Recent Review: Overall it went very well, and make no mistake they were very good. But since everyone could stand some improvement, I will be forthright about what went well and what needed improvement. The initial design phase for the space was a great experience and they were very patient with us. We went through three rounds of various ideas before we settled on the final plans. When we met with the architect, he had some extremely helpful suggestions and as the building began, my husband and I often commented to each other how glad we were for the architect's ideas. In particular, he suggested that we move the whole room so that the new roof line could be centered between two of the upstairs windows. It has become one of the things we like most about the addition. We found that their interior design staff was not very much help. Although, we have strong ideas about what we like (both of us have some art background), and we ended up just going our own way on the bathroom ideas. We found that their tile prices are too high, so we bought the tile on our own. They told us from the beginning that we were not obligated to buy all our materials through them--and that is a big reason for recommending them. We liked that about them. And they have a particularly good tile installer who really created a work of art in our bathroom. We had some trouble with the installation of the ceiling in the main room. When the drywallers put up the ceiling, it was very obvious that it was wavy. My husband was very unhappy with it, but Design First called back the drywallers back and they took it all down, shimmed the ceiling joists and put the drywall back up. The carpenters also were very accommodating when one of the windows was not centered on the wall. My husband wanted them to move the window and they did not complain at all. In fact, the carpenter encouraged my husband to tell them whether we were happy or not. They moved the window without much trouble and without any griping. In general, once the building work began we felt that we were not left for very long without someone showing up to work. We never felt abandoned; they worked pretty steadily. We also were pleased that they had a port-a-potty on site for the workers. We thought that was very professional of them. We were also very pleased that they were able to match two brick colors that are in the original part of the house--a white brick and a red brick, from 1963. I wanted a fireplace whose brick would match the white brick in our entry hall because from the entry hall you can see straight back to the fireplace. And the white brick in the entry way is original to the house. And I wanted the outside chimney to be an exact match to the existing, original brick on the front of the house. They were able to match both bricks, so from the inside and the outside the addition feels very much a part of the original house. I also wanted the mantel finish to match the wood in our entryway--also original to the house. The interior designers were very helpful on this score and their shop carpenters created a lovely modern maple mantle. Over the white brick, it's gorgeous! We were also pleased that they cleaned up after themselves. We had some misunderstandings over some of the electrical requirements, and my husband was a little annoyed but we did manage to get things clarified. One thing to note: my husband was very careful about watching all the line items in their cost reports as the project went along. It's a good thing too because he found two errors which would have cost us about $1700. They were very obliging and fixed the line items without any fuss. One thing that surprised us was some stalling that occurred over the permits: we were being required by the village to upgrade our electrical service when it was clear to the electricians that we didn't need to. Design First told us that they had had trouble with this office before and did not think that we would be able to get around this. But my husband was having none of it: He went in to the village office, talked to a couple of people, wrote up our request for a variance, and got the requirement waived. It saved us $3000. We were surprised that Design First was not able to do this; however, we chalked it up to lessons learned. Just because you have a contractor doing a lot of work for you does not mean that you don't have anything to do. Whether Design First should have been able to get this waiver for us or not, we really don't know. But they were honest with us and encouraged us, as the homeowners, to do all we could do to get it waived. I also want to say that their project manager did a good job interfacing with all the workers. There was some miscommunication here and there, but that seems all par for the course. He was even tempered and seemed well-suited to his work. There were two other instances that did not pass the plumbing inspection and Art, the plumber, came back twice without delay to fix things. Overall, we were very happy with them and we love the finished product! We love our new space! And we would definitely recommend them to others.