Recent Review: In October of 2018, Landmark Builders Group completed a 6-month long project on our house, which involved the following: 1) a 700-square foot, two-story addition to a house that was formerly 1480 square feet. The addition included a new master bedroom and master bath upstairs, and a new great room downstairs 2) a complete kitchen re-model (new floors, appliances, cabinets and countertops with the kitchen now opening out onto the new great room) 3) our former and rather small master bedroom and master bath converted into a study with a walk-in double closet, adjoining new master bedroom. 4) Re-painting entire interior and new wood floors throughout almost the entire house; re-doing/smoothing out some of the old ceilings, which had a rather cheap and nasty pattern designed to conceal the shoddy workmanship of the original builder. 5) Major landscaping in the backyard with a new patio, sod, retaining walls. So overall this was a very large project and we think we can give a detailed assessment of our experience with Landmark. We chose Landmark because they were local and I had seen a major renovation that they’d done around where my children went to elementary school; later I saw that they were building homes from scratch not that far from where we live. They are a company that usually builds about 4 new houses a year as well as undertaking renovation projects; however, they are not so large that your project is just one of many that they’re doing; you will always be able to get in touch with someone when you need to. Most importantly, I could see they knew what they were doing because they’d previously completed many large-scale renovations/additions like the one we wanted. Price-wise, Landmark’s estimate was not the cheapest but certainly not the most expensive. We feel we got value for our money and that was confirmed for us by the inspections the construction guy from the bank did. Matt Clark is the owner and he is a truly decent, likeable, honest man. Matt will emotionally invest in your project, go the extra distance to ensure that you’re satisfied with his company’s work, and he will stay involved throughout. Clearly he’s very experienced and can call on a vast network of skilled people throughout the industry to complete every facet of the work. He’s open-minded, will listen to what you want, can almost immediately tell you a plan’s feasibility, will be straight with you about any problems that might arise, and can offer creative solutions to work around these problems. For the framing and more detailed carpentry work (we had an in-built entertainment center with a lot of bookshelves made, as well as window trim, new French doors, wainscoting etc.), Matt partners with a guy by the name of Bryan out of Ironwood Construction, who is a real perfectionist and was very easy to work with. Kelly, who handled the kitchen and master bath cabinets, was excellent. She offered advice at the right times and had a really good sense of how to maximize the kitchen space and its general appeal by altering the original layout. The plumbing, electrics, a/c and roofing people Matt had were all on time, on-budget and did their job properly, and the landscaping guys went beyond the call. Lisa is Matt’s do-everything person as far as offering decorating solutions, purchasing, and handling the money/budget issues are concerned, and she was always very calm and patient, even when things were chaotic either on our site or another one they were building on. With the drywall, plastering and paint, I was never sure if Matt’s guys were not up to par or whether it was just the fact that the drywall and plastering is the nastiest, messiest and most drawn-out part of a renovation/addition like this. The point with the drywall, plastering and painting though was that if there was something I saw that I didn’t like or thought was poorly done, I’d tell Matt or Bryan, it would be taken care of and that would be the end of it. That was the case with the bathroom tiling too: the guy Matt usually has was overseas and his replacement wasn’t up to the job, so Matt waited for his main man to come back and ate the cost of some of the work having to be undone and then re-done properly. Everybody who’s going to drop a lot of money on a big renovation is going to be nervous about whether or not they’re choosing the right people to do a job like this, because it’s your house, a lot of money is going to change hands, and so much could potentially go wrong. Everyone who gets work done on their place has heard or read a horror story or two about rogue contractors who either do an awful job, leave you in a lurch, or who at worst take the money and run. None of these things will ever happen with Landmark. We love how our house now looks, and it’s so nice being able to live so differently due to the added space and being able to enjoy how great everything looks. So overall we had as pleasant an experience as it is possible to have under such circumstances, and we recommend Landmark highly. BEEN-THERE-DONE-THAT-LEARNED FROM OUR MISTAKES ADVICE OUTSIDE SCOPE OF REVIEW: 1) Deep down everyone would love to enjoy the personal touch of an independent master craftsman whose prices are miraculously generous and who is going to spend every waking hour throwing him or herself into your project. The problem is, those people only exist on TV shows, so if you have a big project, get a bigger company to do the work. You don’t want to hire someone who is full of good intentions but who will without warning take another job that comes up or who doesn’t have the resources to get the project completed on time. One previous experience with a two-person business to tile and paint a powder room taught us this. 2) If you don’t like how something looks or if you think it’s been done poorly, say so and keep saying so until it’s been done properly. That doesn’t mean being an uptight perfectionist about everything, but if you don’t say something, no one else will, and you’ll end up wishing you had made a bit of a fuss. Just try to be nice about it and it’ll work out. 3) Having this amount of work done on your house is a highly disruptive, stressful experience no matter how smoothly everything runs, and our project went pretty smoothly, with no major setbacks or nasty surprises. Even so, there were times when I understood why many people just decide to sell their house as is and buy somewhere else when they want more space for a growing family. We however like where we are and saw the potential to add a nice extension to what we had, and I don’t think we’ll ever regret doing so. In short, we love the way our house is now and it’s so nice to live in it. Just know though that if you decide to do a major renovation, be prepared for emotional highs and lows, try to keep as calm as you can, and most importantly, find another place to live for as long as you can afford to while the renovations are going on. After a while, you won’t be able to put up with the dust, the lack of a kitchen, the noise and the general disruption. Plan ahead and be prepared to spend money renting a real home you can stay in for as long as you can afford it (depending on what kind of financing you’re getting, you might even be able to work out an arrangement with your bank to put of mortgage payments until you move back in. Although that means the interest compounds and it costs extra, it might save you on things such as your sanity, your happiness etc.).