Villa Villekulla ~ Service Vendors

(See Here for Villa Villekulla - The House)
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Us:

JB & Marian
22 Burnham Road
West Newton MA 02465
617-332-9967 (try this number first)
Cell 617-407-3713

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The Architect:

Frederick Noyes Architects ~ Fred Noyes (Highly recommended)
129 Kingston St.
Boston MA 02111
617-451-1962
Fax: 617-451-1995
fredericknoyes.com

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The Contractor:

Stairdogs Restoration and Renovation
Thad Wiseheart, assisted for the duration fo the kitchen and the very beginning of the upstairs by Carlos, Julio, and Rene.  And initially also by Jeff O'Neil the senior carpenter, Kevin the junior carpenter "Right the Second Time" (Thad allowed as how "Right the Third Time" would be more accurate), and Ricky the sheet rocker. And for 40% of the duration by Dennis Fuller the punch list carpenter, "Measure 14 times, Cut 14 times".  Tulio (or perhaps Toledo) was here for some of the time.  Nov 27 2004, Carlos and Julio left for Guatemala.  Rene remained and was supplemented by his "cousin" Renaldo.  And then by Jeff (again) and Johnnie Richards, then (briefly, in June 2005) by Cesar from Minneapolis.  Late 2005 Julio had called Thad with the possibility of returning, but as of mid-2006 hadn't.   In 2007, Rene returned to his own three mansions in Guatemama. 

76 Albemarle Rd.
Waltham MA 02452
Cell: 781-738-3273
Home: 781-899-7080 (Thad, Sue, Jane, Emily)
thad@stairdogs.com

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The Electricians:

Gallant Electric Inc

Allen Gallant (boss), Ben Morey & Danny & Jeff, Andy, Ben's little brother Cabel (2 days), Mark (Ben's mentor)
4C-YD Road, Bedford MA 01730, Fax 781-862-7044
Voice: 781-862-4636 (Barbara in office - arrives 9.00 except when it rains, then 9.30)
Allen's Cell: 781-844-7068 (ring twice if a dire emergency)
Mark Pourier 781-844-7066 ("Emergency" number).


No longer with Gallant, off on his own as of 2007, Ben was a great guy, I can not recommend him enough.  He was (if you ask me and pardon the pun) the shining light at Gallant Electric.

Ben Morey, Benjamin Electric Inc., 978-640-8800 or (cell) 781-953-0201, 6 Jerome Rd,Tewksbury, MA 01876 (NH Lic#11832)

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The Main Plumbers:

ER Plumbing & Heating, Inc.
John Lennon (owner), John Landry & Chris & Richie & Robin Lennon (office)
P.O. Box 98 - 5 Merchants Way - Walpole MA 02081

Comments contributed to Angie's List:

Description of Work: Extensive plumbing and demolition and construction work on our 100-year old carriage house, over a period of 30 months.   New kitchen, 3 new bathrooms. Replaced sink and toilet in victorian bathroom. New water heater.  Added several heating zones and reconfigured existing zones in our gas-hot-water furnace.  Installed 6 new Runtal radiators around the house.  I (the homeowner) was a full-time General Contractor on this job, so I had extensive interactions with everyone involved.   Conclusion: Best for fixed price new-work jobs, worst for repairs and hourly jobs.

Member Comments: For new rough & finish work, main plumber John Landry did absolutely exquisite work. That bears repeating. Exquisite, consistent, meticulous, careful, considerate progress. His downside was moods, often such a bear in the morning that no-one on the job site would dare more than a nod until noon! By contrast, repair guy Richie was a master at chatting up other contractors, and frankly is not recommended except perhaps as bar-room company. I had a tempestuous relationship with John Lennon, the owner. Sometimes responsive, other times very not. Usually gruff. I had problems with three of his ten bills, mainly for time he charged me that his guys were not in evidence. Billing discrepancies unfortunately increased over time, ranging from a couple of hours to a full five days on his most recent bill. At $85 an hour that adds up. I was never undercharged. Having paid on time literally for years, I felt seriously slapped & insulted when he insisted on payment *in-advance* of finishing my job!

John Lennon's cell: 781-727-7896
Main Phone: 508-660-1212 or 888-539-9998 (Office - Robin)
Fax: 508-660-2033
Office Email: (no good as of 10/05) erplumb@aol.com (Old versions: m.rebath@verizon.net or jlennon@erplumbing.com)
Home Email: vze4fgk5@verizon.net

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Plumber for little stuff:

R & R Battista Services (Ask for "Service")
90 Irving Street
Watertown, MA 02472
Voice: 617.923.0700
Fax: 617.923.1363
E-Mail: info@RRBattista.com

Comments I contributed to Angie's List:

Description of Work: I was inspired to get another plumber to come by to try to revive the old 6-ft long soapstone sink deep in the basement.

Member Comments: Jason from R & R Battista. Nice guy. Cleaned out the old latex paint that had been poured down it by our previous owners, then removed 2 second (smaller) also latexed sink from the cellar, removed the unnecessary pipes. All this in 2 hours, so I was more inspired and asked him to look at the drippy tub on the first floor... He had to go to the supply house to get washers, but it is great now. Total of 4 hours, $360. Came on time, returned call right away.

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Structural Consultant:

MacLeod Consulting ~ Arthur MacLeod (He Be Da Man), Naomi (Wife and Girl Friday)
Voice 617-484-4733
Fax 617-484-9708
29 Woods Road
Belmont MA 02478-3805
amacleod@macleod-consulting.com

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Tile Installation:

Bruno Visocchi - with Alessandro (on a bad day), and Nad and Mombrini (briefly)
3 Webster Rd
Lexington MA 02421
781-861-7816
Cell 617-875-7202

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Flooring (Our floor stain was 3/4 Jacobean, 1/4 Red Mahogany):

Astro Hardwood Floors ~ Tim Phinney
888-760-9663
781-769-2785
Cell: 781-775-5057
204 Bahama Dr, Norwood, MA 02062

Description of Work for Angie's List: Installing new oak flooring in 2 bedrooms and a small hall, refinishing the remainder of the small hall and a set of stair treads, installing a few lengths of mahogany flooring in a cedar closet, staining the bedroom floors, and applying a high performance 2-part polyurethane called Traffic all over, 3 coats. Final result very good (not excellent) but you should realize that you need to look over it really carefully especially around the edges and 3 feet from your end walls and be unsettlingly assertive if you care how it looks.

Member Comments for Angie's List: Tim Phinney, the owner, was very pleasant and often reachable at his cell number, which you should get from him. Instead of applying the stain in two coats, he really wanted to sand, then wet the floor to raise the grain so it would have more surface area exposed to the stain and take it darker. Bad idea, it stayed rather rough and irregular. Installation was gorgeous. Once the first coat of poly was applied, we could tell that the sanding was not so lovely, it suffered from (1) Sanding Chatter marks especially 3 feet from end walls, (2) Irregular Raised Grain, (3) Flooring at the edge of the room dove down where they used the edger tool too aggressively, (4) Boogies where dust or perhaps bits of their mop were stuck inside the poly, (5) Sanding Swirls where they had switched grit too soon from coarser to finer. Tim did return and resand the floor, maintaining his composure, but his worker was in a really foul mood thereafter!

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The Painter:

J. Clarke Painting ~ Jack Clarke ~ Absolutely The Best!  Fair, meticulous, honest.  Highly recommended.
33 Mayhew St.
Dorchester MA 02125
617-596-5979

Description of Work for Angie's List: Extensive interior and exterior painting. Faux painting. Incredible wood staining (matching) and polyurethaning. Jack and his crew have been working on various pieces of our ongoing construction here in this 115-year-old carriage house for 2 years. It is the quality of the prep that determines the quality of the final paint job, and Jack specializes in prep. His first job here was a full kitchen with lots of woodwork, then I called him back for painting on extensive plaster patching downstairs. We had severely alligatored exterior paint, and since he had done such a superb job I invited him to spend the summer working around the entire outside of the house.

Member Comments for Angie's List: Jack is Absolutely The Best! And I don't say this lightly. Fair, meticulous, honest. Highly recommended. More than highly recommended. Jack is a fantastic workman, able to maintain a top-grade crew. We have had all sorts of trades at our house for the last 2+ years, and Jack has been one of the absolute highlights. Reliable, consistent. Good judgment. He has been able to stain different woods that are adjacent so they look like the same species. I have never in my life seen better prep of alligatored exterior paint - scraping, sanding, priming, filling, sanding the filler, then coats of paint over that. The exterior looks "like new". Where the old interior wood was grunky, he made faux-oak painting on pieces here and there, and I get much amusement stumping guests who cannot guess which is the real and which is the faux. Fair prices, Absolutely top quality work, Primo recommendation!

 

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Steel Fabrication:

Ackles Steel & Iron Co Inc (See #1 or #2 or #3) ~ Bill Ackles, his brother downstairs, and Bill's son Andrew
Iron Stairs; Rails ~ Founded 1965
12-T Sun St. ~ PO Box 363
Waltham MA 02454
781-893-6818
Fax: 781-891-6310

Structural steel (they also make wrought iron). Pleasant people, rough accuracy - don't expect anything better than +/- 1/4" on lengths and right angles varied between 80 and 100 degrees. 

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AC and Hood Ducting (#2 - Good News!)

A & D Sheet Metal Inc ~ Arthur J. Dubois, "Sawzall" Frank
(Work by Frank and His Guatemalans who are cousins I think of Thad's Guatemalans)
15-17 Farwell St
Waltham, MA 02453
781-893-5174 (Claire in the office)
Fax 781-893-5390
Emergency: 781-765-6101
No email, he says

AC Installer (#1 - Bad news!)

LeBlanc Mechanical - Randy & Susan Leblanc
235 School Street, Acton MA 01720
or 781-958-8034 (Page?) or 781-899-1333 (Fax)
or 1250 R Main St, Waltham, MA 01720, 781-899-3984, 978-635-0661, or 617-719-5572 (Chris and emergencies) Compressor: Goodman Manufacturing Model CKL49-1, 4 tons, lowest efficiency available (10 SEER, vs. 12-13-14) (Specs) S/N 0211440665 P/N P1492963 Refrigerant R22

Air Handler: Goodman Manufacturing Model ARUF-048-00A-1 (4 tons and 1500 cfm at 0.3" pressure), (Specs) S/N 0306452351 P/N 14310-06 Refrigerant R22

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Wall Board Hanging:

Richard "Ricky" Bourgeois (assisted by Jeff O'Neil)
98 Orange St
Waltham, MA 02453
781-899-3627
Cell 781-354-2386

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Dumpster:

Mark-one in Lexington 781-863-0002 - Fran and Amanda and Caroline (They also do demo, they say)
Fran's Hours 8.30-4.30

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Gutter Cleaning:

AAA Sparkling Window Cleaning (or here) - Attn Steve
Watertown, MA 02472
617-924-3653

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Gutter Installation:

Description of Work: Replacing a 62 ft section of copper gutter that had been damaged in construction and from 8 years of small tree limbs falling on our 100-year old carriage house. No downspouts replaced.

Used: JLM Gutter  800-362-0933

Comments for Angie's List on JLM: Originally quoted at $1000, and inspected thoroughly by JLM, the price somehow inflated first by $300 due to having to add 10 feet of fascia wood to the existing building (an hour for 2 guys) and then by $200 due to the necessity to pull back and reinstall the rubber roof. Need for the former could have well been predicted by JLM, and the latter was absolutely predictable by JLM, as a result of their prior opportunity to inspect the site. So, the price inflated by 50% from $1000 to $1500. I figured it would, since my other quote (NE Gutter Kings) was $2000 – hence I did not whine. Quality was decent but not brilliant. Some use of steel (not copper) screws below the water line and some dents and wonkiness in the angles. Louis and his assistant were polite and arrived within an hour of the scheduled time, completing the job in about 4 hours.

Not Used: NE Gutter Kings

Comments for Angie's List on NE Gutter Kings: Punctual for their quote, polite, gave me a $2000 quote on the spot. I think they would have done a fine job, but chose to go with JLM Gutter instead based on their quote of $1000. The job seemed quite well defined, so I felt it was a fair comparison. JLM's price somehow inflated to $1500 by the time they were done, just half-way between their respective initial quotes.

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Roofers (See separate entry for Gutter Installation):

#0, Using: Gilbert & Becker Co., Inc. - Attn: Alex Alpert or Howard (6.30~3.00 M~F) - Shop guy: Dan - Scheduler John Lupo
Excellent work.  Somewhat difficult scheduling.  Fair (they're all high!) prices.  Recommended.
Beware: Excellent work, but PITIFUL WARRANTEE.  They did tons of roofing work for me, primarily new slate and copper work, then refused to give me more than a 12-month warrantee.  I would have expected at least 5 years, if not 20.

24 Clapp Street
Dorchester, MA 02125-5066
Tel: 617-265-4343
Fax: 617-265-0936
info@gilbertandbecker.com
alex@gilbertandbecker.com
Alex Cell: 617-212-3190

Comments for Angie's List:

Description of Work: New copper roof section, new slate work, slate repairs on existing slate, a difficult circular ("radius") gutter, and copper downspouts on our 115-year old carriage house. Family business, speak to Alex.
 
Member Comments: Excellent work. Difficult scheduling. Fair (they're all high!) prices.  Recommended. Beware: Excellent work, but PITIFUL WARRANTEE. They did tons of roofing work for me, primarily new slate and copper work, then refused to give me more than a 12-month warrantee. I would have expected at least 5 years, if not 20

#1: Twelfth Century Slate Roofing (12 Century Slate Roofing, 12th Century Slate Roofing) - Doug Raboin (Douglas Raboin)
BAD NEWS! Great scam!  Snitched our slates, then sold them back to us! Beware! Contact me for details.

10 Spring Valley Rd.
Burlington MA 01803
617-666-3888
email: slateroofer@hotmail.com

Comments for Angie's List:

Description of Work (Dec 2003): Removed slate to clear space around two vent holes, then re-slated the area. This job started simply enough, with a bid for $100 to remove the slates and $500 to reslate the area. He added a provision for replacing broken slates, maximum 20 for $23 apiece, this part optional and some of these slates in different parts of roof. Promised me a proposal, twice, but I never received it. They removed the slates. I installed the vents. A month later, when they finally returned to slate it, they first removed the big vent totally, then on new year's eve, with the roof now a gaping hole, said that they would need 35 new slates, not 20. Later, the roof partly covered up, they said, 40. Finally it came to 47.
 
Member Comments: Warning, scam artist. There are at least 7 different Raboin brothers doing roofing under different names. I advise avoiding them all like the plague!  (Of course that's unfair ... )

#2: Copper & Slate Co, Inc. -  Garrett Laws, Jen, Martha
BAD NEWS! Appeared to be a nice guy, but he blew away on me and wouldn't return calls, emails.   Very pricey.

238A Cavalry Street
Waltham MA 02453
781-893-1916
Fax: 781-893-2041
email: Glaws@hbuilders.net

#3: Rosebud Roofing - Boss: Adam Neiman, Lead roofer: Lucien (son of Adam's partner Natalia Muina) who was subsequently "Integrity Construction" of 116 Robbins St, Waltham MA (Out of business also as of Dec 2005)

BAD NEWS! Highly esteemed 1997~2000, but now Ghastly work.  I Went to Small Claims Court on this one!  "Out of Business" as of 12/31/04

"A Division of Rosebud Management Corp"
tel 617-965-6006
fax 617-965-8228
Cell 617-686-5434
Home: 617-630-5606, 349 Dedham St Newton MA 02459 (The BBB gives this address for Rosebud)
Dead email: rsbdmgt@aol.com - dead as of 08-23-04
Shop (defunct): 36 Border St, West Newton, MA 02465
Or maybe 14 Felton Street, Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-4117
And on GY, this possibly old contact info: 617-876-9341 55 Aberdeen Ave Cambridge MA 02138
Google shows this 617-876-9341 phone number as 384 Dedham St, Newton, MA 02459
Also see No Sweat Apparel or Bienestar International, (617) 527-2551, 36 Border St, Newton, MA 02465

Report to Angie's List:

Description of Work: Install new (replacement) 20 oz copper gutters on a slate roof, 31 ft of radius (curved) and 23 ft of straight sections. After 16 weeks, 20% of the job is completed, total unsatisfactory quality. Job terminated by homeowner.

Member Comments: Appalling, shoddy workmanship. Sloppily soldered joints, gutter leaked like a sieve at 8 of 13 soldered joints. Not riveted, only soldered on one side. Copper overlaps at joints only 30% what they should be. The metal edge was mangled in places, leaving razor-sharp edges. Screws not cut off; an inch of screw is ready to tear your hand should you reach in to clean the gutter. Material supplied was 16 oz., not 20 oz., as agreed. I paid 50% to start, schedule of 4 weeks. After 16 weeks of calls, every week or two, he delivered the first 20% piece. Very difficult communication. Twice he removed a 9 ft section of gutter to make the replacement. Both times, I called him back, as the plastic temporary covering was not even diverting rain that came out of the cut end he had opened in the remaining gutter. After the first one was re-done, it continued to leak during rainfalls, thus we have been unable to repair the inside walls and ceiling in either of the two rooms affected by the leaks.

#4 (Not Using): Daniel Fox (roofer) and Mike Thielbar (gutter fabricator)

Daniel Fox Roofing Co
Newton, MA 02458
617-965-1294
Mike Thielbar
Home 781-648-3046 (Googled as Patti Demont - 9 Park Ter Apt B, Arlington, MA 02474)
Cell 781-760-7517

#5 (Not Using): Exterior Restorations (owned by Paul Lezon)

978-276-3086
(As recommended by David Kasman): Terrific slate and copper roof work. Paul fabricates and solders all the copper himself. His work is excellent and he's honest, organized and a good guy.  I have no experience with him personally.

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Town of Newton:

Water Dept:
617-796-1640

Inspectional Services (Hours 7.00~5.00)
Newton City Hall
1000 Commonwealth Ave.
Newton Centre, MA 02459

Main Phone: 617-796-1060
Our Electrical Inspector Billy McDonald 617-796-1077
Our First Structural Inspector Charles Lamplough "Buddy" 617-796-1069
Another Second Structural Inspector Alan Gifford 617-796-1060 ("Life Is Good")
Another Inspector Richard O'Regan (Senior)
Acting Commissioner and Building Inspector Gerry Brown 617-796-1060

Historic Commission, Lara Kritzer (pronounced krytzer), 617-796-1129

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Alarm:

Shufro Security - Richard Shufro, Anna, Esther, Cassandra, Marguerite, Red, Pete, Russ (he started Apr 2005)
617-244-3355 or 800-974-8376
Behind Enterprise Rent-a-car and Ferrari
West Newton, MA 02465

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Water-in-Basement Engineer:

Marcia Berger - President, ABC Soils - excellent!
17 Green St
Waltham MA 02451
781-547-5656

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Outdoor Drain Cleaning

(Vactor Truck and Water Jet): Podgurski Corp
8 Springdale Ave
Canton, MA, 02021
781-828-0821 or 800-286-0404

Comments I contributed to Angie's List:

Description of Work (Nov 2003): We have a drywell (not so dry) from which they sucked four feet of silt, and a bunch of underground drain leaders from the house's gutters and a little 80-year-old pool all of which they sucked and jetted out.

Member Comments: Two very pleasant guys, rob and john, with a big Volvo tractor truck arrived exactly on time and finished up in an hour. Note, their minimum charge is 4 hours at $160/hour, but it beat using pails and shovels! Top notch professionals, they normally do industrial jobs. I can highly recommend them for outside jobs. I just wish the 4-hour minimum was a 2-hour minimum!

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Sources of Vendors:

Angie's List and Contractor.com and The Blue Book and The Arlington List and The Momma Zone

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Landscape Cleanup & Mowing & Plowing:

David Sauro Landscaping
20 Stanley Ave
Watertown, MA 02472
617-965-4147

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Another, but rude, Plow Guy:

Leo Butera
Our neighbor's rude plow guy who repeatedly dumped snow smack on our sidewalk
617-964-1293
26 Elm St
Newton MA 02465

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Cement Cutting and Scarifying Rentals:

(Not Used:) Pro Cut Inc - Speak to David
781-899-2672
124 Calvary St
Waltham, MA 02453

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Rental for Brick Cutter:

Taylor Rental Center Of Wellesley
26 Washington St
Wellesley, MA 02481
781-237-4156

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Locksmith:

A-1 Lock Security & Service - Tim Tseng
95 St. Mary's St - PO Box 876
Brookline MA 02446
617-469-3771 or 617-566-8628 or 617-527-1314 or 617-469-3771 or 617-576-9970

Comments I contributed to Angie's List:

Description of Work (Sep 2003): Installed a new cylinder on a thick door, keyed alike to others in the house

Member Comments: He was very efficient and the job was done once and correctly. Excellent job, very neat, very prompt, came almost immediately, although it was not an emergency call. Highly recommend.

Description of Work (Apr 2004): This job was 3 ornery locks in our old house that he made to work smooth as silk. Nice guy, this was about 3 hours' work.

Member Comments: This is the second time Tim has done lock work for us. While a couple of hundred bucks is not chump change, he does an excellent job, does not whine, works steadily. He came exactly as he scheduled, the day after my call. Highly recommended.

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Window Cleaning:

AAA Sparkling Window Cleaning - Excellent! - Attn Steve
33 Chapman St
Watertown, MA 02472
617-924-3653

Comments I contributed to Angie's List:

Description of Work (Jul 2002): They cleaned all our windows and sky lights excluding one window which their equipment did not reach. This is ok since it is above our line of sight and we can’t look out of it. They also oiled and cleaned our wooden gutter and cleaned out all our copper gutters including the gutters on the turret which are difficult to clean.

Member Comments: They were professional and efficient. The windows were cleaned very well, no streaks. People have commented that our windows are so clean that it doesn’t look like we have glass! We had not scheduled to have all the gutters done, only the wooden gutter. On checking the other gutters we realized they also needed to be done. Aaa was able to do the gutters right then. We have scheduled aaa sparkling windows and gutter to come back in the late fall for gutter cleaning.

Description of Work (May 2004): Post-construction window cleaning of entire first floor of our house including some interior glass.

Member Comments: Not cheap, but an excellent job. Nice guys, gorgeous cleaning. I joked to my friend that they had cleaned the windows with a hammer, then removed the shards, it was so clean. Some of the windows were new and needed paint blading-off, which they did, double the price on these windows. I have used them before and the story has been the same.

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Post-Construction Cleaning:

AA Environmentally Safe Cleaning - Jeff & Rosanna Hernandez - Excellent! The nicest people. 
1770 Mass Ave - Suite 200
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-254-9422 or 866-532-5326 - Fax: 617-661-5353 - Cell: 617-592-9534
Email: info@aaclean.com or web@aaclean.com

Comments I contributed to Angie's List:

Description of Work (Jun 2004): Post-construction house cleaning, entire first floor of the house. A year's cobweb collection. Under all furniture, around all windows, thick, thick dust from plaster, masonry cutting, carpentry. Extra tile floor cleaning with vinegar. Subsequently used for full cleaning of 1000 sq ft condo, in preparation for sale, including a really greasy kitchen.

Member Comments: These guys did such an incredible job, I surprised them by paying them $500 for the house work instead of the $400 we had agreed on! It was an honor dealing with Jeff and Rosanna, as well as their entire crew. No whines, a better job than I had even imagined, a diligent crew and (to repeat myself) a super job. I cannot speak too highly of them and I don't just give "good" references to everyone! Arrived exactly as promised, answered my email quickly, smooth communication, cheery group, just one of those rare stellar interactions and performances! The condo was also a wonderful experience with Jeff and Rosanna and their crew. Jeff met me at 7 pm at the site to go over the job, gave me a price and picked up a key. Rosanna came to clean at 6 am two days later and once again did a magnificent job. I found the occasional little spot which needed a bit of touching up, and she didn't whine even once. I can't recommend these people too highly!

Description of Work (Dec 2005): One-time post-construction cleaning of about 2000 SF that had been thoroughly renovated over an almost 3-year period. Before: dust everywhere. Massive cobwebs on chandelier over a 12-foot spiral staircase. Kitchen, dining room, stairway, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, hall were all in various states of dust envelopment. After: Dust Gonzo!

Member Comments: This is my 3rd experience with Jeff and Rosanna – and it was as brilliant as the first two. They continue to be a primarily family business. Virtually everything sparkled and they had to clean places that would normally be ignored in a routine house cleaning, such as tops of doors, over high woodwork, cans on kitchen shelves, contents of drawers. Just a couple of spots they missed: one shelf in the fridge and the top of the front door, but when I managed to find the spots they zapped them with nary a whimper.

One bathtub had a “construction stain” that we had been unable to remove in a year of cleanings. I suspect it was due to some heavy-duty construction adhesive that had been on one of the contractors’ boots (mixed with all the other stuff you can imagine that might have been on those boots). But Rosanna made it disappear!

New tiles had a layer of grout mixed with moisture that had turned into a sort of thin white gruelly mud which they had to clean three times with an abrasive pad, when they were done these tiles also sparkled.

Once again, I cannot recommend AA too highly. As with any contractor it behooves you to give the work a good looking over at the end of the day to see what your eyes can find that theirs missed. There may be a little but there won’t be a lot. And they’ve never ever complained at getting the last bits. AA gets an A+.

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Computer Repair (Highly recommended for hardware and software ills):

CTS Computer in Newton - Attn: Lana
303 Watertown Street
Newton, MA 02458
Tel. 617-964-8927
Fax 617-964-9273
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9AM - 6PM
Tuesday & Thursday 9AM - 7PM
Saturday 9AM - 5PM

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Portable Toilet Rental:

(Using) Handy House, Inc
Foxboro MA 02035
800-442-1286
508-778-6911
 

(Not using) Bay State Portable Restrooms
14 Myricks St.
Berkley MA 02779
800-244-0766
508-947-7356

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Vet:

Parkway Veterinary Hospital - Ilene Segal and Sandy Higgins - M~F8~7, S8~4
18 Spring St
West Roxbury MA 02132
617-469-8400 - Fax: (617) 469-8402

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Mover:

Gentle Giant
617-661-3333

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Car Repair :

West Newton Auto Service - Attn: George or Simon
617-527-9554

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Icynene Insulation

(Using): Anderson Insulation M~F 7.00~5.00, S 7.00~12.00
(Good price, good job, horrid communication)
706 Brockton Ave
Abington MA 02351
800-472-1717 or 781-857-1000
Tony's Cell: 781-844-4228
Fax 781-857-1054
Accts Receivable x213
Salesman:Tony Trigler x207 (call at 6.30 am)
Boss?: Scott x209
Tony's secy Holly
Eric (Icynene For the islands)

(Not Using): March & Martin - Dave Stafford
64 Ward St
Salem MA 01970
978-745-3223

(Not Using): Enviro Safe Foam Insulation - Frank & Christina
61 Hollywood Dr
Charlton MA 01507
508-248-4600

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Repairer of Stuff :

Trefler and Sons - Attn: Christena Reinhard, Marketing X227
29 Tower Road
Newton MA 02464
Tel: 617-965-3388
Fax: 617-969-5206
M~F 10.00~6.00, S 10.00~2.00

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Pest Control : (Very nice and the bugs didn't return)

Aardvark Solutions - Attn: Karla Tomlinson
PO Box 67324
Chestnut Hill MA 02467
(Or Perhaps West Roxbury MA)
617-323-8638

Comments I contributed to Angie's List:

Description of Work: two trips, first analyzing our situation, and second vacuuming up the debris and painting the wood with a toxic (to bugs) solution.

Member Comments: Karla is absolutely top notch. Friendly, professional, a great deal, neat, clean, thorough, nice, knowledgeable, and flexible. A joy to have dealt with. I cannot recommend her too much, and would recommend her to anyone who asked. I would certainly use her again, although of course I hope not to! Great company name, too, how can you beat "aardvark"? Top drawer, top notch. A++.

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Plastering:

Johnnie Cameron - Excellent Work! (except the part that his "helper", Jack "Mugsy", messed up)
83 Alder St, Waltham, MA 02453
(H) 781-891-9214
Cell 617-719-8747

Comments I contributed to Angie's List:

Description of Work: Johnnie plastered our entire top floor - a very difficult job due to the many, many large planes of ceiling that met each other at weird angles. Also (it took him three tries, but he kept at it) managed to imitate the funky textured plaster we have in several places of our first floor room, where he had pieces of several walls to match due to repairs and construction work that had cut holes therein.

Member Comments: He was very pleasant and accommodating to work with. Price fair. Arrived with 4 guys and (except for one of his guys named Mugsy or Jack, who was sloppy) did excellent work, finishing the upstairs job in the time promised and on the schedule promised. Amazing! The real test of a plasterer is to see what the painter who follows him has to say about his work. Our painter (Jack Clarke - also excellent, see his separate listing) was impressed and emitted all sorts of positive comments. Johnnie's other challenge here was to imitate existing textured plaster finish downstairs, it wasn't easy and his first two tries flopped, but to his full credit he kept at it and the final job was every bit as good as I could have imagined. I cannot recommend him too highly. Honest, persistent, clean, great work

Moy Plastering - Michael Ruane (Mick)
BAD NEWS! Lazy, Sloppy workmanship.
Contact me for details.  If you have the stomach for it!
8 Underwood Park
Waltham, MA 02453
(w) 781-894-3168 - (h) 617-254-5383

Comments for Angie's List:

Description of Work: plastered a new kitchen, pantry and a large patch in an adjoining existing hallway.

Member Comments: The only case of really bad, sloppy, lazy workmanship for an entire kitchen project. I cannot speak too badly of him. At least half the joint lines in our walls developed cracks as they dried. They returned, at my insistence, and refused to see the problems. I had to stand there and shine a light on them so he would not pretend the were not there. The job was estimated as 2 days, but around 2pm on the first day he started to rush and got thru it in one day, bad news! He poured his waste plaster in bushes in front of the house, waste water down the back yard drain and got plaster all over the grate. There are half-inch thick streaks of plaster all down the glass door. Plaster slovenly inches out over an adjoining brick wall and down 20% of the sides of the oak trim and there are 2-inch holes above the baseboard. Gross, disgusting job. I refused to pay his entire bill and hired someone else to patch the results. All the workmen on the job poked fun at his plastering.

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Plastering (Not Used):

Val of Waltham Plastering Co (Yellow pages listing)
30 Prentice St
Waltham, MA 02451
781-894-2643

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Painter (Not Used) : He did our previous outside painting back in 1998.

Joseph Bruno Painting Inc
132 Ellis St
Westwood MA 02090 (or perhaps Dedham, MA 02026)
781-461-9482

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Real Estate Agent, Newton:

Moira Gault
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
1261 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459
617-969-2447 - Fax 617-969-7912 - Cell 617-797-3337

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Real Estate Agent, Cambridge:

Tom von Zabern tomvonz@aol.com
Coldwell Banker - Hunneman
1730 Mass Ave, Cambridge MA 02138
Home 617-354-1143  - Cell 617-817-4098 - Business 617-864-4430 - Fax 617-864-4883

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A Mason (Not Used):

Bostonian Brickworks ~ Jimmy Pine
50 Staniford St, Auburndale MA 02466
Phone: 617-558-0055 - Cell: 617-571-2276

Although recommended, perhaps he's not quite perfect, as on 7-21-05 Kathy sent me this description of a job he had done for her:

Hey, Jimmy Pine of Bostonian Brickworks did our big chimney and did not do a good job. It still leaks. His workers clogged the flu with mortar because they didn't catch it with with a special board in there like they were supposed to. Fortunately, the guys who came to line it came before it was completely set and were able to bang it out of the way.

In May 2006, he requested me to remove these words you are reading now, I told him to contact Kathy and they were "working out a solution with good will" ... in 3-4 weeks ...

Oct 2006: Not getting any better ... Now it's "You know, he said he'd pay me if I took it off your website and he never did, of course!" (Sigh!) What's an errant contractor to do?

Jun 2007 ... Kathy reported: I did have a conversation with him during which he agreed to pay me basicly the cost of repairing my bathroom after the leak but no money ever appeared.  (How surprising.  The mortar doesn't fall far from the crumbling wall, does it?)

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A Nice Irish Mason (Not Used):

Peter Maguire
5 Emerald Ct, Stoneham, MA 02180
781-435-1194 (office) or 617-365-0663 (cell)

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Assistant to The Architect – Briefly (and without doubt a great designer in his own right)

Christopher Spiewak (Chris Spiewak) (cmspiewak.com)
C.M. Spiewak - Design
1100 28th Street #51
Boulder, Colorado 80303
Office: 303-304-0146
Toll Free: 1-800-Spiewak
Mobile 303-882-7953
chris@cmspiewak.com

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Original Window Replacements (1997) :

Bi-Glass System - A window renovation system in which the single pane glass is replaced with insulated glass while retaining the original sash and a vinyl jambliner system replaces the old weight and pulley or friction balance system

Healy Construction - Chris Healy
124 Walnut Street
Natick, MA 01760
508-655-8878 (FAX) Same
e-mail: HealyConst@AOL.com

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The Demo Guys:

Concord Removal Services or This Link
Robert (Bob) Demers, Scott, Patrick
721 Old Bedford Rd.
Concord MA 01742
Phone: 978-369-9593
Email: demersboys@aol.com

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Attorney for collecting debts :

Alan Cohen - I have no experience with him, but his website sure sounds impressive!

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Amusements: (in case you got down to here on the page)
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"Villa Villekulla" in Swedish audio, both male and female versions! (Wav 38k ~ 4 seconds)

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