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Architect reviews in Garrett Park

  • A
    They were terrific in adjusting to change. I chose them because they were low-key -- they didn't push their agenda. They knew what I wanted and stayed with that. Out of all of the people I got estimates from, this was the only company that would allow me to stay with the design that my architect son had drawn up. They were very responsive and called me back quickly when I had questions. They even came out 6 mos later to make sure everything was fine. They checked out problem areas and made sure that they came up with solutions. I'm impressed with how they built things and fixed things.
    - Barbara S.
  • D
    Here���s the story of the attempt my wife and I made at
    building an addition to our Montgomery County home with Tabor Design Build.
    We shortlisted 4 different design/builders and met with each,
    discussing our $250-280k budget, with a 50% design in hand. I work as an architect and planner in
    commercial/institutional architecture in DC and designed various options during
    my metro rides to work. The 50% design
    we discussed with 4 builders was a scaled back version of a larger design we
    feared with go over budget. The 4
    builders, including Tabor, reviewed the design and the existing house and felt
    the budget was tight but doable and the schedule was also tight but doable.
    My wife was 2.5 months pregnant at the time we talked with
    builders. We had plans to renovate for
    over a year, but time being tight with a baby coming, we decided to accelerate
    and get our tiny house expanded and complete for the baby���s arrival.
    Of the 4 builders, we chose Tabor as our hunch was that firm
    would be best at keeping construction moving on schedule and would have the
    best summary of all expected work when the job starts so change orders would be
    limited. We never started construction
    with Tabor so we don���t know if those presumptions are true. We entered a design contract for $12,500 and
    it has to be hands down the most buyers��� remorse my wife or I have ever
    experienced. Tabor normally does a 16
    week schedule starting from just a wish list of client ideas and then designing
    options before moving forward with one to detail and price. We were already past the options stage with
    50% design in hand so John suggested the first 7 weeks are unnecessary, we
    could basically hit the ground running at what would normally be the last 9
    weeks in their process. That sounded
    like a great plan except the process moved very slowly and my wife had to
    remind them what was scheduled for each meeting whether finishes chosen or
    whatever. Each time we urged them to
    keep to the schedule, John somehow forgot we started at 50% drawings and kept
    telling me we have a ���compressed schedule���.
    By the time we had ���trade day��� and an estimate was gathered,
    including many cuts proposed by Tabor like budget vinyl siding, a heat pump
    instead of extending our existing hydronic heat. John was working hard to try and get things
    under budget but found his early estimate was nowhere close. We received a construction estimate of 380K
    plus options for screen porch etc. on top.
    We were 50% over budget after expending the window of time we had to
    prepare plans and get ready to build.
    Tabor wanted to look at options to trim budget, after trying to coax us
    to just build over our budget as the neighborhood real estate market would
    sustain it in Tabor���s opinion. We made
    it clear that was more than we could spend.
    When I suggested aggressively cutting back square footage instead of
    simplifying the design into a tract home looking vinyl sided box that John
    insisted on, John told me that wouldn���t get us under budget.
    At that point, we were at wits end. I decided to discuss square footage prices
    with other builders to verify what I was hearing and potentially switch since
    our contract with Tabor was at a point where we had the option to build or
    cancel. I asked John some of what I was
    trying to compare with other builders and he quit our job via email, telling us
    he does not bid jobs, he only does full service design-build. I can���t say my wife or I were impressed by
    the full service design build being left with an unexpectedly high construction
    number and little or no time to rethink it.
    There were some good moments and I think John and his designer are truly
    nice people and would do a great job for other people.
    As angry as we were at being left with no construction ready
    to roll after spending $12,500 basically to produce permit drawings and do an
    estimate (almost the entire construction industry does estimates without fee,
    in hopes of getting the job) the story ended happily. We went back and reassessed some of the other
    builders we conferred with earlier and switched. The first thing we did was cut back square
    footage and add back in the screen porch.
    We chose to build during the first 3 months of the baby���s life while we
    lived elsewhere. The house and addition
    is smaller but much better in design now, has a gorgeous screen porch, came in
    just slightly over our original budget and included many great things we hadn���t
    considered before like changing all of the roof and gutters, painting the
    entire interior, refinishing floors in the existing house, etc. etc. The
    house has the cement board siding we originally wanted and has a new heating
    system, just a higher grade than what we considered in the Tabor project. We are thrilled with the result after
    switching builders and the builder is to, having won the Contractor of the Year
    Award for the local chapter of a national remodeling association.
    PS: I am posting what my husband drafted. I just want to add if you need a reference,
    check the 2012 NARI���s CotY reward. Our house is the grand winner of that price
    category. I don���t know much about construction. All I knew was that it was rather a pleasant process to go to the weekly
    meeting with the new builder during the construction and in the first three months of my baby���s life. After
    being in the house of close to a year now, sitting on the porch that was
    originally thought impossible under the budget, I can���t be happier of our
    decision to switch the builder.

    - Steve P.
  • A
    The process went well from start to finish and it was a pleasure working with the firm. They have good design sense, attention to detail and a are conscious of budgets. They really care about your project and making it happen. We would definitely recommend them to others looking to remodel. The process is trying enough (cost of construction is very high and regulations are a minefield) for us with a full time design professional in the household. It has to be extremely daunting to this unfamiliar with design and building. MC design can add comfort in the process.
    - Chuan L.
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Building Architects in Garrett Park

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