We have chosen our builder/designer. The company is called Novell. How did we choose these fine people over all the other fine people? Luckily Dear Daughter did most of the heavy lifting.
As you know, DD and DSIL want some changes to their basement, like a new bedroom, family room, bath, laundry room, and luxurious though eensy legal suite. We want a laneway house. Ergo, which always means I’m going to use logic to explain this, we needed someone who wanted to build a laneway house but also was comfortable making renovations to an existing structure. Novell fit the bill.
DD interviewed dozens of contractors, some of whom had done both renovations AND lane homes. And after a lengthy elimination process, chose Novell as their candidate.
I interviewed three laneway builders, and after a short process, chose our (unnamed) candidate.
We all gathered to met both candidates (separate appointments, of course, we are not cool enough to handle both at once). Novell showed up on time, OC (our candidate) was 20 minutes late (bad GPS). Novell has experience primarily in renovations, but was super keen to try their (qualified) hands at building a laneway home. OC told us straight to our face that, though they had experience doing both, they were “trying to get out of the renovation business” because they didn’t like to do it. Novell explained that, if any expenses were incurred due to their comparative inexperience, they would absorb them because they think it’s an exciting idea, and would love to have laneway design/build in their (extensive) experience. OC said that their initial quote had been low. Why? They had discovered they were not leaving themselves an adequate profit margin, and had to raise their prices. (note: don’t tell us you WERE bad businessmen and now you know better. LIE TO US so we don’t feel like we missed the last ride on the merry-go=round). Oh, and that adorable laneway house I had seen in our neighbourhood that we thought was, you know, adorable — the one that convinced me that OC would be Our Candidate? OC don’t like it. They are embarassed about it. One must ask, “WTF? Why did you build it? And what will be wrong in the one you build us?”
So we made our decision. One deciding factor, that is not quantifiable, is that we just liked the people. We felt comfortable talking with them. We didn’t have any qualms handing over hundreds of thousands of dollars to them. You know when you meet someone? And you just know you can work with them? We felt it.
We’ve met with Novell again to discuss the broad stokes of the project. Once again totally comfortable with them. They are raring to go — and so are we.