KEVIN: We’re Kevin and Tiffany Collins, we live in Fullerton California. We had Richard do our house remodel about oh, 2005. Five Into six.
We were really fortunate in finding someone that I think was a perfect fit for our family.
TIFFANY: Into six. And it was a great experience for both of us, as we were going through this. We ended up having our entire house knocked down. You can imagine going from a very small home that had three bedrooms and one very small bath. To how many now?
KEVIN: Four bedrooms, office. Three and a half bathrooms, full living room, dining room, what we call the loft area – it’s our upstairs – kind of a private living room area with a wet bar, and coffee maker, refrigerator.
TIFFANY: And my favorite room. The kitchen.
KEVIN: Huge expansion on the kitchen. Kitchen tripled in size, all new appliances, all new cabinetry, custom cabinetry, granite. Now, I mean we weren’t in the house for, two weeks before we had our first party here with over thirty people. The house easily accommodates it, the way it’s all laid out.
TIFFANY:It was just such a great experience for us, because.
When we started thinking about remodeling our house, I was terrified. I was really worried about how long this would take. Would we be going way over budget? We had heard so many nightmare stories and when we started thinking about it we really decided that the most important decision for us was a good contractor. And I think it took us… two years?
KEVIN: Certainly over a year…talking to different contractors…we spoke to ten different contractors in the very early stages. And sometimes we’d talk to one or two and then put the plans on hold for three months.
TIFFANY: And then we met Richard. It was really funny because both Kevin and I said, you know we really like this guy! I thought I could work with him and that was something that was really important to me, that I would have someone that would, respect me, give me timelines, give me the chance that I needed to make decisions and would listen to what our needs were. We were really fortunate in finding someone that I think was a perfect fit for our family.
KEVIN: But that was sort of the big thing is that Richard, when we spoke to him we would say we want this or we don’t want that. We would get this, but not that. In the very early planning stages I think we spent more than a year planning the construction and only seven or eight months doing the entire job.
In that year Richard brought in an architect who took our very crude drawings and put them to work and put them on blueprints. Things that we did, we had talked about that we sure didn’t want to have…weren’t there. We don’t like Jack and Jill bathrooms…there were no Jack and Jill bathrooms. We don’t like right angles in our kitchen we didn’t want wasted space in the corners. We have no wasted space in our corners. We got rid of the corners in the kitchen. Really, really clicked with us and understood what we were trying to do and made the process very simple.
TIFFANY: And I will tell you people used to ask us what is it like…going through this experience? For me building the house from the ground up is stressful, but nothing like what we’ve heard from horror stories from other people. And so they would ask me, would you recommend him? And I would say absolutely.
I used to give his number out on such a regular basis. To the point where my parents even used him to build a house…do a big remodel in the house that they had.
And I would’ve never given them his name if I hadn’t been a hundred percent satisfied with the results.
KEVIN: Yeah, as we were going through, we had very strong idea of what it was gonna cost. Richard kept everything within budget, in fact the only things that went over budget were items where Richard said you only planned this amount for an air conditioner but we can get you one twice as powerful for an extra two hundred bucks because he found a deal. And the same thing with the tankless water heater that, you know we budgeted this one, but they got a sale on this one for an extra hundred – two hundred dollars we can really…you know, make sure you have enough power. We’ve always had plenty of hot water. Those tank less water heaters, are fantastic. We’ve got in our bathroom… in the master bath a three headed shower. All three can be on at the same time as the kids showers are on and we still don’t run out of hot water. That’s a big deal when you have a big family or lots of people over.
We’ve sorta become the Hotel Southern California for our family. Lots of northern Cal relatives come and stay several days. We’re only fifteen minutes from Disneyland so they stay with us…go to Disneyland during the day, make their way back. We maintained a downstairs bedroom so that there’d be ease of having guests. Then the upstairs is just a very private area for us. So it worked out really well.
We also designed the downstairs bedroom and office so that my dad, who’s now eighty-four, if he ever choose to live with us could come down and have his own bedroom and his own bathroom. His own living room that I’m using as an office now. He’d have his own space so he wouldn’t feel like he’s intruding on us every day, every minute. That’s a big thing as he’s getting up there.
TIFFANY: I would say the last thing that we always talk about is if we did it again, if we ever would want to do this process again.
We would use Richard over. No question about it.
KEVIN: In a heartbeat. It’s funny, we take trips and we go places and say you know, we could build a house here, but I don’t know if Richard can come to Hawaii and build a house. If he could spare the job for eight months. Yeah we did.
You know when I think about all the changes that were made in the house that we went from a sixteen hundred square foot house to a thirty-seven hundred square foot house…added the entire second floor
but also one of the things we told Richard early on is we don’t want the house to look like it doesn’t belong in the neighborhood.
We’ve got a neighborhood that was built in the the sixties and seventies. A lot of ranch style homes, a few second stories but not too many. He made sure that when it was designed it had a lower slope on the roof so it wouldn’t be as tall. That there were no twenty foot beams in front of the house. In fact there’s no twenty foot lines in front of the house. So that the house looks like it blends better into the neighborhood than you know, the single story, single story, mansion, single story, single story, single story.