We live in a house built in the 50s with window trims damaged by previous leaks. We have 3 doors in the same hallway in different styles and different heights. Two won't even closed and with badly peeling paint.
Survived 3 renovations in 7 years, I know it is important to research online (Homestars is a great resource!!) and interview at least 3 contractors to get a sense of fair price and who knows best. Ryan from Savage Woodworks was my choice for this project. I was a little worried in the beginning since his company was relatively new and I did not have any previous dealings with him. But I hired him finally for the following reasons:
1. Timely, onsite visit
If you live in GTA, you know the crazy housing market means good contractors are extremely busy and can have some attitude towards small jobs. Some will only hear you out on the phone and once they know you are not renovating the whole house, or still in the research stage, they won't even bother coming to give an onsite estimate. Ryan responded with a simple written quote right away when I filled out an online form and he came in person to give me a quote on the same day.
2. Detailed accurate quote
Throughout the onsite estimate, Ryan took notes and measurements everywhere. When I talked about a certain style, he was able to pull up picture from various suppliers website to confirm size and availability. When I mentioned any special requirements, he jot in his note pad immediately. That showed me he was serious about my business and it gave me more confidence that he understood my requirements completely when giving a quote.
3. Outstanding Woodworking Knowledge
Ryan demonstrated excellent knowledge in different periods of woodworking designs and architectural styles. There were a few odd corners and special door sizes in my project that other contractors couldn't suggest any real improvement, possibly because they just wanted to do a quick job and move on to the next. But Ryan offered all kinds of custom cuts and solutions that would require more skill and labour but could really make a difference.
4. Passionate and Fair
Ryan's quote wasn't the lowest I got, but given the quality and extensive of work he delivered, it was very fair. For example, when all other contractors told me they couldn't fit/find a pair of double doors for me. Ryan offered to make me one in the style I wanted. To him, it's not just a job, the style and delivering what the client wants is important too. In one corner, Ryan had a choice of just putting factory made trims around two doors on two 90-degree walls, but he said he would take everything apart and custom made the whole corner for me so that the 2 doors would be joined under the same architectural crown piece and have the same height and consistent styles with the 3rd door in the same hallway. That was not written in the quote, but he said he would do it because "it would look really nice". It really shows he is passionate about his work. That corner now looks magnificent (see picture).
Ryan delivered the nicest woodwork for me in my house. The finish and precision is HIGH QUALITY. It was not easy to retrofit an old house with existing carpets and painted surfaces but everything fit nicely with a great style in the end. Everything turned out exactly as I expected, no compromises, no nasty surprises.
Our family lived in the house while this project was going on. Ryan has multiple shop vacs and equipment that attached to his saw to suck up saw dust. He and his crew member are very careful and very conscientious in keeping the worksite clean. He made an effort to do a good clean up at the end of every work day and put his equipment aside, so that my two kids won't run into anything dangerous or having too much dust flying around the house. It made our life so much easier during the project. The final clean up is complete and thorough.
On time, On budget
The project was finished timely and on budget. No dragging on while working on other sites.
I don't write reviews very often but I think Ryan deserves a nice detailed one. Being a homeowner living in an old house with not the biggest reno/repair budget, I have interviewed and employed many contractors and tradesmen over the years, Ryan is the easiest to work with. He listens and delivers. No trying to convince you to take a short cut or compromise on quality/style. He and his crew are careful and polite while working in the house, no cigarette butts on my lawn or loud fowl language during work time. I'd highly recommend Ryan and his company Savage Woodworks.
Will update later with more pictures after painting.