As always, the first thing I asked to see was his portfolio of work, and I was truly impressed.
Check out this before-and-after of a big farmhouse kitchen renovation he recently did. The before was "okay" but really dated...
But the "after" was incredible! There were too many good pictures to choose from, so here are several. We'll start with a wide-angle view:
As you can see, lots of things were relocated, including the fridge.
Check out the meticulous trim work on the cabinets and range hood.
And the dated old wallpaper has disappeared - either removed or well painted over.
He also does decks, like this mahogany beauty with all of the fasteners hidden:
And dig the trim work on this staircase! Really nice. He has an aesthetic sense for good proportions which makes the difference between "so-so" and "outstanding" trim carpentry.
Of course, we did our due diligence as we always do before we add someone to our network. His references from former clients were glowing. In particular, they mentioned his great communication skills, and the way he always left the job site clean after each day of work. (That's really important in a kitchen reno!)
Sam rounds out our amazing team of local Asheville trim carpenters, and I think his kitchen remodel is one of the most meticulous I've seen around here. I'm really proud to be working with such a great network of people.
So if you've got a deck or kitchen project that needs a thorough and experienced craftsman, please get in touch with us. We'll put you in touch with the right person for the job.
Sometimes you have a vision for a centerpiece in your home that can't be accomplished with out-of-the-box cabinets from the hardware store. When that happens you might think of having custom cabinets made.
But custom can be expensive, so here's a trick to save money: ask about semi-custom cabinets.
Today I'll show you an example of a semi-custom job and how well it turned out.
It started with a phone call from local interior designer Liz Hackett. One of her clients, a couple living in West Asheville, loves to entertain and wanted to create a cocktail bar in their dining room.
After meeting to look at the space and review the project budget, we determined that a semi-custom project would be the best choice.
We started with these cabinets from Lowes...
...and then carefully considered them from all angles. They were very plain on the sides, and would look odd sticking out into the room like that, so we suggested adding end panels.
Liz also wanted to incorporate a mini-fridge, so we designed an end panel to surround the fridge, too.
Once the cabinet arrived at our workshop, we got busy building and attaching the panels.
We also sourced custom pull-out drawers to make it easier to access the items in the cabinets. This is another advantage of semi-custom: the pull-outs wouldn't have worked in the stock cabinets. We had to add interior supports to attach them to.
When we stepped back and snapped a photo, it looked a lot like our original drawing. (Except for the countertop, which was installed by another company.)
Liz's clients were thrilled with the way it turned out, and tagged us in their story on Instagram.
There are times when semi-custom cabinets won't work well. If the cabinet will be fit into a niche, it really does need to be custom built for the space, like on this project:
Semi-custom works best when the cabinet will be free-standing, like a kitchen island...
...or placed up against the wall with three sides visible, like the dry bar we just showed off.
So if you've got a "custom" cabinet project, it may be possible to save a little on cost by doing a "semi custom" installation. All you have to do is click the big orange button and contact us to find out.
Not long ago I had a customer who wanted to replace a big recessed can light with a more ordinary light fixture. Of course, she had the electrician come out first to remove the existing can light and install a box for the new fixture. But that left a big hole around the new box.
This is one of the more tricky drywall repairs because of course, you can't just fill in this hole with skim coat and be done with it!
I started by adding a support made of thin wood which I screwed to the existing drywall.
Then I added a custom-cut patch to fill in.
My first patch was actually a bit small, and I soon realized I needed something with a little more coverage.
Wasn't there a spaceship in Star Wars shaped like this?
With my new patch installed my next step was to add a piece of screen. This will allow me to make a nice even skim coat, and it will give something for the mud to grab.
It's serving the same purpose as the drywall tape you install on joints when you're finishing out a wall.
Then it was time for a couple coats of mud.
By the way, if you ever do this yourself, don't try to get everything perfect on the first coat. Only the best of the best can do that; I've only met a few people with that level of skill in my life, and even with all my experience, I'm not one of them.
The trick is to put down each layer fairly thin, and sand well between coats.
The last step was a little bit of touch-up by our interior painters to get it looking just perfect.
All in all, this is a fairly tricky drywall patch job to get right. This is one of those times you'll want to call in the pros. Luckily, that's what we're here for!
Summer is almost here, the weather is fine, and calls to our Asheville handyman service are picking back up! As an essential business, we're still open during the COVID-19 shutdown, although of course we're practicing safety precautions.
Luckily I already have a pretty good mask:
As calls have picked up, we've been getting a lot of service requests from people who really need a plumber or an electrician, not a handyman.
So when do you need a licensed specialist?
For electrical work, a good rule of thumb is that most handymen are willing to make changes that happen at the electrical box. The best example of this is swapping out one light fixture for another, like I did for this customer.
Here's another view of that room - I've always liked that unusual chandelier. It sure was tricky to hang... there were lots of extra connection points to the ceiling.
For plumbing, most handymen can make repairs on the "downstream" side of the shut-off valve. In other words, we can swap out kitchen faucets, replace sinks, and repair toilets.
You need a licensed plumber or electrician when you're going to be working upstream of the shut-off valve (for plumbing) or outside of the electrical box (for electricians).
So you'll need an electrician if you want to put a light fixture where there isn't one right now, or if you're having mysterious problems with your lights, that aren't fixed by changing the bulb.
And if you have a plumbing leak, or if you want to install a new bathroom where there aren't any fixtures now, you need a plumber.
By the way, there's one more repair that usually requires a plumber: repairing a leaking hose bib. That's because these are often installed without shut-off valves in the line behind them, which is a shame considering that even frost-free bibs are easy to damage if you leave your hose connected during a cold snap.
I think a lot of people are disappointed when they call us and we have to refer them onward, because they think licensed technicians are more expensive. But using an unlicensed repairman can be expensive in other ways. It's just too easy to make a mistake that could burn your house down or flood your living room.
And here's an insider secret: it doesn't always cost more to use a specialist.
The trick is to find an electrician or plumber in Asheville who will take on small jobs. Fortunately I have a free gift for you, courtesy of my wife Faith.
She keeps a little book of all the local tradesmen that have been recommended to us by our customers over the years, and now it's available free of charge.
This includes the best electrician we know of in Asheville, as well as the one plumber we trust to work on our parents' homes.
All we ask in return is that you sign up for our (occasional) newsletter.
Here's the link to sign up:
As an essential infrastructure operation, we continue to be available to the residents of Madison and Buncombe counties for the performance of home maintenance and the maintenance of essential businesses.
We will be performing safe practices such as social distancing. Please get in touch with us if you need assistance.
What Our Clients Are Saying
"Arthur is that rare professional handyman who is totally reliable; fairly priced; pro-active in communications; honest; punctual; skilled -- and a really nice guy."
"Arthur is a great resource to have here in our area. He's prompt, professional, does great work and is cost effective. I'll definitely use him again!"
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