Square Footage

Interior Design
578 Kingston Rd W Ajax ON L1T 3A2
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76%

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Reviews for Square Footage

Average customer rating:
8.8 10 (18 reviews)

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Hisham
Hisham
3 reviews Pickering, ON
0/10

Absolutely Horrendous Experience

Update: Thanks for your response Square Footage. Clearly you are much quicker to respond to communication on a public forum as compared to private emails, messages and phone calls. I would like to note the following:
1. You were provided with this review about 2/3rds of the way through the project. Your service continued to be subpar as you continued to ignore our communication and subsequently refused to fix the defects.
2. You never once apologized for the issues we raised to you throughout the project. Instead you were combative, inflexible and difficult. Yet you are now apologizing to save face with the public for the benefit of future work.
3. If you are serious about using feedback to make necessary changes as you say in your response, please make arrangements to return and fix the defects that you left in our home. You are contractually required to fix them at your own expense. Your refusal to fix them in spite of this calls into question your integrity, trustworthiness and reliability.

Original Review:
We chose to use Square Footage for our main floor reno based on the stellar reviews on another site (also starts with an H) and a positive initial meeting. If you are considering using this company, I suggest doing some research on that site, and specifically the reliability of the reviews. You will come to realize, as I did, that it may not be a unbiased source of information. Rather, it is a promotional platform for the industry to market their business, gain visibility and generate leads for future projects. Pictures are perfectly curated and negative reviews seem to be few and far between. Contractors pay for this service, and it would be insurmountable to generate leads for a business with negative impressions from prior customers. I tried to post this review there and was told "Review cannot be published". See screenshot below.
Below is a detailed account of our experience with this company. If you are thinking of hiring them, or have already signed up for a future project, consider yourself forewarned. Do NOT be fooled by their professionally curated online presence. They make a lot of claims and promises that they fall well short of once they are given the job. They do not care about you or your project. They just want your money. If I were to do it again, I would walk away and take my business elsewhere - even if I had already paid them a deposit.
In the first meeting, Frankie told us they are a full service firm that employ their own staff, communicate early and often, are the “good contractors” that treat your home well, maintain a tidy worksite, and finish on time. However, as we have come to realize, this could not be further from the truth.
Although they say they are full service, there is actually very little service provided after you sign a contract with them. Part of the reason we decided to work with them was due to COVID restrictions, sourcing materials curbside would have been very difficult. However, Square Footage didn't make things any easier. We have had to follow-up with them every step of the way to ask if they have sourced each and ever item for our project. Presumably, full-service means you are paying for a final product, an outcome, and the process is taken care of. This is not the case. We have had to babysit them every step of the way.
They say they have their own staff and only subcontract out HVAC, plumbing and electrical. They say this makes them more flexible than your average general contractor and gives them greater control over the quality of work. However, they leave out that they also subcontract out demolition, flooring, millwork installation, drywall, taping and paint. They actually do very little work themselves.
They are extremely inflexible. They will charge you extra for "service calls" - fees to call subcontractors back to complete work when it takes longer than originally estimated, or as a result of changes originally unforeseen by them. It is the epitome of pettiness. There was a lots of nickel-and-diming on our project that was originally invoiced at over $200k. When you ask for explanations, you get long, winding, circuitous explanations. Listening to their explanations will make your head spin.
At the end of the project, they owed us money because they couldn't get their subcontractors to complete work in our contract. Instead of paying us back they sent us invoices double-charging us for miscellaneous things that we had already paid for.
They say they over-communicate so that you are informed of each step of the project. That is the exact opposite of our experience. Instead, subcontractors show up randomly and without notice. On the first day after demolition was complete, their only employee assigned to our job showed up and started jackhammering in our basement without any forewarning. Not scheduled. Not communicated. No regard for our personal belongings which were left covered in dust. After the final cheque was cashed, they completely stopped replying to our text messages and emails even though much work remained.
One cabinet door panel was re-ordered three times and when the project ended, it still had not been delivered. They refused to reply to messages in which we asked for an explanation. Anyone else with reasonable customer service skills would call you up and say "we messed up again, we are sorry for the error and we will fix it." Instead, they left us in the dark. We called up the manufacturer who told us that the door left the warehouse but as of this writing Frankie and John have not been in touch to schedule installation.
On the topic of communication, they say they will finish on time. We provided a target completion date of April 1st, 2021 at our first meeting on September 30th, 2020. They provided a loosely defined schedule with a completion date of May 15th, 50% longer than expected, and sent it to us in an empty email a week before the project was scheduled to start. There were no words in the email to explain the delay, just a sparsely defined schedule that was much longer than expected. Until that point, over numerous meetings, they gave us no indication they would not be able to meet our target completion date. See screenshot of schedule below.
They tell you they will assist with all aspects of design. Actually, you will rarely hear from Frankie or Laura when construction is underway. They will be unresponsive to phone calls, neglect to respond to your emails or will get their office assistant to send emails on their behalf, as if they are too busy to communicate with their own customers.
We included a gas fireplace on our wish list which we provided on our first meeting (September 30th). They did not include it in any of the five designs they presented. We had some funds remaining in our budget so we thought it wouldn’t be unreasonable to request it be incorporated into the design. We emailed Laura on January 8th regarding it. No response. Emailed again on January 15th, to which Frankie came back with:
“Unfortunately, at this time, I cannot design the element for several reasons. There is a long backorder list on fireplaces and this is the first thing to be selected. I have spoken to my Gas Co and advised them of our intention and needs. He will report as things change on availability. My time is relatively limited with the new "Stay at Home Order." It affects other clients, projects, vendors and running the business from home.When and how things change, is a moving target. I have every intention of finishing the project to the best of my ability. My focus, for now, keeps moving forward.” See screenshot below.
WHAT?!? There was no further follow-up or communication. It was clear they had no interest in fulfilling this request. By that time, I had already been in touch with my local fireplace dealer and got a sense of their stock situation. I placed the order for the unit of our choice and received it within a couple of weeks. We would have preferred that it was incorporated into a TV wall-unit but without the cooperation of the designer we figured we would just have it installed and figure out the rest later and proceeded. Of course, Square Footage didn’t hesitate to charge us their design fee on the cost of installation even though, by their own admission, they were unable to design it. This is predatory, opportunistic, rent-seeking behaviour.
The fireplace was installed crooked, literally. It is either not level or the wall is not straight. The top of the fireplace is sticking out of the wall and bottom is recessed behind the wall. I paid $6,500 for the fireplace and around $4,000 to have Square Footage to have their subcontractor install it and this is the disappointing result. I advised John of the defect and, without even coming by to take a look, he said he doesn't consider it to be a defect. See screenshot of email below.
They are excruciatingly slow. At our first meeting on September 30th, we told Frankie we would like our stairs to match the new flooring. The stairs were excluded from the design presented to us on October 20th. We told them it was a must-have when we signed the construction contract on December 16th. They agreed to treat it as an add-on to the project. They requested an inspiration picture which we immediately provided. Frankie emailed us on January 15th, a few days after construction began (January 11th) to say “I can not assure the look can be recreated in your application appropriately and I will need a bit more time on this to reconsider the design and cost of materials.”
Ok, no problem. We continued to wait for her to come up with her design and provide a quote so we could move forward. We even made some compromises because they were unable to fabricate a metal railing. We did not receive a quote from them on the stairs until February 5th. When John was on site the following Monday, he said he’ll need approval on the stairs soon otherwise it may result in project delays. So basically they took up all the slack in the schedule to come up with a quote and left no time for us to evaluate it. I scrambled and found a specialized stair contractor that would replace the staircase without any design compromises for 25% less than they had quoted to give our existing staircase a facelift – a compromised one at that. It was a no-brainer to replace the whole thing for a lot less and get exactly the design we wanted. However, it did stall our project, and shares no responsibility for it because we chose another contractor for that chunk of the project. However, the fact is they took 51 days to give us any cost or design parameters and left us no time to evaluate their quote and weigh our options. To add insult to injury, they are charging us more service fees – this time to call back each of their subcontractors to complete unfinished work the main floor around the staircase – even though it was all within the original scope of the project. Again, rent-seeking behaviour. Frankie came by to see the stairs once they were installed, one of the few times she showed up on site. I had mentioned to the stair contractor what a disaster Square Footage was, and they told me that Frankie had called them to inquire about using them to subcontract for future projects. Kind of comical considering they told us they do "a ton of stairs" and couldn't come up with a design after 51 days!
They say, as design professionals, they are able to access a 20% discount on materials, of which they will retain 10% commission and pass along the rest of the savings. By and large, those discounts did not materialize or were available to the general public as well. They withhold product information by sharing screenshots instead of sharing links to product webpages. Usually the information on these screenshots aren’t enough to make an informed decision. Since communication with them is such a struggle, we resorted to Google. Fortunately, image search functionality makes it easy to trace screenshots back to their respective sources.
Selection of light fixtures was to be done after construction was underway. As we began the finishing stage of the project, we realized nothing had been selected. It’s like it was forgotten. We emailed them separately over a number of weeks for the selection of each and every light fixture. Eventually we managed to get everything selected, but not before much effort on our part. Definitely not full service. You would think after our first email they would have taken the hint and made the remaining selections.
They take no responsibility for their own mistakes and offer no compensation for them. The misinterpreted the engineers drawing and failed to account for one of the support posts that had a cap on the top that couldn't be hidden over the finished ceiling. The only solution to this unforeseen problem was to create a bulkhead that looks totally out of place in the middle of our entry hallway. No mention of it until after drywall was already mostly complete. It was a complete failure of their design process. There was nothing that could be done about it. It cannot be hidden. It looks amateurish and silly. It’s ironic that they messed this up, one of the things they do themselves. So much for assuring quality. This is not the product of an award-winning full-service design/build firm as they promote themselves to be. You won’t see this on their carefully curated social media profiles. Oh well, $200k later we’re stuck with this nonsense. See pic.
They broke the oven cabinet during installation and had to order another one, delaying the completion of our kitchen by a month. Once the countertops were in, we asked if they would at least hook up our stovetop in the meantime. Seemed like a reasonable request considering the unforeseen delay that they were undeniably responsible for. By this point, we had been living in our basement for three months. They said our contract only accounted for one additional electrician visit which was to be scheduled for the finishing stage of the project, after the arrival of the replacement oven cabinet. Instead of taking ownership, they suggested we incur an additional service fee for the electrician to hook up the stovetop. Even if we ignore the fact that the oven cabinet was delayed, no electrician would be able to complete the amount of electrical work that remained at this stage in one visit.
They say they will maintain a clean work site. In fact, the one Square Footage employee who was on site for our project was an absolute disaster. Not only did he work in a haphazard way, he was extremely messy. He left tools, construction materials, packaging, and waste all over the place. He never used a dropcloth. He never cleaned up after himself. We were cleaning sawdust off our dining table in the basement on a daily basis. He wore his workboots up to our upstairs bathroom. We cleaned up after him EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Apparently, he is one of their “best people”.
Their subcontractors were, for the most part, not much better. The HVAC contractor cut holes in our floor to pass vent piping through and did not protect the area below. We had sawdust all over our basement sofa and personal belongings. Even inside my son’s skates. See pics.
When you bring up concerns, they fall on deaf ears. They do not take ownership. They do not apologize. Regarding her lack of explanation about the schedule, Frankie said “Sorry you feel the schedule could have been better communicated”. Huh? I don’t need anyone to apologize for the way I feel. This is just one example. They are combative. They push back, deny and deflect. When I told John about the mess the HVAC guys made in our basement, it was like talking to a brick wall. No words of empathy or regret. As if they had nothing to do with it.
I have worked with contractors in the past who dealt with concerns much more effectively. They were customer-centric. They would say “we’re sorry, we will address your concerns and make sure you are satisfied”. Nothing else needs to be said. My last contractor whom I used for my master bathroom actually asked if there was anything else I needed him to take care of around the house before he left. It showed he was willing to go above and beyond to ensure we were satisfied. THAT is good service.
At this moment they have refused to fix the defects left in our home, including a pocket door that doesn't open, and awaiting delivery for a number of items. They have cashed all cheques.
The fact that this company has so many good reviews is evidence that the bar for customer service is very low in this industry. The worst from contractors and unfortunately, my experience with this company was below the average that I have seen from the overall industry. How are the results? Well, the kitchen looks fine, I guess. But it is a reminder of the terrible experience dealing with this full-service firm. Hopefully the memory of it will fade with the passage of time but for now it is still tainted by the bitterness of feeling deceived and taken advantage of.
If you are considering using this company for your renovation, realize that what you see here and other social media sites has been carefully curated. Above all else, they are excellent self-promoters. Based on our experience, my guess is that customers that had negative experiences with them simply abstained from leaving a review and were happy to be done with them.
If you have worked with this company, I suggest you review your invoices carefully. They seem to be very slick with bundling items that are already covered in your contract along with project add-ons and referring to them as "Extras". If you are thinking of working with them, buyer beware! Do NOT be fooled and consider yourself forewarned. They make a lot of claims and promises in the initial meeting that, in our experience, they fall well short of once they are given the job.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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Company Response

As a company, we set high standards for ourselves and we are sorry to hear we did not meet your expectations.
Even though we feel that the issues brought up are greatly overstated, we do take some responsibility in this matter and we will use your feedback to make any change necessary in order to always provide the best client experience possible.

Private User
Private User
2 reviews Pickering, ON
0/10

Extremely disappointed

Unfortunately, I was extremely disappointed in multiple aspects of my experience with Square Footage Inc.
The kitchen design was not to my taste....too ‘country’ with coloured cabinetry and knotty pine hardwood (when I like white cabinetry and have classic taste). A design that was also not workable - according to both an engineer and an architect in addition to my general contractor (the structural changes to remove walls in the kitchen and not adequate room for the kitchen island) - so I also paid for a design that was useless. I was clear about my budget for their portion of the project and they completely
ignored it (wanted almost 50% of what I had budgeted for the entire house - 2 floors and a basement/4500 square feet - for just the two rooms they were asked to do - the master bathroom and kitchen) and they were not even doing the electrical or plumbing for those rooms. For the 2 rooms they quoted almost $150,000 despite being told my funds for renovating the entire house was $300,000 (I was VERY clear about this throughout the process and very clear that they were only being asked to design and build the 2 rooms.
(And for those who have limited or no experience with renovation costs (like I did) I can also say that for their estimated cost of just redoing the master bathroom at almost $75,000, I was able to have beautiful custom cabinets made and installed in 6 bathrooms, a basement bar area and a huge kitchen, in addition to 3 fireplace surrounds and a giant built in..)
They were NEVER asked to be involved in the whole house renovation as I had already secured a general contractor for that and knew that I needed to be careful with costs to stay within my overall budget).
They collected their deposit (more than 1/3 in cash) all of which ended up being nonrefundable (although that was never discussed) immediately before providing me with their estimates which as noted above were astronomical, and the finishes, which, again, were almost the exact opposite of my taste.
In the end I paid $14,000 for 2 designs that were not used and they did not do a single thing to my house. Even, given the serious issues that arose, I would have understood them wanting some payment for their time making the 2 designs but to keep the entire deposit of $14,000 especially given the designs were not acceptable (and not safe based on an engineer and architect), is ridiculous.
It’s a shame because I think some of their work is beautiful but they seriously underdelivered in all areas in this case and I feel like I have been taken advantage of.
I have actually held off making this review for some time in the hopes that we would be able to come up with a fair compromise - even considering using those funds for a future project with some misgivings on my part but better that then losing that kind of money - but they have been clear they have no intention of budging in any way. I am a busy single mother with 3 children and do not have money like this to waste.

Regardless of whatever they say when they respond to this review - I have emails that confirm everything that I am stating in this review - including the basic engineering design issues as noted by the other professionals that came in, my overall budget and the scope of work they were asked to do.

Really this review is just to forewarn potential clients and encourage you to do your homework. Be very clear with your budget and expectations.....but also get a written estimate from them before paying a deposit as they did not respect my budget.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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Sally in Toronto, Ontario
Sally in Toronto, Ontario
3 reviews Toronto, ON
10/10

Kitchen Renovation

I purchased an older condo that needed to be renovated. After experiencing several issues with unprofessional contractors, I came across Square Footage and immediately knew this was a company with a great deal of professionalism that took great pride in the work they do and how they treat their clients.

I was fortunate enough to work with their Senior Designer Laura, who was absolutely wonderful and helped renovate my space within my budget. She and John, along with their other contractors came out to see my space and assess what work needed to be done (full kitchen renovated, floor tiling, new interior doors, new vanity in my bathroom, etc).

Laura then moved forward with designing a lovely kitchen for me, selecting beautiful samples for my tiled floor and provided direction on paint colours and fixtures for both my kitchen and bathroom. She pushed me out of my comfort zone, and as a result I have a stunning kitchen, resulting in a few friends copying for their own renovations! She was also very patient with me and was very responsive to my concerns and questions.

Besides the design process, Steven was the carpenter who worked in my home and he was fantastic. Since I'm in a condo there are many rules to adhere to, and Steven along with all the other contractors followed them without fail. Guy their tiler is a miracle worker!

Overall I'm so glad I found Square Footage - they turned my nightmare of a fixer upper and turned it into my dream home. Without the slightest hesitation I would recommend this team of professionals to anyone who wanted to work with designers and contractors who are passionate about what they do, complete the work they say they will do on time and within your budget, and care about your home as much as you do.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Danny from Toronto
Danny from Toronto
3 reviews Toronto, ON
10/10

Countertop

We had our countertop done with Square Footage. They have a very impressive showroom with some pretty hi tech cabinetry and ingenious drawer organizers. We dealt with Frankie who was very friendly and helpful. We're glad we went with her recommendation to go with a fridge gable despite the small space we had to work with. It ended up giving us more storage space with the larger cabinet that we were able to install. The counter templating and install were done without a hitch. On time and everything as discussed. Would definitely recommend.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Judy Collins in North york
Judy Collins in North york
5 reviews North York, ON
10/10

Kitchen Renovation

Our next door neighbours had their kitchen renovated by Square Footage in February last year.We were so impressed with the quality and workmanship that we had them do an update on our kitchen this past July.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Company Response

Dear Mrs. Collins, It was a pleasure to beautify your kitchen and I hope you are enjoying the space. Please come round to visit the Square Footage design studio & showroom, we missed you during our grand opening. John & Frankie.

Kathleen van den Berg from Toronto
Kathleen van den Berg from Toronto
2 reviews Toronto, ON
10/10

kitchen renovation

I compared prices with other companies first but the design for our kitchen was created with what we wanted at Square Footage. Logistically they gave us a smart layout, listened to our wants and needs for the kitchen and worked with us on the design. They also had extra quality pieces-extra things that made it stand out in the design-that we liked. Quicker would always be better but it’s not a complaint. It’s never fun to live without a kitchen but we had a laundry room we could use. I would definitely give them the highest rating.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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Marie from Toronto
Marie from Toronto
1 review Toronto, ON
10/10

new kitchen

A few years ago we saw them advertised in a store in our neighbourhood. We looked at other companies as well but unless you have them design specifically for you, you can't really do a proper comparison. In the end we also went with Frankie because we had a good gut feeling about him. The project took longer than they originally told us it would but we're very happy with the end result of our new kitchen.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Laura from Toronto
Laura from Toronto
1 review Toronto, ON
9/10

bathroom renovation

We saw the work Square Footage did for my Mother in law and were impressed. We compared prices with other companies for our own bathroom renovation and decided to go with Square Footage. John and the people he worked with all did a great job and they worked well with our condo building ensuring there were no issues. Overall they did a great job.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Randi from Toronto
Randi from Toronto
1 review Toronto, ON
10/10

kitchen renovation

They were recommended to me by a friend (can't remember which one) about four years ago. I compared prices and other factors with other companies first and even had one company that was highly recommended to me come in to speak with me first. However he didn't get me at all-he ignored everything I wanted and even gave me a price increase after we spoke. Then Square Footage came in and what she designed for me was exactly the vision I wanted. She listened (for me form had to follow function) and she went within my budget. The different people (plumbers, etc) came when she said they would and finished the job when she said they would. It was all very professionally done and I was thrilled with the service. I wouldn't hesitate recommending them to other people.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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John McLellan Contracting, Durham
John McLellan Contracting, Durham
1 review Pickering, ON
10/10

renovations

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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The reviews on this page are the subjective opinion of the Author and not of HomeStars Inc.

More about Square Footage

Square Footage Custom Kitchens & Bath Inc. is a full service, award-winning, interior design firm with a dedicated focus on creating beautiful, functional Kitchens & Baths. We understand the stress that can overtake clients throughout the home renovation process and uniquely addresses this problem by focusing on minimizing client anxiety, ...
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