Reed

Open letter to homeowners:

 

Kip Carpenter changed our lives. He helped me and my wife create a safe, functional and beautiful home where we can age gracefully. We will never forget this transformation as we enjoy his handiwork daily.

Thirty years can go by quickly and even a well maintained residence can become unsafe and uncomfortable. Things wear out. Codes change. Our bodies deteriorate even faster than our house. Things that once worked suddenly stop functioning. The alternatives are simple—live with it, move, or change it. We wanted to change it but were overwhelmed by the scope. Where do we start? What about our pets? Where do we live? How long will it take?

He did the kitchen first. It was a total rip and replace which took just two weeks. There was a dust wall. The refrigerator was in the living room and we ate out for awhile. The kitties napped in the bedroom. We got a beautiful kitchen that works for us and our lifestyle. The previous kitchen just did not work. We ate and ran. The new kitchen is the most relaxing room in the house and we rarely leave. Everything in the room is outstanding and the new GFCI outlets add a new level of safety.

Next we worked on the bathrooms. Mold is a serious problem and it loves a moist place. Our bathroom fans were original to the house. They just moved everything to the attic. Kip replaced the old rattletraps with new units. The new fans exhaust through the roof and use timers so they continue to pull the moisture out even after you leave the room. I call them Whispersuck 2000s because they are so quiet and powerful.

According to the CDC, people over 65 slip and fall at least once a year. Some of these falls are fatal. Our bathrooms were small and had tubs. We knew that a fall in a steel bathtub would be serious. We just did not know what to do. Kip managed to squeeze in a walk in shower for us. We not only got a shower that is easy to access, it even opened up the room. For us, the project was painless. There was a dust wall. It took three weeks. We slept on the sofabed. The kitties napped in the extra bedroom. I recall hearing loud banging one day. The rest of the time things were quietly moving along.

Kip managed the impossible. He understood us and had a vision of what we needed. He gave us detailed estimates. One project came in quite a few dollars below estimate. One came in a few dollars above. The dollar variance on both projects was less than 2%. That is pretty remarkable for construction projects. I wish I was the same low variance on my information technology projects. These projects were affordable and made our house a place we can live for a very long time. Kip took on all the worries of how to do it and how to correct mistakes. Construction requires that the right people install the right stuff according to schedule. Reality intervenes with rainstorms, delays and incorrect products. We led our lives and our kitties napped while Kip solved all the problems.

By every measure, Kip greatly exceeded our expectations. We expected the projects would be more expensive but they were less expensive. We expected the projects would take a long time, but they were finished quickly. We expected to make a few compromises on finished products but we made none.

Our desire was to stay in our home for a long time. These updates allow us to do just that. We are delighted with the results of Kip’s efforts which have updated our house and made it safe.

Jennings

May 10, 2016

Kip Carpenter
Carpenters Construction Company, Inc

Dear Kip,

I am delighted to offer the following narrative about our two-year long adventure together.

Despite having spent an entire adulthood trying to avoid remodeling a house, when I moved to Tallahassee at the end of 2013, I faced the prospect of not one, but two houses in need of repair, restoration and renovation. Two years later, both are finished, both done by Kip and his team. It is worth detailing this journey, since doing so points out just how strong and resilient Carpenters Construction has been.

House 1 is in the Myers Park historical district, built around 1940 into the side of a hill, with the front (historical section) supported on piers, and the 1960’s addition—an enclosed Florida room with a flat roof —sitting on an uneven concrete slab. My original intent was just to do a kitchen renovation; however, the floor was too uneven to permit installation of ceramic tile. It turned out that the supporting piers were both too few and too short to support the floor throughout the original part of the house. Worse, ineffective attempts had been made in the past to correct progressive sagging, and the plaster and lathe walls—and even the doors—had all required paring and patching on more than one occasion. The kitchen renovation turned into a staged project: jacking the floor, making concrete pads for new masonry supports, and adding sufficient support beams to prevent any future sagging across the width of the house, and then repairing all the masonry cracks resulting from the lifting. Thereafter, the kitchen remodeling could be done, with a new tile floor, custom floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, and new appliances. Kip and crew took each problem in hand and worked out the most efficient means to stage a restoration that simply could not be avoided. The result was a beautifully restored—and level—period house with a spectacular new kitchen.

Having such success in half the house, we turned to the 1960’s rear addition, a screened porch later converted to a fully enclosed space. The vertical wood beams supporting the roof were rotting away, the louvre windows leaked, and the bare slab floor had severe pitch, roll, and yaw across its large expanse. It also abutted the newly renovated kitchen. In the end, we removed the entire structure and its slab, poured a new, reinforced foundation, raised the height of the ceiling (adjacent to the older structure), added a new pitched roof and made a library, master bedroom and ensuite bath with cabinetry matching that of the kitchen. And added a concrete driveway just to be complete.

The result is a house that is completely functional throughout, with a lovely period front that segues into a completely modern kitchen-library-master suite. Despite the very different feel from front to back, great care was taken to make doors, door frames, walls, ceilings and windows, and fittings match. Since the house is intended for me to age in, the design permits every activity to be done on a single level, without stairs or mobility barriers, including a roll-in shower. It is really spectacular.

House 2 is a 1960’s ranch farmhouse above Lake Jackson. It badly needed a new kitchen with some structural alterations, but alterations that had to match the very characteristic materials and finish of the

original house. This required moving one wall and adding ceiling support between dining room and kitchen, while using all original paneling and matching the few additions that were required. As an even greater challenge, we wanted the original cabinetry kept and refinished, even to the point of using the old drawer fronts for new drawers. We also elected to surface the kitchen and its vast new island with monolithic soapstone, which entailed subcontractors coming from a distance to cut and install it. Despite the constraints we placed on both design and execution, the ride was essentially “bumpless” and the result outstanding.

Obviously, there are many other details, altered plans, add-ons (“while you’re at it…”) and compromises. House 1 was so successful, despite Kip’s having to contend with a sub-optimal construction sequence, that we never considered anyone else for House 2. Not only that, but Kip stands behind everything he and his crew do, irrespective of when an issue is discovered. This is the sort of peace of mind cannot be bought. More than being pleased with results, I trust Kip’s abilities, integrity, and counsel. I would not consider anyone else.

Sincerely yours,

Stephen A. Jennings, MD, FACS

Chapman

A Carpenters Construction Company
P.O. Box 14194
Tallahassee, Florida  32317

Dear Kip:

Diane and I wanted to thank you, and offer a letter of recommendation for anyone considering your services in the future.  Being “local”, we are often asked for suggestions of various trades and services, and we are extremely careful with our recommendations.

Our recent experience with you and your company was simply outstanding.  Undertaking a complete remodeling/renovation of both bathrooms in a 1938 home is a scary and daunting task, but this didn’t faze you in the least.  From our initial meeting, you took our very basic ideas and formulated a comprehensive plan to accomplish what we really wanted.  The end results far surpassed our expectations, and the entire process was virtually “painless”!

All of the vendors that you steered us to were helpful, professional, and provided top-quality products (and installation when applicable).  I would use all of them again.  Similarly, all of your sub-contractors were of the highest quality, and great to work with.  One common thread that ran through our dealings with both vendors and trades folks was an unwavering respect and understanding of your high standards.  Cut corners?  No way, “Kip would never go along with that!”  As the homeowner, it was comforting to hear that type of comment consistently.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention your Aging in Place certification, knowledge and experience.  Your foresight in blending these concepts into our design, delicately reminding us that we wouldn’t be young (we’re 60) forever, really made a huge difference in the final product.  And yet visitors do not even recognize that the remodeling will accommodate the changes we can anticipate in our abilities in the remaining 30+ years we plan to live here!

I could go on and on (as you know, I tend to be long-winded), but will just end with a big “Thank You” for all that you did for us.  A great improvement to our home, and a great investment.

Sincerely,

David B. Chapman

 

L.D. & M.D.

Linda and I are pleased to recommend Kip Carpenter and his staff at Carpenters Construction Company for any home renovation project or new home construction. Linda and I are both detail oriented (picky) attorneys who appreciate having a building contractor whose standards are even higher than ours. We also appreciate a person whose word is his bond. When Kip makes commitment, you can be assured that your work will be completed on time, for the price you agreed on.

Carpenters Construction made a complete renovation of two of our bathrooms. Renovation work requires extra care not required in new construction, after all, we were living in the project. All our possessions were exposed to possible damage. Kip and his crew took extraordinary care not to bump furniture, to control dust, to protect carpet and not to scare the cat! We are delighted with the workmanship of the whole project and now that we have been using our baths for two years, we are satisfied that we have a long lasting upgrade to our home.

Remodeling the baths was followed with a new backyard deck and some necessary siding repairs, but we had no idea our next project for Carpenters Construction would be so unexpected. In February a city utilities contractor hit our house sewer line with an earth boring tool and forced sewage water back up into the whole ground floor of our house. I called Kip at 10:30 that morning and by noon he was on site and by that night our furniture was stored and waterlogged flooring was on the way to the dump. Kip himself helped us box books, and other belongings to move upstairs.

Money cannot buy that kind of service and extraordinary dedication to our emergency needs. Kip’s long experience and established relations with his subcontractors was the key to providing us such quick response. His crew put in many overtime hours to get ups back to normal living as soon as possible. The post flood restoration is beautiful. His staff deserves mention. Their pride in working in a first class firm is obvious in the care with which they responded to our needs or concerns. You will be delighted to him them working for you.