I am delighted to have the opportunity to share my experience with Buckminster Green, and will address both Bronwyn Reice's design services and Kenny Grono's talented contractor services.
We purchased a row house in the Fitler Square section of Philadelphia in 2010 with the intention to perform a comprehensive rehab, the scope of which was at that time unclear to us. We worked with an architect to develop a plan, and then looked for a builder. We received several builder recommendations, and met individuals from some of these companies. We also did some research to find someone with whom our communication style would be compatible. Buckminster Green's name kept coming up as a company that used thoughtful, eco-friendly, practices and seemed to be right-sized for our project. I met Kenny for the first time in the summer of 2013.
Right off the bat Kenny's approach resonated with us. He insisted on visiting our suburban home to see our lifestyle and, it turns out, to assess our interaction with each other on our home turf. During that first meeting we did not get into the specifics of the project, but instead we were able to take each other’s measure. This was very wise. I found Kenny’s direct manner, using a minimum of words unless more were needed, to be exactly right. He explained his use of a web site for communication and documentation of design decisions, which is very efficient for busy people. My husband and I knew that we could work with Kenny, and thought it was likely that we’d still be friends at the end of the project (we are!). We proceeded to enter the contract process, which was straightforward and easy, not because it was simple but instead because Kenny took the time to seriously address each item. For example, when I seemed stuck on a relatively minor point, Kenny took the time to ask me why it was important. When I explained that I had lived in a house in which this particular feature had never worked properly, he immediately understood my concern and we were able to move on. By this time, I had developed quite a high degree of trust in Kenny and in the process. Kenny’s understanding of the emotions involved in the construction process was extremely helpful throughout the project. This was not my first renovation project, so I understood that in every project there comes a time when you just want it to be done and over. Kenny understood this completely, and I learned to rely on his good sense when I was tempted to make decisions with an eye towards expedience. I should also mention that Kenny’s project manager, Scott, was the person with whom I had day-to-day contact. Scott was tireless in his execution. My hat is off to Buckminster Green for staffing the project in this manner, and for selecting a person like Scott to fill this role. While I’m mentioning Buckminster Green’s staff I should also say that this company, unlike others, has full time staff who were assigned to my project. I grew to like and trust these men, who worked tirelessly to build my house. I think about them frequently, and miss them now that the project is over.
The actual work was extremely complicated, as we ended up removing all the walls and floors, leaving only a shell, also adding stories and digging out the basement. We endeavored to fit a lot of function into a small space. Kenny went above and beyond any expectation so that every inch counted. Kenny’s selections were of the highest quality, beyond what I would have known to ask for. Kenny never, ever cuts corners. Not even once. As the project progressed, each stage of the work was a sight to behold. The skill and care with which the parts that would eventually be hidden in the wall was assessed was remarkable. I was delighted every time I visited the house with the progress and the beauty. Kenny’s standard selections and choices, even for simple things, delighted me every time. For example, it turns out that window trim can be a spectacular design aspect if well done.
At a certain point, after making a house full of decisions, I became totally incapable of making any more choices. In stepped very talented Bronwyn Reice. With Bronwyn on the team I began to have some fun. We shopped for some things and she validated other selections that I had made. We were able to move quickly through the color choices, the cabinet selections, the stone, and tile selections. It is absolutely clear to me that Bronwyn’s involvement made the house spectacular instead of simply nice. I suspect that Bronwyn has a different design sensibility from mine, but you would never know it from her work. The hallmark of a great designer is that she can translate good design into the framework of the client’s preferences. Bronwyn did this with great skill. A million times during the project I was able to lean on Bronwyn. I have not previously worked with a designer, so I didn’t know how valuable it is to have a trusted sounding board. I’m so grateful that she was able to participate in this renovation!
The actual process of construction is straightforward: hammers, nails, drywall, plumbers, etc. That's pretty straightforward. It’s the way it all gets put together that differentiates the good builder from the great one. Buckminster Green is the builder you will hire if you wish you could do it yourself, if you set only the highest standards, and if you are a perfectionist. The contracted price was fair, there were no hidden costs, and the work was of the highest quality. Kenny and his staff are experienced builders in Philadelphia who know the ropes, and are extremely nice people. It would not be possible for me to recommend Buckminster Green any more highly.