It all started with a rug. After 25 years of living in the Ken Lake, Olympia home they’d built, Linda and Ron Collins decided it was time to replace their carpet. Like pulling on a single thread in a sweater, that decision led to larger, more complex projects until ultimately, they moved out of their house for seven weeks while First Finishers did a total remodel, including doubling the size of their outdoor deck.

“We decided to replace the flooring, and when you get new flooring, it makes the cabinets look really tired,” says Linda. “We never really did like the popcorn ceiling.” The last straw was a backhanded compliment from some of their son’s friends. “They came to stay with us, and later he told me that they said, “Your place is kind of cool in a retro kind of way.’ Retro?!” says Linda.

Kai Fyrst and his crew plus a small army of their regular subcontractors replaced the ceiling, put in new floors and kitchen cabinets, removed an old wood stove that had been jutting out into the living room for years and replaced it with a remotely controlled wall fireplace, changed out all the fixtures, and replaced the oak woodwork with white painted woodwork, for a start while Ron and Linda rented a house nearby.

For Ron and Linda, the process was surprisingly smooth. They appreciated the First Finishers pricing structure, which allowed them to always know exactly how much they were spending and where it was going. “You know what they’re charging you for and what you’re getting,” says Ron. “They take the cost of the materials and the cost of the labor and add their percentage. They take care of everything after that. They discuss your options with you, what would be better or worse. It was a great experience.”

Education was also part of the process, says Ron. “They would explain what they were doing. The first thing they did was replace all the skylights because they get condensation. That had been going on for a couple of years, maybe longer.” The crew explained why getting rid of the moisture was important for the overall integrity of the house. “When they replaced the glass it took them about five minutes. They dropped them in and they were done,” he says.

An added benefit was not having to hire a separate designer, says Linda. “They were really good with their design suggestions to get the effect I wanted. We had gone up to a remodeling expo and I had taken pictures of things that I liked as far as the overall effect. I would say, “How’s this, how’s that? Is this a good idea?” We didn’t need to have a designer because they were able to explain how it would work.”

Overall, the greatest part was having a team they could trust.

“First Finishers were the only ones that had the knowledge to do a comprehensive project once we decided to go ahead and do everything,” says Linda.

“You could tell if someone was just a cabinet guy or just a floor guy. First Finishers had the overall picture, and they had great subcontractors.”

“They seem to have long-lasting relationships with all of them,” adds Ron. “From all the horror stories you hear about remodels, it was a totally wonderful experience.”

Today the Collins are back in their home, although no one would call it ‘retro’ now. The old wood stove is gone. “We enjoy our fireplace,” says Linda. “There’s no mess and no fuss. We have a little remote control and we have a fire. We’re really happy with how all of this turned out.”