When I needed a general contractor, a friend recommended Sandy Scotland at Integral Custom Carpentry wisely warning me that although he was often in high demand, he was worth waiting for. And, while I found his estimate reasonable, I hired him because of his knowledgeable, logical, and honest approach to a very problematic job.
I had plans for a complex 3-layer crown molding. But previously, when I had the walls removed between my living room, dining room, and downstairs hallway, I was left with two huge defects in the ceiling and another on one of the walls. This put Sandy in the difficult position of having to overcome the previous poor workmanship, and find a way to make it look beautiful anyway. But, fortunately, Sandy is a contractor with the right attitude. He’s smart, honest, likable, and unlike so many, he’s extremely calm. He studied the defects and gave me the bottom line — he told me the truth about what he could and could not do. He wanted to be clear that there was no way to make these defects completely disappear. Instead, he described his plan which would minimize two of them; the remaining one, however, had an insurmountable flaw, and he took pains to make clear that while he could make a few minor adjustments, I needed to be realistic — at best the result would be a limited improvement.
He used several creative approaches to hide one of the ceiling defects; although the ceiling was nearly an inch higher in a crucial spot, I’d say he managed to conceal it by 98% — you really can’t see it! He had a different approach to deal with the grossly uneven wall and in that case, I’d give it a 95%. But, as he explained at our initial meeting, one of the ceiling defects was especially problematic and he gave me no false hope — in the end, I’d give it a 65%, which is actually much better than I had expected. To be clear, I had others tell me how they would approach this defect and I am confident that without taking down and lowering the ceiling to make it level, there is no one who could have done it better. Despite that one imperfect spot, the crown molding is totally spectacular and it thrills me every time I walk into the room. (See photos.)
I also wanted Sandy to deal with the crown molding in my family room. About 12 years earlier, I had made the mistake of choosing crown molding that once installed, looked too skimpy. Again Sandy did a beautiful job using a creative approach. He was actually able to make the molding look much more generous without removing any of the original molding. And, although there was a hitch in this job (my fault for failing to remember an earlier attempt to improve the molding, but not worth describing here), Sandy ended up staying till 10:00 pm to finish the job. Again, the result is even better than I had expected.
Sandy was punctual, respectful of my property, took pride in his work, and was a pleasure to have around. I’d hire him again in a heartbeat.