Dan and Shari McConnon were shopping for a condo when they happened to notice the place across the street from the one they wanted. Shari’s reaction was immediate. “There’s no way I would ever live there,” she told Dan. Built in the style of an unfortunate decade gone by, the home had little to recommend it in her eyes. “It was horrifying, just hideous,” she says.
Flash forward several months: the house they’d been living in didn’t sell in time, the place they wanted was gone, and suddenly they found themselves relooking at the eyesore with the possibility of an extensive remodel. The entire upper floor would need to be rebuilt.
The McConnons took the leap, hired a contractor and moved out of their old house. But their challenges were not over. After recommending a few visits to look at potential materials, the contractor bailed out before doing any work. It was mid-summer, peak season for construction work, and the couple was stranded.
On a normal schedule, a contractor will come out and do a bid, the owner will consider it, and eventually a deal will be struck. The McConnons, however, didn’t have time for that. They selected First Finishers out of a list of four potentials from a friend who owns Curtis Cabinets.
“Kai Fyrst came out, walked through, gave us a rough idea of the cost, and laid out a plan,” says Dan.
“It was done on a handshake, which is just refreshing. I trusted Kai when he gave us his estimate. He was really straightforward about how the process would work and the fact that he would trust us as well. There were a lot of unknowns.”
Once the work began, Shari took a lead role in the design with a clear vision in mind. She quickly developed an effective working relationship with Kai and his team. “They’re very respectful of your vision but they’re not afraid to tell you what they think would work or not work in a supportive way,” she says.
Dan agrees. “With most things they let her decide,” he says. “Sometimes they offered choices and generally they were good. The times that we took their ideas we haven’t regretted it at all. They know what they’re doing.”
The couple also appreciated the care the entire team took to be as unobtrusive as possible. “We live in a community that has around 18 units,” says Dan. “A lot of older people live here and they get disturbed easily. The crews were really conscientious about noise.”
The one issue that did arise was around a subcontractor whose work was below the standard of the rest. However, says Shari, “Kai went above and beyond to fix that situation. He stood behind his work.”
Today, the home bears no resemblance to its former self. “The actual craftsmanship is amazing,” says Dan. “They did a fantastic job. The place turned out as well as we had hoped or better.” For Shari, thankfully, it’s “completely unrecognizable compared to what it was. All of my friends who’d seen it beforehand are stunned. It’s beautiful.”