Stewart Associates Architecture & Interiors
Total Construction Cost We are a full-service Architecture office. We can take your project from an idea to a finalized design and are experts at getting through the tough design approval processes found throughout the Bay Area. From there we can prepare a full Building Permit submittal, coordinating with any necessary consultants, review bids from contractors, and more. We offer free consultations to give you a better idea of what your project will entail.
Floor Plans, Home Additions, Home Extensions, Home Remodeling, House Plans, New Home Construction, Space Planning, Custom Homes, Construction Drawings
Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, Emerald Lake Hills, Foster City, Hillsborough, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, Stanford, Woodside
Member of AIA San Mateo Best of Houzz Design Award 2013-2015 Best of Houzz Service Award 2014
We are sorry to hear that you are unhappy with the services we provided to you.
Through the history of this business there have been many Designers, Draftspeople, and Architects that have worked here and it has been common to have one or more of them be involved in your project. John is personally involved in every project and attended the majority of the meetings on your project. He stopped attending because you were concerned about the costs that were adding up and you specifically asked to meet with only one member of our team to save money. We work the same way on projects of all sizes, John oversees all of the projects so unfortunately at times he can not be as hands on as he would like. He personally reviewed your drawings many times before you even saw them at every stage of the project. We don’t recall any “borderline angry” meetings or a conversation where he agreed anyone at Stewart Associates acted unprofessionally. We are sorry if you felt that way and sincerely apologize.
Your project was a challenging one. You had floor plans already drawn before we started to work on it as well as many images of homes you liked and a bare lot that has significant slope. We tried to marry the floor plan to the images while taking the slope into account and as we remember you received the initial design very well. You had some minor changes you wanted to make, moving the Master suite to a different location (the initial location was specifically requested by you), and we successfully incorporated those changes. Then you no longer liked the exterior and wanted to go a completely different direction. To make a long story short, you changed your minds several more times throughout the process. As we explained to you, during the design phase we work on an hourly contract because there is no other way for us to be fair to ourselves and to our clients. We met with you 9+ times and even went as far as to work on the design live with Erin looking at the monitor to try to streamline the process since there were concerns early on that we were spending too much time on things before you could give us feedback. In the end Erin, who we met with most of the time, was very happy with the design and was excited to show it to Trevor. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter Erin emailed us to let us know that Trevor was concerned about the resale value of the style that you had selected and wanted to go with something more common in the area.
By this point we were over our original estimate and you questioned how that had happened. We sent a thorough email basically detailing everything stated above in more detail. We give out estimates based on many years of projects and typically we are significantly under what we estimate. Unfortunately, when a client changes the direction of the project so drastically several times the charges do add up.
To that email Erin responded “Totally understand now. I can come in Monday at 12:00 if that works for you?” and we proposed some other times as we weren’t available that Monday at 12:00. That meeting was to discuss the possibility of yet another completely new design. That was the last communication we had from either of you. This was over 11 months ago, and we didn’t hear back from you. We had several invoices for work that we had already performed totaling over $2500 that went unpaid for almost a year. Finally, after sending bill after bill without hearing anything from you we decided to hire a debt collection firm to try to collect what was owed. If you read your contract, we are entitled to 1.5% interest monthly on unpaid invoices. We didn’t even add that to your bill, we just wanted to be paid for work we had done. We took a 25% loss on the bill to pay the debt collector and we fell that we have been nothing but fair. Had you come to us with these concerns instead of just ignoring our bills for months we may have been able to work with you but after 11 months we didn’t feel that was fair.
At no point did we bill you for work that wasn’t performed or that you didn’t see. You may have received a bill after our final meeting due to the nature of our billing process, but no work took place that you didn’t request. Our final meeting was on 6/6/2017 and after that date we billed an additional 3 ½ hours’ worth of time. The majority of the unpaid balance was from an invoice you missed paying in May, well before that meeting and was likely what we reviewed during that meeting or even a revision past what was billed for during that invoice. We can’t recall the exact specifics, as it was almost a full year ago, but those 3 ½ hours must have been work that was requested during that meeting as well as fielding your emails about another change in style.
Sorry it didn’t work out.
The Stewart Associates Team