Before we decided to go ahead our only real concern was how much mess it would make and how much disruption it would cause, we knew we’d got the financial bit covered because we’d bought a house that we could afford to borrow money on.
The first thing to happen was that the scaffolding arrived and we thought ‘oh ****! This is really happening’, but what amazed me was how much they work outside and in through the hole they put in the roof, they don’t actually come inside for ages. So for that reason my concerns about noise and disruption were actually really reassured.
It’s hard to pick one particularly thing that we most appreciated about John doing our loft, but in terms of lasting features, the staircase that John designed just continues to give us pleasure and people still say ‘wow!’ It looks like it’s always been here. I remember John saying that the vision for the way that he does his work is to try and build a loft that looks as if it’s always been there, to make your house look like a three storey house rather than a loft where you pull down some awful tin steps, and so both Michael and I and people who call always admire Johns staircase, it’s fantastic…just brilliant.
Another thing about John, and maybe that’s just about how we got on and that we had a very young son in common at that point, was that I just really liked Johns attitude and his approach, the way he is, he just fitted really well in our household for those three or four months. I looked forward to seeing him in the morning and we used to have a cup of coffee and a chat. That’s probably why it took him a bit longer to finish than he said! (laughing).
I think the fact that John’s local is great. It gives him flexibility and it meant that I could go and look at his other lofts if I wanted to. I’ve seen the one round the corner, I must have seen about six or seven lofts that he’s done round here. It was a real benefit that I could go and see his work.
The other thing that was great for me was the way that he project managed all the other complementary professions. He introduced us to Mat, who’s a lovely plumber who we still use and there was a lovely electrician guy. So that’s the other benefit that John introduces you to and project manages, people who you can equally trust in your house.
Mike and I would absolutely recommend Clarendon Carpentry and have done a number of times because of all of the above.
I don’t know whether or not John is comparative in cost, but what I do know is that what he quoted up front around the cost was broadly what we paid, and he didn’t keep coming back and saying ‘its going to cost a bit more’. His estimate and the financial picture he painted was very reliable., which I think is a very good recommendation.
You hear some awful stories about builders around people’s houses, which are sometimes based on stereotypes, but John is not a stereotypical builder, for me he was just a real pleasure to have around the house. And like I said, I think we talked about the boys a lot together and they were about to go to high school and we had similar apprehensions about that, so we had lots of things in common. As a builder he’s not a stereo typical sort of guy, he’s a really respectful person to have around the house and that mattered a great deal to me.
As far as I’m aware loft conversions is just his ‘thing’, so Johns expertise around lofts is pretty unprecedented really, he’s very focussed. This is all he does and he’s done lots of them. So in terms of his expertise and his contacts … that’s what I usually say to people, he’s probably done more lofts than we’ve had hot dinners!
Linda Keenan and Mike Darzel, Stoneygate, Leicester