Jim's Clients Talk about their Home Remodeling Projects
" I was referred to Jim by two different friends, one of who is a realtor. She includes Jim on her recommended vendor list. When Jim gave me a proposal, everything was in writing, updates were made to paperwork as things changed. Jim met with me to review the original detailed contract and then at least a couple more times following this to review significant changes to the contract. Small changes were made and emailed for my review. Jim kept me very well informed of the schedule as work was done.
The budget was revised whenever I requested changes to the work being done. Jim carefully explained any issues that came up and offered me choices if the budget was affected. Small changes were fixed without charge. Actual cost equaled the final budget.
Jim's associate, Maureen, spent a lot of time taking me to their suppliers and showing me options to pick from based on what I had indicated about my wishes (cabinets, tile, granite sink tops). Materials were ordered in advance so as to be ready when the workers were scheduled to start. For smaller items such as faucets, Jim pointed me to websites and was always available to answer questions that I had when comparing products.
Jim was very clear in his explanations about product and brand comparisons. He did a lot of online research for me to find particular products that matched what I was looking for (faucets, towel bars, lighting, drawer handles, etc.). His guidance as to what brands and products would last was invaluable." —Shelly (Sterling, VA)
View the finished project
"We were referred to Jim by long time friends and were able to see the work he had done for them. Our countertop fabricator also recommended Jim highly.
After meeting with Jim and discussing our plans, Maureen spent at least half a day with me, going around to suppliers and was immensely helpful. Jim offered suggestions for plumbing fixtures and tile layouts. He was also able to stretch out our vanity to provide a double sink arrangement, much larger than we had anticipated. It was all very easy, and we felt very comfortable with our choices.
We received a very thorough proposal covering details of what was to be done and specific materials as well as the schedule for the project. In the end, the budget was right on target.
Although the schedule had to be adjusted a couple of times the job was completed on time. When some of our tile came in broken, Jim was able to adjust the schedule to compensate. Our wood floor was being laid at the same time as the bath project and he worked around that schedule too. He sent in his carpenter to make repairs when the flooring installer discovered some old termite damage. We really appreciated how he kept us informed every step of the way. We were in a time crunch, trying to finish before holiday guests, and he did everything to make it happen, doing work on weekends and scheduling inspections so that we could be done.
Jim's attention to detail was amazing, from the quality of the tile work to the extras like multiple outlets in the bathroom, including a fan timer. Wish we could have his crew on call all the time!" —Robert and Peggy (Potomac Falls, VA)
"Jim was one of two referrals from Dominion Granite, who had done our kitchen counters. When we met with Jim he was able to give us examples of what is available as far as products and materials as well as current trends. We were shown several options of what would work in our space for shower doors, shared what works for maintaining our new shower, and was great about answering our questions and helping us make informed decisions.
His attention to detail, thoroughness, and good suggestions all helped with the planning process. Jim's experience was obvious when he outlined the detail of what he planned to do.
His proposal was thorough and very accurate. There were no surprises with the estimate once the job was completed.
Jim was on track overall with his proposed schedule. There was a delay due to the order for the shower door, but this was beyond his control. Jim went above and beyond with areas under his control, such as expediting the tile shipment so he could stay on track with work schedule.
The quality of Jim's work was top notch from start to finish. We are very pleased. He kept us informed which we appreciated, was excellent in communicating what was going on, was available for questions, gave us good information, helped us see examples and samples, and kept the whole project moving forward.
It was easy to reach Jim. If I left a message he got back to me promptly.
He was terrific!" —Kathy and Tim (Potomac Falls, VA)
"We presented Jim with a rather unique project, which was to convert our two-car garage into an art studio. We still wanted the option of parking our cars inside but ultimately desired a space that would serve as an additional room for painting and other creative projects. We thought Jim would be a good fit for our needs after seeing several projects he completed in the past.
As the project evolved, Jim worked with us to achieve solutions that harmonized with our aesthetic while maximizing efficiency, keeping in mind the standards in our community and adhering to county codes. The use of industrial cabinets on rollers was decided upon to use as moveable storage. Another unique requirement for the space was the implementation of both natural and artificial light for painting and photography purposes, and Jim worked with us to meet those needs. A large window was installed as well as recessed lights throughout the space. A new garage door with windows was added which will provide more natural light and also offers a more pleasing view from the street in contrast to the original door.
Research for a project like this is essential; we worked together to combine the different elements needed for the project and achieve solutions that not only worked but that we really liked. Jim suggested a crank-operated window for ease of opening and closing and a heating system that would not require costly and extensive duct work. We also worked closely with him on the design and layout and shopping for products so together we were a good match. Jim has a strong eye for detail which resulted in a nice finished project that we are really pleased with." — Denise and Bob (Sterling, Virginia)
"We decided it was time to update two full bathrooms in our home and we had a vision for each one as to the general style and color palette. Jim was enthusiastically referred to us by two different friends for whom he had done work. We met with Jim and he listened carefully to our ideas. We worked well together in being able to combine his experience and knowledge with our vision and ideas to truly achieve the type of bathrooms we wanted for our home. Jim suggested resources for us to use in the selection of cabinets, granite, and tile and we used those as a launching point to then shop for what we wanted. We also selected lighting products, plumbing supplies/fixtures from various websites and then Jim coordinated the orders so that everything was on site when he began the work. The options for making choices on products can be overwhelming but in the end it′s all worth it when you see the finished spaces!
We were impressed that when given a choice he always made sure that the highest quality products were used and he never skimped on items like caulk— the result is work that looks great but more importantly, that will continue to look great as time goes by. Jim provided us with a clear plan and timetable for the project and kept us apprised through all the phases of the job.
There was a situation where Jim felt that the wall between the bathroom and bedroom needed structural reinforcement to insure solid framework for the tile he would be installing so he went ahead and corrected that. Also, when a leak was discovered in one of the pipes, he replaced the pipe rather than just patching it.
On a number of occasions, Jim made seemingly small suggestions which in fact made a real difference in the finished product (visually and in terms of functionality) such as dimmer switches on the lights and timers for the bathroom fans, as well as a custom granite threshold and corner shelves for the shower which we love.
We enjoyed working with Jim and his staff. We didn′t feel like the people who were working were just coming and going and wanted to just get the job done; they were friendly and had a "I′ll take care of it" attitude. It was a unique experience for us in that we had such a trust factor that is not always easy to find when you hire people to do work, particularly when that work is being done in your home.
We are so happy with our two, new beautiful bathrooms!" — Larry and Janet (Sterling, Virginia)
"Jim came out right away when we initially contacted him regarding the renovation of our large master bathroom. During the initial meeting, we discussed the scope of the project and our design ideas. Jim assured us that he would be on the job site every day, which certainly factored into our decision to select him for our project. After our first meeting, we called two of his references and looked at the photos on his website. His assistant also took us to several showrooms where we made various selections. Once we had established our design plan and chosen materials, Jim presented us with a detailed construction plan. He also gave us a sequence of the various phases of work (demolition, framing, tile work, etc.) and a time frame for completion. The bathroom was completed on time; Jim was very driven to get the work done and to complete our bathroom on time.
Jim′s attention to detail was noticeable in everything that he did. He′s a perfectionist! There were many elements of the design and installation that Jim included us in and asked for our input on, such as the positioning of the recessed lights, the towel and grab bars, wall-plate colors, and placement of the marble shower seat and interior shelves. This made the completed bathroom something that not only looks beautiful but truly functions for our purposes, from the general design down to our color preferences.
The work areas were consistently controlled and kept clean for the duration of the job. There was no dust at all to deal with and they were careful to work around our wallpaper and other irreplaceable decorative items. The best part was when we saw the tile being installed and we could begin to see things coming together after all of the demolition, framing and rebuilding.
The finished space is gorgeous! We have an elegant, spa-like bathroom with a beautiful air tub and a roomy shower. It′s just perfect for relaxing and is a wonderful addition to our home." — R.D. (Vienna, Virginia)
"We chose Jim Allen to work on rebuilding our home following a fire because we know him and we were familiar with the quality of work he does. Trust was an important part of our selection process. We talked with him initially about the scope of the work and a time frame for completion.
An important consideration was Jim′s willingness to work closely with our architect. Another contractor we were considering said he did not need an architect, and preferred to work without her assistance. Our reason for using an architect was our desire to modify our original layout and make changes to conform to ADA guidelines.
Jim gives great attention to detail. He made sure that the materials, fixtures, and other items we chose for installation were of excellent quality. This is especially evident when observing the bathrooms and the kitchen that he built for us. The workmanship is outstanding.
Jim was flexible with work order changes. For example, when we needed change the placement of our master bath shower faucet and hose, he made the accommodation easily.
The Allen crew stayed on schedule and kept the job moving along to the completion date. He kept in close communication with us and met with us whenever he needed to update us or stay on top of any additional changes that we might want. We had a good working relationship." — Sue D. (Reston, Virginia)
"We have known Jim for some time and knew that he was a remodeling contractor, so we asked him to give us a bid on our bathroom remodeling project. Jim took measurements and listened to our ideas to give us an estimated cost.
We particularly appreciated his involvement in helping us to make material selections and meeting us at the showroom. Jim and Maureen′s product knowledge was invaluable when it came time to decide on tile. They suggested different materials that could work together and made recommendations to plan a look for our bathroom that is far more well-designed than the ideas we could have come up with on our own.
The final proposal he provided us with was very detailed. The process was totally transparent; we were able to easily understand product costs (based on our selections) and the final costs for our project. The remodeling remained true to the proposed costs and was exactly on schedule despite an error in the ordering process for the cabinetry. It was not Jim's error; however, he stepped in to rectify the situation on our behalf with the vendor, and he worked with the vendor to find a solution.
During remodeling, that area of our home was cleaned up every day and careful attention was given so that construction "dirt" was never tracked though the rest of our home, which meant a lot.
The quality of Jim's work… the fit and finish details… is excellent. The bathroom is beautiful!" — Deborah (Fairfax, Virginia)
"My wife and I first heard about Jim from a good friend of ours whose kitchen Jim had renovated. Our friend could not say enough about Jim's professionalism, attention to detail, quality of workmanship, and follow-up on any outstanding problems. At the time, we were in the middle of renovating our entire home, and were having increasing difficulties getting that contractor to stay on task and schedule. When we finally decided to dismiss him, we decided to call Jim to see if he was available and willing to finish the renovation. Best decision we could have made. He and his team inspected all of the previous work done to ensure everything was done correctly and to code, resulting in an almost complete rework of the electrical and plumbing that had been installed. His attention to detail is exemplified in the time he devoted to leveling our kitchen and breakfast room floor so that visually one sees a smooth surface with no raised tiles to stub a toe on or trip over. He personally oversaw all aspects of the renovation, from painting the entire house, installing hardwood floors and stairway, relocating our washer and dryer to another part of the house. He worked closely with us on last-minute changes in the renovation, offering suggestions where he thought appropriate. Best of all, he and his team finished the job in three months and had us up and running in time for the holidays. It has been almost a year since Jim and his team packed up their tools for the last time… and we could not be more pleased with the results." — Sincerely, Frank and Judy R. (Sterling, Virginia)
"I cannot recommend a better contractor. Jim does not miss a detail. He's so conscientious, and his crew is just the same. When my kitchen and bathroom were gutted… my home was still treated like a home, not a work zone. They cleaned up daily. I had no anxiety at all leaving the house because Jim uses excellent people. I loved them all: electrician, plumber, painter, without exception. Jim listened to what I wanted and contributed good ideas that ultimately made my home function that much better. Perfectionism! I can just go on!" — Barbara B. (Sterling, Virginia)
"When we downsized, this particular room had to function in a multitude of ways (office, art workshop, den and occasional bedroom). I had some specific ideas for the space— I needed a drop-down matte cutter table, roll out drawers for paintings, storage space for computer components and the printer— and I did not want wiring or cables to show. Jim had the technical knowledge to make it all a reality. He brought in a team of specialists for detailed carpentry, drywall, painting, and electrical work. Jim also knew where to get any special materials needed like Murphy Bed hinges for the drop-down matte table and piano hinges for the bi-fold doors of the cabinet containing this table. His solutions give the space a sleek, uncluttered look.
Jim suggested the lighting and glass shelving above the cabinets. This wasn't in our original plans but it turns out to be the ideal way of displaying some of our special pieces. The molding around the top, which he recommended, finishes the look more than I would have imagined. Jim is a master of detail. He wants things to look right and function correctly. Whenever I felt something wasn't quite working, he made adjustments without any hesitation and without making me feel as if I was asking too much.
The entire time, he was meticulous about cleanliness, using protective covering over carpeting & hardwood. He continually vented all the dust out the window. Then, once the work was completed, Jim reconnected all the computer components and made sure that all was in working order. Now the room is exactly how what I wanted it!" — Gloria M. (Reston, Virginia)
"Jim knew exactly what I needed when I told him I wanted someone who knew how to set one of a kind porcelain pieces hand made by a family member. Because the tiles were made by hand, each one had to be set at different depths and treated in different way. Jim also understood that one large tile would be a centerpiece of the kitchen behind the cooktop. He designed a special Velcro attachment with grout around it so I could pull it off the wall if I ever had to sell my house. Jim was able to think "outside the box" and come up with a good solution. Jim excels at looking for solutions, which makes him the best as far as I am concerned. He worked within my budget, on schedule and left a tidy kitchen when he finished." — Shari M. (Vienna, Virginia)
"Jim took me to pick out cabinets, and worked with me so I could pick out things I wanted to provide myself like a mirror, light fixtures, towel bars and cabinet hardware. Jim's advice was superb on wonderful touches that I had not thought of— like our "hotel mirror" which is lighted and swivels out from the wall, and our fan timer, and a quiet close toilet. Jim stuck to the budget and got the bathroom done a full week ahead of schedule. Every day the work site was cleaned. Every piece of work was professional and he showed us what was going on every step of the way. I loved the fact that Jim took me to see other jobs he had finished before we hired him for this big job… well, once we had used Jim Allen's complete services, we knew there was not going to be any other contractor work in our home." — Jackie B. (Springfield, Virginia) Read Jackie's entire letter.
Dear Jim, As we look at our beautiful new kitchen space, we want to take this opportunity to thank you for guiding us through our first major home renovation to a successful result. We were only in the "thinking about it" stage, when we mistakenly wandered into Old River Cabinets in Sterling, believing it to be a different company. Gerry Dionne greeted us, and "hooked us in". Through his reassuring and knowledgeable manner, and always with the promise of "no pressure, no obligation", we agreed to a home visit, reviewed his kitchen plans and started to visualize our renovation. Gerry educated us to the value of Old River cabinets in comparison to non-custom choices, and introduced us "novices" to the many steps in the home renovation process. He referred us to you for a free estimate of the contracting costs, and that was the beginning of our association on this project.
At the end of our first consultation, when you came to our home and explained the process and the many decisions that we would be making, we were very overwhelmed. You were very understanding of the homeowner experience and there was no "hard sell". Instead, you encouraged us to think about everything carefully and take our time. We liked that approach. When we checked your references, we heard repeatedly that you are a hard worker, you know what you are doing, you are a perfectionist, and you are honest. We liked that too. And after almost 3 months of renovation, we agree that this was our experience in working with James Allen Contracting.
Through your quality workmanship, excellent organizational and communication skills, your attention to detail, and supervision of reliable, skilled sub-contractors; we got the kitchen we wanted with the minimum of problems. And best of all, the cost of the project came in at only 1.27% over the original budget, and that was only because we had added some work. After 25 years living in this house, going through the renovation was a crazy time for us, but it was well worth it! We are happy to provide a testimonial to your good work and would be pleased to be a positive reference for you. — Cathy and Dave O. (Reston, Virginia)
"Jim Allen renovated our entire Rec Room to include tile flooring and architectural details such as crown molding and pocket door. He also designed and installed a full bath which included tile flooring with coordinating tile wall/back-splash and a full shower. He worked closely with us during the entire process with extreme attention to every detail. His outstanding organizational skills coupled with quality workmanship provided superb results. He completed the project on schedule and at the agreed cost with no hidden surprises. We are extremely satisfied with the finished product and would highly recommend him to others seeking any type of renovation." — Tina and Rusty J. (Lowe's Island, Virginia)
"Our kitchen remodel by Jim Allen was a very positive experience. Jim's attention to detail and quality of work were exceptional. Our project began on time, and was completed within the expected time frame. Any unexpected issues were dealt with promptly and professionally." — Ronna and Mark M. (Sterling, Virginia)
"Our shower had to be replaced because it was leaking! We were not sure what to do, then Jim was referred to us by a family friend. We appreciated how knowledgeable he was about the mechanics of the job. We are very pleased with the updated look the new shower gives our bathroom. Jim's team did an amazing job keeping our house clean during the tear down and the installation. We refer Jim to our friends and family." — Ann D. (Oakton, Virginia)
"Jim has done multiple projects for me including remodeling my kitchen and three bathrooms. I have been delighted with the results and I have recommended him to friends, who have, in turn, recommended Jim to their friends. What really stands out is the quality of Jim's work, his attention to detail and his willingness to go above and beyond. He clearly takes pride in his work and nothing is complete until the customer is satisfied. He "fixed" a long-standing problem with ants in my house— clearly not within his scope of work but he did it anyway. Jim went to considerable effort to locate a wall-mounted, swing-arm platform for my kitchen television. He went with me to pick out tile, cabinets, and countertops to provide guidance on price, style, and color. Jim has always completed the job within the predicted timeframe and budget. If materials are less expensive than he initially predicted, Jim passes on the savings to the customer. When I have another job to do, I′ll call Jim first." — Nancy S. (Reston, Virginia)
"The job that Jim Allen did in our house was much more than a master bathroom remodel. He actually rebuilt it from the studs out, and in doing so, corrected problems and design flaws that had existed since the house was built in 1964. The shower plumbing had been on an exterior wall, and Jim reworked the shower cavity so that the plumbing is now on the opposite side, on an interior wall. He tiled the shower to the ceiling, eliminating a potential mold-growing area above the tile where the steam meets the wall. He rebuilt the floor. His tile work is meticulous and beautiful.
From start to finish, the project went well. Jim is a good and careful planner and he is thoughtful and creative about design. He and his crew are neat and pleasant to be around, and they are respectful about being in someone else's living space. Jim kept the staging area to a minimum and he was really careful about clean up. He listened well to what we wanted. He took pride in the job and Jim was invested in giving us a stellar master bathroom in the tiny space we had, and he did! We are really pleased. Jim's now working out a plan for our hall bathroom." — Linda and Ross S. (Vienna, Virginia)