Before purchasing our house in Palos Verdes Estates, we knew that it would require a lot of work. Both my husband and I have Renovation Hardware taste but wanted to renovate with an IKEA budget. The following were the list of must-have items to renovate: (1) gut the master bathroom; (2) enlarge the master closet by relocating the entrance to the master bathroom; (3) move the HVAC unit from the second floor to the attic; (4) move the washer/dryer from the garage to the second floor (where the HVAC used to be); (5) renovate the kitchen; (6) tear down a load-bearing wall separating the kitchen and the family room; (7) install skylights (4 total skylights). During this time, we added a few things here and there as well.
My husband is a perfectionist, and calls himself an “amateur architect” and does a lot of DIY stuff around the house, so he knew EXACTLY what he wanted when renovating the home (he created the layout and design, and hired a licensed architect to prepare the drawings for the permits). A friend referred a general contractor to us, and he agreed to do the job within our budget, but we didn’t get a good feeling from him (seemed unorganized, never returned our calls, was over a week late in returning emails, didn’t have a website or reviews online, and kept sending us bids with the wrong information). We’ve heard nightmare stories about contractors, and so decided to play the field and at least consider other contractors. My husband ended up interviewing around 9 other contractors (all while the house was still in escrow, so that we could start renovating immediately after it closed). The primary concerns were as follows: (1) PRICE; and (2) timing, since I was 7 months pregnant when escrow closed and was in a short-term rental until the house was completed. We needed someone to stay within our budget, and complete the job within 2 months. Easy enough right? NO! All 9 contractors were over our budget, and all of them estimated the job to be completed within 3 to 5 months (2 of them charged almost 5 times our budget and estimated 8 to 9 months. WHAT? It was crazy how far apart these bids were for the same job). So my husband and I decided that we had no choice but to increase our budget, and forget about moving in before the baby was born.
The escrow closed in August 2016, and we still didn’t have a contractor. My husband and I were stressed out. Coincidentally, when speaking with a friend of mine from business school (she is known to be detail oriented and do more research than the average person, and I respect her opinion), she recommended California Construction Center, and particularly EZ (he goes by “EZ”). She told me that she did tons of research when adding a new room to her home, and said that EZ was very “easy” (no pun intended) to work with, that the price was one of the lowest she received, that the final product was flawless, that he didn’t go over budget, that he completed the job EARLIER than estimated, and he always picked up the phone when she called. Sounded too good to be true, so I called EZ and met with him. Very nice, knowledgeable, professional, organized (created computer model of what our bathroom would look like, similar to the HGTV shows), and super responsive. We met for a second time to go over the bid (estimate), and my husband and I prepared ourselves to be disappointed once again with the price and the length of construction, but told ourselves that as long as it wasn’t crazy numbers, we would hire him because we felt good about him. To our surprise, EZ’s bid was BELOW OUR BUDGET (we told him what our budget was), and he estimated 6 to 8 weeks (he explained that he knew I was giving birth and would do everything he could to get us in our home beforehand). No brainer, we hired him on the spot, especially because we felt absolutely confident with him.
EZ started demolition immediately after being hired. Long story short, EZ passed all building inspections on the first attempt, completed the job ON-TIME, and didn’t charge a penny over what he estimated. During this 7 weeks, my husband and I called EZ almost every day (morning and night - as late as 10:00 p.m. sometimes), and EZ picked up the phone 95% of the time, or else texted me back and returned my call within 5 to 10 minutes. My husband (the perfectionist) envisioned how he wanted the skylights to look (just like the velux catalog - 3 next to each other). After EZ framed the ceiling/roof, my husband said he didn’t like the location. EZ’s response? “OK, I want to make you happy - where do you want it?” EZ changed the location, and afterwards my husband asked again to change the way it looked. EZ’s response? “OK, what would make you happy?” EZ changed it again. My husband changed it for a third time which required new beams, and EZ’s response was always “OK, I can do that. I want to make you happy”. I didn’t like the size of the new window in the new bathroom, and EZ’s response, predictably was “OK, I want to make you happy”. After the framing for the new shower was constructed, it was smaller than I thought it would be (although it was built according to my plans) and asked if we could enlarge it. EZ responded “No problem, if that will make you happy”. We never got sick of hearing that response. EZ never charged us more for making these changes, and simply made these changes because he wanted to make sure we were happy with the construction. Now THAT’s what I want to hear from a contractor. Throughout the project, EZ accommodated us, whether we decided it didn’t look great or if we saw an imperfection. We NEVER had to argue with him once. Again, he had one response: “I want to make you happy” and “I will take care of it”. We also met with EZ’s co-workers, “Ozzie” and “Omer”, and both had the exact same attitude: “We can do that”, “we will make the change” and “we want to make you happy”, without charging us more to make us happy. This made a very stressful time a little less stressful, knowing that the project would come out the way we wanted, and still staying within budget and meeting the deadline.
The job is now complete, and we love our new home, especially the areas that were renovated by EZ. Again, the renovations came out even better than we hoped, and we have gotten a lot of compliments. My husband (who is never happy with anything) is actually very happy with the results. Even after the job has been completed, EZ is actually coming back to do one more thing for me, without charge, because I wanted crown molding around a pony wall in the bathroom. EZ never complains or argues, is completely professional, very responsive, absolutely accommodating and understanding, and he truly wants to make sure we are happy with his work. He seems to put customer service at the top of his priority list. It was a pleasure working with him, and I was simply compelled to write this review (which I don’t usually do, especially not such a long one). My husband has already recommended EZ to his brother and to a friend (even though he never recommends anyone because he doesn’t want to feel responsible if things go bad), and we plan on using EZ for any projects in the future. If you are going to hire a contractor, interview as many contractors as you like, but make sure you include EZ.