Recent Review: My project entailed transforming a dark, space-consuming stairway encased within walls, into an open floating stairway. The old staircase completely separated the living area from the kitchen-dining rooms, prohibiting any conversation between those areas. I wanted to create a space that would allow the entire first floor to function as one open room for entertaining. After interviewing a few contractors, I hired Jimmy Dollman (Dollman Construction). From the first meeting, Jimmy separated himself from the others. He asked relevant questions to ensure that he understood exactly what I wanted from the renovation. After several conversations and review of an idea book, Jimmy completed design drawings and then thoroughly explained each part of the renovation process. Certain design elements required thinking outside the box so that building code requirements were met, while still creating the look and ?feel? I wanted. The timeline for completion of the project was to be no later than Aug 2nd. It was completed on July 25th. I then added an additional project, the replacement of the kitchen flooring, on July 28th. The stairway renovation turned out so well that it made the kitchen floor appear shabby and out of place. Even with special order tile, Dollman completed everything by Aug 15th . The renovation was done on our second residence, a townhouse that is a 3 ½ hour drive from our permanent residence. We only made one visit during the four month renovation. However, Jimmy routinely sent pictures at all major milestones. I could also count on receiving his updates every Friday. I always felt ?in the loop? and fully informed. I was never worried or concerned about not being on site. The townhouse has vaulted ceilings in the living area, yet was dark and relatively small with just one North facing window. The dining room has a sliding glass door with Southern exposure and opens into a huge open kitchen. There was a prefab gas fireplace that took precious space from the small living room, yet was never used. The design that Jimmy and I created got rid of the fireplace, and completely opened up the staircase, making it appear to ?float? with as few visible support beams as possible. We chose a stainless steel cable banister system that allowed the dining and living areas to become one open living space. The end result is an incredible contemporary design that takes maximum advantage of the vaulted ceiling. The demo included removal of the fireplace?s gas line, relocation of numerous electrical outlets/switches, removal of four walls and the existing wood floor. New hardwood oak flooring was installed. Custom made steps and wood railings were milled and stained to match the dark cherry colored flooring (perfectly, may I say). With the entire downstairs repainted a crisp white (less my one Chicago Maroon accent wall), the contrast was made even more dramatic with the installation of new lighting. Two can lights on a dimmer switch under the first landing were added as a suggestion from Jimmy. Two new pendant lights and matching stairway sconce of pewter and nickel completed the contemporary feel of the new space. An area that was considered marginally functional became a perfect warm and inviting entertainment space. Now when you walk through the front door, you feel like you could be in a trendy loft apartment in Manhattan. Now that the project is complete we know without a doubt that we hired the right contractor. The new staircase exceeded all our expectations. It was completed ahead of schedule and on budget?with no hidden expenses or financial surprises! Mr. Dollman and his company?s professionals were a pleasure to work with, responsive, caring and talented. We would not think of working with any other contractor in the Roanoke or Blacksburg area.