Review Backlash

This is the last time you’ll hear me complaining about our contractor. I promise!

You all saw my Yelp review I posted about last week. Well, I also posted that to BBB and a few other sites that The Basement Men and The Creative Approach are on. I decided that I was going to write a shorter review on FB, directing readers to the Yelp review.

Steve, our contractor and owner of the companies decided to write back with nothing but lies. I was actually in so much shock that I retaliated quickly. Normally I wouldn’t react publicly. I would let them get the last word because I would have zero need to defend myself for something I know I’m right about. This time however, I couldn’t help myself.

My response was probably irrational and immature but it had to be said. It’s one thing for Steve to defend himself and his company but to flat-out lie about me and David- nope, I won’t have any of that!

Here is how all of the drama went down. If you don’t like drama I highly suggest exiting out of this post ASAP

https://m.facebook.com/The-Creative-Approach-Builders-The-Basement-Men-The-Concrete-Man-108344832553947/

Our Final Review

I’ll be honest, I am not one to write reviews unless it is asked of me to write one, I’ve had an exceptional experience, or an awful one. I really don’t even write reviews on awful experiences because it’s not worth my time or I quickly forget about it within a couple of days. After our experience with this contractor, I couldn’t help myself. I wrote a long and horrendous (but honest) review of our experience with him/ his company.

He has three names for his company which is weird to me. He has The Basement Men, The Concrete Men, and The Creative Approach. We were writing checks out to The Basement Men even though our project wasn’t in the basement. Anyway, the contractor, Steve, didn’t want to see the final reveal of the bathroom, I lost my sh*t and decided I wasn’t going to sugar coat my review.

So, here it is. I copy pasted it from Yelp. Was I too harsh? Probably! But, hopefully Steve can take this and learn so that his company thrives.

Readers beware: this is long but honest
When we first met Steve, we liked the work he showed us in his notebook. He also gave us a really low quote which my husband thought was actually a fair quote for a small bathroom. We signed the contract and were excited to get this project started. The contract said we had to give a 50% deposit and a 50% completion check.
Things were going pretty smoothly, but Steve was annoying when it came to payments. We decided to remove some concrete and he said it was an extra 600 dollars. We agreed to the cost& he came over to collect a 50% deposit and the following day he came over to collect the rest. We thought it was odd that he needed 2payments for such a small bill or why he couldn’t have just added it on to the final invoice.
He then asked for more progress checks and we gave him them even though our contract said NOTHING about progress checks.
We started to notice that Steve ONLY came over when he wanted a check. He never checked on the project unless a check was involved. Our previous contractor was here every single day and was an active part of the remodel. So strange.
We went through a polar vortex which delayed our counters from being installed. Steve was on us about it but it wasn’t something that we could control.
The second the counters were installed we contacted Steve to let him know. He said that his workers would be over the next day. The following day we expected the guys to show up, and they didn’t show up in the morning. Steve called my husband and texted him asking if it was ok if he came over for a completion check. What???? The bathroom wasn’t completed or anywhere near it. My husband told him that he wasn’t comfortable with giving him a check until it was completed and Steve asked if we could write a post dated check instead. My husband said it depended on how much progress was made that day but he wasn’t sure he feels comfortable writing the check. Well, 12pm rolls around, no workers, they showed up at 1:15!! We didn’t care that they showed up so late, but we knew that the bathroom would be nowhere near completion to write a check for Steve. My husband texted Steve to inform him that he would not be writing a check that day. Steve did not like that answer. One of his workers came to find me and had Steve on the phone for me. Steve told me how rude my husband’s text message was to him and how it’s not ok for my husband to say he will write and check and then go back on his word. I reminded steve that our contract states a “completion” check and the bathroom isn’t completed, therefore he should not be getting a check. He proceeded to push me into writing a check and post date it, and he would not accept no for an answer. When I told him over and over that he won’t get a check until it’s completed since that’s what the contract said, he told me we were playing dirty and kept saying “so that’s how you want to play this game”. He mentioned that we delayed his project with the counters and he took a higher paying job than ours and now has to pull his men from that job to finish ours. So I told him to have his men finish today and we will hire somebody else to complete the job. He said he would pull his men from our job and reschedule in a couple of weeks when they finish their bigger job. Finally I cut him off and told him I had to deal with my two small children and hung up.
I was waiting and waiting for his men to leave, they never did. My husband got a lovely text that Steve was pulling his guys, and my husband didn’t respond. When he came back from work at 5:00 the workers were still there. So it was an empty threat. They didn’t leave until 6:30 and then my husband got yet ANOTHER text saying that the men made lots of progress, how about my husband gives him half of the completion check?? Are you serious??? Is this real?!?! My husband said nope, not until the job is complete.
The men showed up the next day (Thursday) , Friday, and were at the house from 8-6:40 on Saturday. They came back Monday as well. We heard that the workers got in trouble for installing our mirrors, painting our trim, and potentially sealing our tiles.
They finally finished Monday afternoon and Steve texted my husband about when he could come collect his check. He agreed on 5:15 and didn’t show up until almost 6. HE DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO SEE THE FINISHED PROJECT!! Can you believe that?! What contractor doesn’t want to see the work his men did on a job?!
This was the most disturbing, uncomfortable experience and I would never ever ever work with Steve again or recommend him to my worst enemy. The way he spoke to me was unacceptable and inappropriate and the harassment for a check made him come off desperate and shady. It’s a shame because his workers do a good job and some were pleasant to be around, but save yourself the hassle and do NOT use this company. We would have rather paid 3 times more than we did just for a more pleasant experience.

Broken Tile, Messy Grout, Bad Vanity Planning, and Paint Splatters

I think that our contractor and his men wanted to be done with the bathroom just as bad as we wanted it to be done.

Besides not reading the reviews for this company, our biggest regret was not having the contractor do a final walkthrough because there was a lot more to be fixed than we anticipated.

Last weekend, David went to deep clean the bathroom so that we could move the boys into it. Who would have thought sharing s bathroom with two small children for 2 months would be such an ordeal?! As he was cleaning we discovered quite a few things that we would have expected to be fixed.

The grout is kind of mess but I really think if we used a lighter color it would have turned out great. I just expected more from a professional company. We noticed one broken tile and three scratched tiles in the shower. All which can’t be fixed but need to be chiseled out.When David was walking in the bathroom, you can hear and feel that some of the floor tiles are loose. Again, they need to be chiseled out.They did terrible planning when installing the vanity because the drawer on the end cannot be opened all of the way due to the window trim being in the way. Unfortunately, this is something that can’t be fixed at this point.Lastly (from what we could tell), there was ceiling paint splattered all over the counters. I’m not exaggerating here, splatters everywhere. Luckily the counters are light so it’s hard to tell, but it took a while to scrape them off and we didn’t even get all of them!I am so mad we didn’t have the contractor do a final walkthrough but I am so grateful that David could fix all of this stuff. We would be in big trouble if he couldn’t.

We learned so much during this experience and with all of the trouble and stress that came with it, at least the bathroom is done…but no the boys still aren’t moved into it yet!

Blue Tape and No Final Walkthrough

One thing that we were asked to do, was walk through the bathroom and blue tape anything we might need to be fixed.

David and I walked through and found so many things, it really wasn’t even worth blue taping. I figured that when Monday rolled around, I would basically tell the guys that they need to clean up their grout job as it is thicker in some places and thinner in others. It looked like David could have done it and the point of paying money for a contractor was so that it looked more professional than David’s grout job (not that there’s anything wrong with David’s grout job), we just wanted a professional look.

Fixing the electrical problems from the weekend was on our punch list, there was some bad dry wall work and painting that needed fixing, sealing the counters and shower, and then just cleaning up so that the bathroom could finally be used.

When the guys showed up they weren’t thrilled that we didn’t blue tape- understandably so. I showed them where the grout looked good which was pretty much one side of the shower, and explained that that was how I wanted the grout to look everywhere. He told me that because we picked black grout, it’s very dark and really hard to get perfect. He said if we looked at the grout in our master bathroom and kitchen we wouldn’t notice the imperfections because it’s white and light gray. That makes total sense but I still think that they could do a much better job considering they are professionals. They shouldn’t blame their work on our color choice.

I mentioned the dry wall and he gave me attitude about it, and lastly I said the electric needed to be fixed because we weren’t paying until it was fixed. He proceeded to blame us again and said that they have already done enough free stuff for me and they wouldn’t fix this too. Umm what?? What free stuff he was talking about I had no idea. I obviously asked and he said that they hung the towel bars and mirrors for us and that wasn’t in the contract. That was super confusing to me. Never met a contractor that doesn’t include hanging mirrors to complete a bathroom. Thanks for the free work I guess?? I told him that David cut his foot and wasn’t able to get the sealer for the bathroom. Don’t worry everyone, that wasn’t in the contract either so he wasn’t going to seal even if we had it. Ridiculous.

At around 2:30-3:00, the guys packed everything up, left, and that was that. Our main contractor, Steve, told David he would be over at 5:15 to collect the completion check and we also assumed he would do a final walkthrough like our last contractor (and I think most contractors?).

David rushed to get home in time and was pretty nervous to see Steve since we hadn’t talked to him or seen him since the previous week when he called and attacked me over the phone. 5:20 rolls around, no Steve. 5:40, no Steve. 6:00 and he finally shows up. Some nerve not letting us know he would be that late.

Anyway, he showed up, had zero desire to see the completed bathroom and just wanted the check. David was way nicer than I would have been. I would have demanded that he looked at the bathroom especially since David didn’t even see the final product yet!

Steve left without seeing the bathroom, with his check, and fortunately we never have to see this man again. Let’s just say, I was fuming and all I could think about was writing my review on this awful man and the horrific way he does business.

4 Months Later

Our table has arrived…for the second time! We ordered it in April/May-ish and it was on backorder until August. There was a specific date, but I don’t remember when it was. That date rolled around and we were so excited for the table to be delivered, but were disappointed when we got a phone call telling us that it was time to schedule our delivery. Apparently the date on our invoice wasn’t a delivery date, but a date to confirm that it would be shipped out. We only had to wait a week for it to get here which seemed like another 4 months.

Finally the table arrived. The delivery guys said for 20 bucks they would bring it into the house, but David wanted to do it himself- typical. The box looked really damaged but it was hard to tell if the table was damaged too. You guys, this table is heavy. It took a long time and a ton of strength for David to get it inside by himself. We were actually shocked that he was able to do it on his own.

Once it was safely in the kitchen, we opened it with excitement and were disappointed yet again at how incredibly damaged the table was. We were nervous that it would take another 4 months to get a new table. And we weren’t sure if it was the shipping company’s responsibility or the shop where we purchased the table, but after amazing customer service, they shipped us a new one and told us to keep the damaged one.

Our new table arrived (mostly) damage free and we couldn’t be more happy with it!

Brightening Things Up

Don’t get me wrong, I love a bright white house.  If we didn’t have kids, everything in my house would be white with some navy, black, and gold accents.  Obviously, that didn’t work out for me since we have two messy monsters to raise.  We still have our white kitchen and bathroom, but we didn’t want things looking too sterile, so we thought it was time to purchase some art for our giant blank wall.

We wanted either two giant pieces, or three large ones.  I like odd numbers when it comes to home details, so we went with three large pieces.  We actually had one piece of art that I was in love with from our Compass Pointe house, and it was one of my favorite things in the house.  I told David to unbox it (yes, it was still in a box) to see if I still loved it, and sure enough, I did. We purchased it from Joss and Main, so I thought it was a good idea to search the site for similar pieces by the same artist. With my luck, I couldn’t find any, so I did some stalking and was able to at least find out who the artist was.  I e-mailed her (she is actually in Chicago), and she emailed me two pieces that would go great with what we already owned.  I was so excited because I loved what she sent, and this meant we only had to purchase two more instead of three.  Talk about saving money- art is not cheap people!

When our two new pieces arrived, I instantly fell in love.  They were gorgeous and looked so amazing with our current piece.  We headed over to Hobby Lobby to get them framed and made it very clear that we wanted the frame and matting space to be identical to the current one.  We didn’t want it to look like we just bought two new pieces and called it a day.  We left confident and excited for the artwork to be framed so we could bring it home to hang.

Fast forward to over a month later, we go to pick up our art, lay it up against our wall and I was shocked to see that not only were the two new pieces different from our current piece, but they were not even identical to each other.  It looked so ridiculous, I can’t even explain it. We noticed that one of the employees literally crossed out the measurements they originally took on the receipt, and wrote over it with new measurements.  We were super confused, so we had to go bring them back and get this annoying problem solved.

Sure enough, the employee who originally helped us, took it upon herself to tweak the measurements as she saw fit without asking.  Her reasoning made sense- if she put on the same amount of matting as the original piece, it would go over some of the painting. She was trying to compromise as little of the painting as possible.  Totally get her logic, but it looked absolutely ridiculous when all three were up on the wall.  So, she agreed to change it so that all three were identical and they look so much better. However, they still aren’t identical. The matting on our original piece is a lot whiter and brighter than the two new ones. The frame is also slightly larger.  We finally made the discovery that the Joss and Main piece is actually a blown up photo,where our new ones are real art. I am not sure if you could tell by these photos, but it is pretty obvious which two are our new pieces and which is our older piece.  I think once the entire house is done and we replenish some of our money from this remodel, we will buy a third piece from the artist to replace our Joss and Main copy.

Wow, that was a long post for just three art pieces.  Anyway, we now have a little color to brighten up the kitchen and I think it looks great.

Eli’s Big Boy Room Reveal

A couple of weeks ago, we finally tied up most of the loose ends and Eli’s room is 99.99% complete! Even though his room is tiny, it is so adorable and we are all so proud of it. Eli loves it so much that whenever he has a friend come over for a playdate, the first thing he wants to do is show it off.

I got my inspiration from Pinterest,  but there were a few things that I wanted for this big boy room.  First and foremost, I wanted the room to be a room that could grow with Eli.  As much as I love decorating, I don’t want to redo his room every 3 years as his interests change.  So we went with more of a color scheme rather than a “theme”.  It was really important to me to use a lot of the furniture and accessories from Eli’s nursery without it looking too babyish.  We worked really hard on both of his nurseries on Owl Lane and Compass Pointe, and we were really fortunate to get some of his furniture made and gifted by family members, so it is extra special.  Lastly,  I knew that I wanted him to have a bed that he could grow in to, unlike a toddler bed, so we went with a full-sized bed and a more mature headboard that he (hopefully) won’t get tired of.

David did some great modern looking moldings, similar to Dax’s room (almost complete BTW) and our stairway.  I wanted to give the room something special, so we went with this amazing wallpaper.  From the moment I came across it on Pinterest, I was instantly obsessed.  I think it looks amazing on this wall, even though it took us a while to figure out which wall we wanted it to go on!  His bed looks fabulous against it in my opinion.  I am super into mixing patterns, and we found his comforter at IKEA of all places.  I am loving the blue and green combo. We purchased a cute decorative pillow, but with the amount of stuffed animals Eli loves having in his bed, it just looked to cluttered, so we returned it.  I am still on the hunt for a blanket or quilt, but I think for now the bed looks fine without one.We weren’t going to use this bookshelf that was in Eli’s nursery, and we purchased a new one, but as we were setting the room up and noticing how many books our book-worm has, we decided to use the bookshelf from his nursery.  It actually looks great in the room, and holds the tons and tons of books he has. We decorated it with my favorite bookends, the invitation from his baby shower , and some other cute accessories from Target (duh).Besides the wallpaper, one of my favorite parts of this room is the dresser.  My uncle built it for us and my grandparents bought it for us.  It is gorgeous, the best size, and we will never get tired of it.  When Eli was a baby, my uncle had built a changing table topper for the dresser, so the room officially felt like a “big boy” room when we took the topper off. Sad!  We replaced the topper with some photos, some special books that were my mom and dad’s from when they were children, and a boat that my Zayde (that’s yiddish for grandfather) made Eli before he passed away in January.   Eli is in a monster phase right now, so we obviously have a nightlight on there too to keep the monster’s away- except for Dax, he’s here to stay.I spent hours looking for artwork for this room, hours.  After wasting way too much time, we actually opted out of artwork because the room is so freaking small.  Having a ton of stuff on the wall just would make it look way too cluttered.  Instead, we put these amazing signs that were made for him from my Bubbie (yiddish from grandmother), and my dad.  I think it looks great.One of my least favorite parts of the room is the roman shades.  I love the look of the navy, but I hate that they are cordless.  We chose this for obvious safety reasons, but they are the most annoying shades to deal with, in fact I leave them down 100% of the time because of the hassle.  You can see in these photos that they are both up and uneven.  Yes, this is because I was struggling for 30 minutes on how to get them both up all of the way. So embarrassing! We didn’t want to do custom shades in this home, but we won’t be purchasing these ever again that’s for sure.  Oh, and sidenote, ignore the awful screens on our windows, they all need to be replaced hah!The only things left to do in this room is get some hardware for the closet doors, and David needs to scrape off some of the paint on the floors.  I also need to unpack and find the photo of me and my mom that was up in Eli’s nursery to put up in his new room. Eli is named after her and I love that her picture is overlooking him when he sleeps.

I can’t believe what a transformation this has been, and how long it took, but it was all totally worth it! You can see the before photos here.