Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guest Blogger/ Tomboy Construction, Inc.

Renee and her crew just finished a lovely project and I thought you might be interested.  I am always amazed at the transformation of space and the amount of work, focus, details and team work - especially with the homeowner - it takes to produce quality craftsmanship and good energy 
in the spaces she and her crew create.

Here's Renee:

In my business you just never know what exciting adventure is next.  I am a general contractor and, as far as I know, the only woman general contractor in all of Downeast and possibly the State of Maine.  At present time I am keeping twelve individuals as busy as beavers and we are just putting the finishing touches on a project that started last fall as a “small kitchen renovation”.   Here it is nine months later on what turned out to be a complete remodel of a cottage on the west shore of Deer Isle. 

  The owner had been a prior client of mine so we already had a great relationship of trust and friendship.  When she approached me about renovating the kitchen of her late mother’s cottage on the shore I jumped at the chance.  At a meeting with her architect to review some preliminary drawings I received a rather big SURPRISE.  It turned out that my client neglected to tell me that there was also a new bedroom to be added and a complete renovation of the rest of the structure. If ever a surprise to be had, these are the kind us general contractors love.

With the threat of winter soon ahead I knew I needed to get the ball rolling so I called on my excavation subcontractor to get a hole for the foundation dug and ready so that we could poor the concrete before the nights would turn to below freezing.
Timmy Fowler doesn’t hesitate and before I knew it the hole was dug and Doane Foundations had forms in place and concrete being poured (I love my subcontractors!!!).

After looking at the drawings with Scott Parker, my foreman, we both knew that we had to make some changes to what the architect had drawn or we would have some roof line issues.  A few creative changes later and a whole lot of cutting and nailing and we were well on our way to having walls and a roof.

The next step was to insulate the inside while the rest of my crew worked feverishly siding the outside.  It was now mid- winter and we were all racing the clock to beat the snow that one would expect to be right around the corner in January.  I decided to use blown in fiberglass insulation for its R value and overall good ratings.  I hired Garside Insulation, Inc. to do the work and, as always, they did an excellent job in a timely fashion.

Next came the electrical and plumbing. Without a kitchen plan this was going to be a challenge so I called in the expert, Kyra, to help my client come up with a design that would work in the space created.

Now we needed to put up the interior walls.  My client decided on sheetrock for the walls and stained pine for the ceiling.  My client also wanted to do a little something different and special in the kitchen by putting old barn boards up on one wall. Kyra sourced just what we needed at A.E. Sampson in Warren, Maine.  The homeowner, met with Jula and had these old boards delivered.  I have to say that my guys were just shaking their heads, thinking they were trash, while Kyra kept assuring them that it would be awesome.  As Scott put them up, we started to agree.

The pendant lights are by Julie Morrengello
Another feature that was important to my client was to have a screened porch to enjoy on those buggy evenings.

The building artist in Scott,  enjoys leaving some sort of a mark on our projects.  He is very creative so I always entertain his ideas.  He asked if he could do something special around the front door and presented a plan.  After some minor changes he created this lovely entrance to the cottage. 

this barrel ceiling in the hallway was another creative touch
A goal was to keep the living room area as it was originally.  We did this by replacing the wall board with the exact wall board as before but with a lighter stain and added some cool old beams to the ceiling and restored the old field stone fireplace.

So many details, decisions and craftsmanship goes into each project.  It really is amazing what is created with all of us working together.

The bathroom vanity is an old dresser that Kyra found and it was retro- fitted to allow for plumbing.  The homeowner chose the lights and medicine cabinet from Pottery Barn.

Last but not least is the outside shower.  My client wanted it to be a place for all to enjoy and to also accommodate her handicap brother in law who is in a wheel chair.

As the project comes to an end I find myself suffering with some separation anxiety.  It was a great run with an awesome client in a beautiful setting and that is why I love where I live and what I do.  Here’s to Deer Isle Maine and all of its beauty!

Thanks for letting me share,


  1. Hey Renee! Great blog post and the house looks amazing! Gotta say the barn board was my favorite part...

  2. Hi Renee, it's great to see how things went during the project. I was stunned at the transformation. How long would it take to make the old cottage look brand new? Because I have a rest house in the South and I want to do something about it. It looks kinda old after 15 years, so me and the family were planning to do some downtime there come summer of 2013. I've already contacted the local handyman to help us sort things out.

  3. It's a great decision on her part to ask for an expert like you who for advice on her client's electrical and plumbing system. When it comes to these issues, she needs the help of professionals to make sure that everything will fit into the space they have created there properly.

    Darryl Iorio