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Home Builder reviews in Cambridge

  • A
    CATALANO CONSTRUCTION
    We called Catalano back to help us us remove and reinstall a 40' length of fencing along our property line. The team showed up on time and was able to complete the work in under a day with no issues along the way. The fence looks great and compliments a larger fence replacement they performed 3 years back for us.
    - Tara D.
  • B
    Dream Team Contracting LLC
    We are pleased with the outcome of the project; however, it seemed to take a long time to get the project started. The schedule set didn't end up panning out as it took longer to obtain a City permit. We also had a planned vacation that caused the work to start on a delay. The Contractor has been very engaged with us even after the project ended to ensure we're happy with it and he's offered to come by a couple times to help tweak the settings on the new shower system. While the schedule and responsiveness did not meet our expectations the overall experience was good.
    - Shaina P.
  • A
    YGS Design & Development
    I started working with Yael in December of 2014. I own one unit of a 2-family in Cambridge, and wanted to make an addition to the unit to increase my living area, as well as rearrange the interior of the existing part of the house. We went through a very methodical approach, identifying my needs and objectives, evaluating my aesthetic preferences, and identifying the various restrictions on possible additions or modifications. She reconciled the zoning ordinance requirements against the objectives and we iterated several possible designs before agreeing on the optimal one. The proposed solutions were very creative, and even at the early stages were detailed and well thought out.
    From there, she went through the options for the design, systematically refining and better defining it. She was always open to communication and very proactive about arranging times to meet or have phone calls to review things and make decisions. Together, we developed a plan for the zoning variance application. Yael presented lots of options and together we agreed on the most likely path forward for approval. We gradually iterated the design until we had a final floor plan and exterior elevations which successfully reconciled my objectives for usage and aesthetics with the requirements of the zoning ordinance. This plan was approved by the Cambridge BZA and we then proceeded into the detailed design and engineering phase. 
    Yael helped me identify an engineer to hire, as well as tradespeople to meet to assist in making decisions. She went to numerous showrooms with me to help select materials for siding, decking, window, tiles, fixtures, and lighting. We continued to refine and iterate the design, methodically going through every detail including specific material selections, cabinetry arrangements, lighting fixtures, etc. She took a holistic approach and evaluated not just specific components, but how the whole of the house would fit together and be used.
    Yael worked with the engineer to develop structural plans that successfully reconciled the conflicting engineering, aesthetic, and usage requirements. She was always responsive to feedback, suggestions, and changes. She was always willing to discuss things, and no request by me for feedback from her or guidance ever seemed like it was unreasonable or too much. We frequently went outside the specific scope in our contract, but she was always willing to help and to make sure that we were working towards the best final design. In the end, the final design that she produced is incredibly detailed and well thought out, and I have received several comments as much from contractors.
    Overall, the experience was has been great, and it has been an impressive amount of time and work, especially considering the relatively low cost.
    - Jason S.
  • A
    Boston Best Construction
    Eduardo is very knowledgeable, detail oriented, and trustworthy. He will make sure the project gets done right. We had an extensive basement remodel project and interviewed a number of contractors before deciding on Boston Best Construction. Their team did an amazing job, not just with the basics, but even doing a full custom floor-to-ceiling bookshelf build, a custom recessed projection screen, etc. Would highly recommend.
    - Zack A.
  • F
    BEACONSTREET BUILDERS, INC.
    The representative came out to look at the property for about 15 minutes. He stated he would come back with drawings. This never happened. I did try to contact the provider and was unable to really contact him. He stated he sent me an email which I never received. I have requested a refund because I have tried too long to get the service done.
    - everett b.
  • A
    J Rose & Sons Inc
    This is my second review of Jon Rose. Subsequent to his redoing our kitchen we asked him to repaint our hallway and a bedroom and install a wall of closets in the bedroom.
    The painting was straightforward and uneventful; once again Jon shone at the carpentry challenge. He had previously built a full suite of custom cabinets while redoing our kitchen; the job in the bedroom was to install pre-fabricated Ikea closets in a way that appeared to be custom but was much quicker and cheaper than having custom closets built. We were ripping out and expanding two tiny and annoying ~1912 closets that were poky, shallow and dark. The measurements of the room worked out in such a way that four sections of Pax wardrobes fit neatly around a central space that accommodated our upstairs neighbours' ductwork. Jon tore out the old closets and installed the Ikea closets, covering the central duct area with a panel that matched the closets. He hung Ikea's oversized tempered glass sliding doors in front of the closets, and - voila! - we had a full wall of highly configurable closets hidden behind gorgeous floor to ceiling metal and milky glass sliding doors.
    Once again we appreciated Jon's carpentry skills, his eye for design, his collaborative approach and his practical problem-solving. We also really appreciated that he suggested a quick and cost-effective approach rather than trying to maximize his bill with a fully custom solution.
    - Vera H.
  • A
    SDV Carpentry Inc
    The work performed was excellent.  The island was exposed on the sides and back and required two Ikea pieces be cut with precision in order to achieve a finished look.  The workmanship was outstanding the island looks fantastic.
    - Karen G.
  • A
    V.A.P Painting & Construction Co.
    Finished on budget and before estimated completion date.
    The quality, value for money and professionalism is very rare in contracting. The best part is that I did not have to make any trips to the hardware store or get any supplies. Peter is honest, very skilled and gives very good advice . He has excellent taste in the choice of design, materials and fixtures. He provides excellent value to the client. Our condo association has used him for maintenance and major repairs for more than a decade and we are often amazed at how he can accomplish evreything at a reasonable price.
    - MOHAMMED A.
  • F
    MARTIN CONSTRUCTION
    This is a review of both Martin Construction of Wellesley, MA and New England Home Additions of Plymouth, MA.  The two firms are related by blood: the former is run by William Martin, while the latter is run by his son, also named William Martin.  They may or may not be legally related firms.  

     My brother and I came across the Martins from "B", who provided a review of Martin Construction to Angie's List on April 22, 2013.  "B" is someone we have known personally for more than 20 years, and he told us a Bill Martin was doing the work on his parents' house.  His review of the work was lukewarm: he said the work was ok, but the price kept escalating above what was agreed upon, and also that Martin kept trying to push him to do stuff beyond what "B" was looking to do.

     Despite the lukewarm reference, we ended up going with William Martin anyway, and here began the confusion.  Both William Martin the father and William Martin the son came to look at the property and discuss the work.  They both came several times.  When we signed the contract we thought we were getting the same contractor that had done the work on "B"'s property, but it isn't clear that was the case.  The sign they planted in the lawn read "Martin Construction," and it was the father that we originally contacted, but the contract was with "New England Home Additions."  As noted above, this may or may not be the same legal entity as "Martin Construction," but we certainly had no idea that we were contracting with anyone other than the person who had done work on "B"'s house.  As noted before, both father and son have the same name, and both were there to discuss the deal.  Only 2 months later, while talking with "B", did I realize that it was the father that had done the work on his house.

     But as it turned out, William Martin the son was the one running our project, and hiring him to do that was a catastrophic mistake.  We contracted to have the kitchen and a half-bathroom redone, some work on the basement performed, some painting and floor refinishing, and other tasks.  Will told us that the work would be done in three weeks; he emphasized he had a "big job" waiting, so he had to finish quickly (of course, this proved to be untrue).   Well, more than 3 months later, the job is still not finished, and we would not even be as far along as we are if my brother and i had not taken over the project management from Will, who proved completely incapable of managing this job.

    One reason Will said the job would be done in 3 weeks was because he had a full crew at his disposal   But as we found out, the truth was that Will's "big crew" consisted of only Will, his elderly uncle who did some painting, and his father who showed up every now and then and did a little painting.  The carpenter, plumber, electrician, and floor guys were all subcontractors, all of whom we eventually needed to personally schedule  (more on that later).  Amusingly, Will said that his need to pay workman's comp to his crew and the cost of maintaining his office was one reason why he always needed money from us.  That is comic, because it is unlikely Will has an office that is any different from his personal residence, and also unlikely that "New England Home Additions" has any employees other than Will himself.

     Delays in contracting are not uncommon, but in our case the delay is more than 3 times the estimate (and counting), and worse, it has required us to become the general contractor -- what we were paying Will to do.  To be clear, we paid more than 80% of the contract after a month had elapsed, and the work was nowhere close to 80% done.  With a standup guy that might be OK, but with money in hand Will's work on the project slowed to a trickle.  He personally rarely arrived at the house before 10:30 or 11:00am, nor did he work late.  Some days he simply did not show at all.  As noted, he also seemed incapable of actually managing the project.  We hired a general contractor specifically because we did not want to oversee every phase of things and personally arrange for the workers and supervise them.  But that is exactly what happened, despite our having paid Will.

     When Will could not get it together to get the floor guys in, we made it happen by personally calling and scheduling them.  When Will could not arrange for wood for the floors we made that happen.  When Will could not get around to scheduling the plumber and electrician we made that happen.  When Will's carpenter walked off the job to do another job (he said he would only come on days it was raining because he took a job to build a deck), we had to scramble to find someone to assemble the Ikea cabinets and install them (probably a blessing, in one sense, because it did not seem like Will and the carpenter knew how to assemble Ikea cabinets, despite Will's claim that he had installed "many" Ikea kitchens).  And so on.  We spent days and days and days cleaning up the mess that Will and his guys left everywhere -- something a good contractor would do as a normal part of the job.

     Not only did we have to manage the project, we often had to pay the people we brought in out of our own pockets.  To be clear, we were now paying out of our own pocket for work that *was part of the contract and which we had already mostly paid Will for*.  We paid for new cabiinet guys.  We paid for additional carpentry.  We paid to have the dumpster removed.  And so on.  Will took our money and then essentially left us to actually get the project done, which required extensive time and labor from us and significant additonal expenditures from us.  

     All of this is bad, but it was made much worse by the fact that our elderly and frail parents returned to a house that was not done.  When they came back the kitchen had no cabinets or running water and the bathroom on that floor had been gutted but not put back together.  My parents were forced to use a bedroom as a makeshift kitchen (by using a microwave and toaster oven and mini-refrigerator) and a bathroom sink for dish washing.  They are still using that setup because the work is still not done...3 months after the start.  As bad as that is, if my brother and I had not finally realized that Will would never get the work done and had not taken control of things, the situation would be far worse.

     We very strongly discourage everyone from using Will Martin for anything.  The son lay down on the job, after taking our money, leaving us in a dire situation.  And the father stuck us with his son.
    - Brad V.
  • A
    ANDREW CALORIO CONTRACTING
    Andrew is the general contractor and builder on a very large renovation project on our 1890 Cambridge Victorian house. If you've ever been in one of them, you'll know that they tend to be chopped up into warrens of small rooms and passageways. Andrew and his crew removed a load-bearing wall and replaced it with a flush-framed steel I-beam. This turned three small rooms into a large open-plan kitchen/dining room. They replaced all of the windows in the space with new, larger ones, added exterior french doors and closed up old exterior window and door openings. They also refurbished the doors from an original double french door that had been dismantled years ago. They're now used as matching passageway doors on either side of a fireplace between the old part of the house and the renovated part. One door replaced a solid door and the other went into a new opening. They took an old closet that was under the stairs to the 2nd floor and converted into a powder room.
    The job has gone very well and the results are better than I'd even imagined. Andrew and his crew do very careful and thorough work. In all cases, they do work of the quality they'd expect in their own houses. This job was complicated by the fact that we had a specific cabinet shop we wanted to work with. Andrew showed great flexibility and cooperation with the cabinet guys resulting in a highly precise and finished result. Another complicating factor is that our design is very contemporary and our house is not. Andrew worked well with us and our architect to provide solutions to carpentry and other construction issues that arise when renovating old houses. For example: Part of our plan called for removing part of the central load-bearing wall supporting the two upper floors and replacing it with a beam. The trouble is that our house was framed with a combination of balloon and timber framing techniques that are rarely used anymore. This issue wasn't apparent until the space had been stripped to the framing. There was no way to support the part of this wall that's on the second floor and supporting the third floor from the first floor. They constructed a temporary A-frame support structure on the 2nd floor that essentially held the 2nd floor wall up by the top - as if a pair of tweezers was pinching it from above. Not only did that solve the support issue, but it made it possible for the beam to be inserted flush with the 2nd floor joists. Now the entire ceiling of the new space is a single plane. We have Andrew to thank for this. It was his suggestion to frame it flush. There are quite a few other instances in which his collaborative approach resulted in a better end product.
    Andrew's billing and pricing is totally transparent. We knew exactly what we paid for and how much we paid for it. It made budgeting much easier. This was an expensive job, but that was up to us. The way it was priced gave us the option of being frugal or extravagant in just about any facet of the project. We were able to prioritize our spending to get the things we really cared about (the Capital Culinarian rangetop) and save on the things we were less picky about (painted poplar millwork vs. natural cherry). There's no question that we got our money's worth.
    Andrew demands quality work of himself as well as his subs. He won't hesitate to re-do something that didn't come out the way it was supposed to. For example, one of the details of the kitchen is a vertical glass subway tile backsplash for the rangetop. The design of it was such that it had to be very precisely aligned with the upper cabinets, the stone countertop backsplash, and the cut-out for the rangetop. If anything was off, it would stick out like a sore thumb. The tiler had done a hurried job of it leaving uneven, out-of-plumb grout lines. I noticed it right away, but Andrew already had it on his list of things to fix. He ended up parting ways with the tiler. His finish carpenter and all around problem solver, Junior, spent a good chunk of time pulling the tiles off the wall, cleaning the mortar off of them, and re-tiling the backsplash. Now it's absolutely dead-on perfect. Just about every time I've noticed an issue, Andrew was already aware of and dealing with it.
    Another example of the quality of work is the wiring. The existing wiring was an absolute rats nest. All of it came out and was replaced by the neatest, most organized residential wiring I've ever seen. All of the wires run parallel to each other and the framing with uniform spacing between them. The switch banks are logically organized and the receptacles are well spaced and level. The electrician was quickly able to relocate an active bundle of wires that had been haphazardly installed in a plumbing chase to the upper floors. By doing so, we were able to shrink the chase and reclaim that space to make the powder room bigger.
    Andrew and his crew are all very approachable and friendly. I'm a renovation/architecture nut that would generally drive builders nuts. Andrew and his guys have been genuinely open to my questions and input. I've enjoyed being part of the design, planning, and problem-solving process. They've all been willing to take the time to objectively consider and validate my position on issues. I've never felt ignored or dismissed during the project. This has been very important to me since the priority of this project wasn't resale value. Every decision we've made will have an impact on our day-to-day lives for years to come.
    I would, and will, use Andrew again without a second thought. We'll be redoing our front porch and entryway some time in the next few years. He'll be the first person I call.
    - Ned R.
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