactly what we wanted. We did find that it was important to write down changes—an email was enough—as some things were dropped when communicated verbally.
Some changes were the result of problems uncovered during the remodel. The crew always communicated things quickly as they came up, and were very creative, usually giving us several options to solve the problem. For example, we got stuck trying to work out how to install an electrical outlet on the kitchen island, and Nate worked out a way to cut down some plug mold to fit perfectly on the island trim. It looks great!
The craftsmanship was generally above average and in some cases, excellent. They will take on anything but were best with rough construction, woodwork, tile, electrical and plumbing. They had trouble with the floors and some finish details.
The oak floors required sanding, staining and sealing, and they struggled to get a consistent, smooth finish after going well over budget on the sanding. It was partly due to the challenging nature of the floor—uneven, out of level surface and grain variation—and partly limited experience on their part. I want to emphasize that they absorbed most of the cost overrun and in the end the floors look good, but this part of the job definitely pushed their limits.
They are also easy to do business with. Their invoices are timely, detailed and easy to understand. They provide receipts for all purchases, were quick to respond to billing questions and have been very reasonable in working out any issues that came up.
They started on schedule in mid-January, and finished a bit later than planned, about 10 weeks later—reasonable for the size of the job and the number of changes that we made. We were generally happy with their progress throughout but did have to push at the end to get things wrapped up.
We love all three rooms, they turned out even better than expected and really make the house beautiful.
Overall, we are very happy with J and M. They are reliable and responsive, and will provide quality contracting work at a reasonable cost, but you do need to spend time working with them on the project to get the best result. We will work with J and M again as well, already scheduling a media room project and potentially a studio/office remodel. That probably says as much as anything about our level of satisfaction.
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