Choosing contractor job No. 1
APROBLEM that often prevents homeowners from going forward with a major renovation is finding a reliable contractor. “I held off on a major kitchen reno for 10 years before I felt confident that I had found the right man to do the job,” said Ian McTavish. McTavish said his decision was prompted by a renovation article in the
section that described the virtues of a contractor who had completed a beautiful kitchen reno in a Winnipeg home. “I knew Tyson Hiebert was the man to undertake my kitchen reno as soon as I met him in person,” said McTavish, who had obtained two other quotes that were cheaper than Hiebert’s, but the contractors did not live up to McTavish’s standards. “I am aware of too many people who have been burned by fly-by-night renovation companies,” he said. “That’s why I set the bar high when I interview potential contractors.” McTavish said further meetings with Hiebert confirmed his instinct the youthful owner of Hammerdown Home Renovations was honest, reliable, concerned with customer satisfaction and craftsmanship, as well as aware of his responsibility to try to complete a job on time and within budget. Indeed, since Hiebert launched his business a decade ago, he and his associates have received rave reviews from customers and colleagues alike. There are numerous testimonials on the Hammerdown website. Sherry and Marc said, “It’s hard to find people nowadays that do what they say they’re going to do. Tyson and his Hammerdown crew are those rare people.” Pearl said, “Tyson’s work is impeccable... He is flexible, dependable and gets the job done.” The Banting’s said, “Hammerdown did a great job on out basement renovation. Our project was completed with care and attention to detail.” “I set out to build a business that people could trust,” said Hiebert. “I do as much as possible to combine good service with fine craftsmanship. My clients seem to appreciate it.” McTavish said Hiebert’s team of renovators was courteous, obliging and cleaned up their mess at the end of each work day. “A member of his crew always left me a note about what had been accomplished. If I required further explanation, Hiebert was always available on the phone or in person,” said McTavish. Hiebert worked with McTavish and his wife, Anna, to create an elegant kitchen in a 30-year-old Oakbank house that is nearly double the size of the original eating area. To start, Hiebert and his crew knocked down a wall that separated the kitchen from a formal dining/living room. The dining room was moved into the living area, opening up sufficient space for a major extension of the kitchen. The room was completely gutted, including a linoleum floor that was scarred and scratched from years of traffic. Anna chose wide-plank red oak T&G flooring to replace the linoleum. The oak was extended into the new dining room as well as the family room, which is a step down from the kitchen. “The old floor in the family room looked so shabby by comparison that we decided to spend a little extra and cover it with the wood as well,” said McTavish. A hardwood rail with balusters that separated the family room from the kitchen was taken out to improve visual and physical access to both areas. A pony wall that partially separates the two areas was capped with a thick slab of granite with a deep cove moulding and a rounded nose to prevent people from snagging their clothes on a sharp edge. McTavish said the crema persa granite was supplied by Cold Spring Granite (Canada) Ltd. of Lac du Bonnet, and it was chosen because of the predominance of dazzling colours in the figure. “Before the reno, our kitchen was quite drab so we decided to brighten it up with light-coloured materials,” said McTavish, adding all the countertops, including two islands, are covered with crema persa, a lively stone with a swirling figure consisting of small areas of mocha intermixed with offwhites, tans and creams.
THE cabinets by Kitchen Craft are painter’s white and the white ceiling is festooned with a dozen pot lights on dimmer switches. A large bay window allows a generous amount of light to enter the room. McTavish said he bought a solid granite sink at Costco for a very reasonable price. A pull-out faucet is from Home Depot. All the appliances, including a gas stovetop McTavish loves to cook on, were purchased new. A convection oven that “we are still trying to figure out” is built into a cupboard at one end of the kitchen, a large stainless steel freezer/fridge unit is fitted into an opposite wall, and a beverage cooler is tucked under a short countertop. A seven-foot-high cupboard with four doors and a generous amount of storage space was constructed in a space formerly occupied by a dining room hutch. The walls are painted a light cream with a hint of green undertone, which complements a tile backsplash inlaid with long, thin coloured glass panels. “The kitchen has become our main entertainment area,” said McTavish. “Guests sit at the large island and talk to me and Anna while we prepare dinner.” Does he feel he got his money’s worth? “Thanks to Tyson Hiebert and his crew, I got more than I expected. I recommend Hammerdown Renovations to anyone who is searching for a first-rate contractor.” Go to hammerdown.ca for more information and renovation photos.