My wife and I purchased our house in 1998. At the time, our two boys were 3 and 5 years old and we wanted a place that all of us could eventually call our home. The property needed some immediate work and as the house was built in the early 1960s the look of the house was fairly dated (my wife called it a “grandma home”).
Initially, we cleared the land (over 2 acres), which had become overgrown as a kind of suburban forest complete with fallen trees and long tangled vines with thorns and poison-berries, while preserving the healthy plants (including several excellent climbing trees for the kids). In the house, we focused on some minor repairs that improved safety and we finished the children’s rooms. At that point, we developed a wish list including our intention to eventually remodel the entire house to reflect our own tastes.
In 2007, we were deeply attached to our home and it needed some major repairs. Fortunately, we had squirreled away enough financial resources to give our grandma house a makeover. Now, we needed to find the perfect builder, one who would preserve the basic footprint of our home while renovating the entire outside and remodeling the entire inside of the house.
For many reasons, Gil Horan became our perfect builder.
Gil lives and has worked in our neighborhood for greater than 20 years. He is intimately familiar with the trends and the appearance of homes where we live. Therefore, Gil was able to guide us with regard to the selection of building materials and design styles that fit our own goals and also will look fresh in the neighborhood (hopefully at least until we become grandparents). In addition, Gil has known most of the local tradesmen for years so he is able to subcontract those parts of the job (eg. electrical, plumbing, security system, flooring, mason work) to the best qualified workers. Finally, since everyone knows Gil, he becomes personally responsible for the quality of his work that he completes. If something is not perfect, he will absolutely make it right every time no questions asked.
Gil is extraordinarily experienced and highly talented. He has been performing “little miracles” on a regular basis for decades. He is also able to figure out how to make things happen when others cannot. On a few occasions, I would be chatting with Gil at my house when he would be visited by another local general contractor (from a job that Gil was not related to), asking for help. Gil would always politely ask if I minded if he talked to the other contractor for a minute, and then he would assess the situation with the other contractor and Gil was always able to provide several possible solutions. He is considered a valuable resource for other local, and competing, builders.
Gil truly understands that homeowners often have unique ideas and desires for their homes. Gil would not start our job until he fully understood exactly what we wanted to accomplish. An architect (recommended by Gil) helped us optimize the use of our available space and Gil helped us to understand and decide on specific building materials (eg. roofing tiles, stained cedar siding, foam insulation, hardwood and marble floors, bluestone porches) and designs (eg. interior carpentry and woodwork, coffered ceilings, arched entranceways). We ultimately came away with an entirely custom designed job specifically tailored to meet our own goals rather than having a builder force or modify standard models or familiar designs that didn’t exactly meet our needs.
Gil is aware that cost and honesty are important issues. Throughout the process (this for us spanned several months of consistent work) our budget was respected and the costs of any add-ons to the original plan were fully discussed so that we could make the final decisions. At several times, Gil also recommended cutting costs when he found materials that were less expensive but equal in quality to what we originally discussed. Gil is also exceptionally honest and it is obvious that he simply would not be able to live with himself if he were to take a cent for work that was not completed or materials that were not purchased. This was very comforting to realize, since we were spending a large amount of money on things we were largely unfamiliar with and we really needed to trust our builder.
Finally, Gil is very considerate of the homeowner’s needs. For us, we had two younger teenage boys who essentially grew up in the home and were in school. It was important for us, mostly for stability and continuity sake, to be able to live in our home while it was being worked on. Gil made us a makeshift kitchen in our dining room while the kitchen and family room were gutted and remodeled, he made sure that each contractor left virtually no mess that could be dangerous to the kids, he regularly scoured the property for nails and metal scraps, and he tried as best as possible to preserve some sense of privacy in the home while many workers were doing their jobs.
Our home is now fully restored with a fresh new look. My wife and I, as well as my kids, have nothing but fond memories of the times shared with Gil and his workers. If you are thinking about a makeover for your precious home and you live in the region, I think you should consider Gil Horan for the job.
Eric Daiter, MD
There are three main attributes that are shared among the best contractors in our area. Gil Horan has these attributes in abundance.
• Quality of work
However, your home will only benefit from them if the contractor is on site supervising his team every day. We lived next door to our project for a number of weeks and also dropped by frequently throughout the project length. There was not a day when we didn’t see Gil reviewing and inspecting his team’s work.
You don’t understand how large a project your home renovation is till after it is finished. We couldn’t have imagined undertaking it with any other contractor. Choosing Gil was the single best decision we made for our home.
David & Susan Cahill Rumson