When we built our house, our sons were 5, 3 and 6 months old and with Mike being a farmer, I was the primary cook. Our kitchen was small and functioned well for a single cook, but as our sons grew up and started preparing meals and snacks for friends, the need for a larger, multi cook kitchen was apparent. Online research led me to Mike and Kathe Russell at DreamBuilders in El Dorado Hills, and we perused the online gallery of their work. After further reading of the testimonials of former clients, we emailed them and asked if they do remodels 50 miles away! We also emailed three other kitchen designers in the Sacramento area. Within 10 minutes, we got an email reply from DreamBuilders and I set up an appointment to meet them. We finally heard from the others - three days later.
As I walked into the showroom, I was greeted warmly and put right at ease. I met with Mike and Kathe to discuss our possible needs. Mike and Kathe wanted to meet my husband (also Mike!) as well so we agreed to another meeting which Mike and Kathe scheduled with my husband’s farming schedule in mind. Mike and Kathe made sure all the planning and design was a collaborative effort, even when it meant scheduling meetings after hours since my husband was in spring planting. We always received a phone call reminder from Jill the day before each of our appointments.
The design and planning stage was wonderful! Kathe and Christina listened well, and were very thorough and knowledgeable making sure we had ample storage while insuring the kitchen space was workable for numerous cooks. Kathe and Christina set up design vignettes in the showroom so we could pick cabinet door styles, backsplash tiles, and all our finishes. The computer program Christina worked with allowed us to “see” the finished product – my husband really appreciated being able to ‘see’ the design since he is not a ‘visualizer’. Christina accompanied us to the appliance showroom and granite showroom to help as well. Kathe and Christina know the current products on the market, and know where to get quality products at a lesser cost than perhaps some designer name products. For example, we were able to save money on one of our kitchen appliances because they knew who manufactured the ‘designer’ version of the appliance and it was the exact same thing but without the ‘designer’ price tag.
With the design finished, it was time to work out a budget. Mike Russell made an appointment with us to come out to the job site in order to bid the job, and explained he would have his subs there the same day so everything could be accomplished in one day. We had remodeled our garage ourselves about 10 years prior and we spent days arranging for the subs to be there to get bids. He arrived early, and along with his foreman, Paul, greeted each sub, introduced each to us, and then set about describing the job to each of them. Within an hour and a half, Mike Russell, Paul and all the subs were gone! A week later, we were presented with a workable budget by Mike Russell. Every aspect of the job was lined out with the budget for each alongside. It was easy to see exactly where our money was going and, if needed, where we may be able to save on costs. Jill was right on top of ordering materials, thankfully, our floor tile would have been backordered three months if she had not called as soon as the design and budget were in place!
Next up was the actual construction. Mike and Kathe could not have hired a better foreman, Paul, who we saw daily on the job. Paul was there to greet each sub in the morning, and made sure each sub left the jobsite clean each day. DreamBuilders creates a “Binder” for the jobsite that includes all the plans, the finish schedule, the daily schedule for what subs would be there, and also all the specifications for installation of all the appliances. It is amazing and we loved having it. We knew exactly what would be done each day and how the project would progress. Paul made sure everything stayed on schedule, listened when we had concerns, relayed messages to Mike and Kathe and put out fires as they came up. Paul is so thorough with his work that he draws the plans on the floor for the cabinets, appliances, fixtures, etc. and measures out everything before it is installed so there is no room for error. He measured and drew exactly where our pot filler would be installed so as to not interrupt the tile design over our cooktop backsplash, and when installed, that pot filler was at the grout intersection – he nailed it!
Mike and Kathe Russell, and the Dreambuilders team, made our kitchen remodel a breeze! The entire experience was fabulous from the first day we walked in their showroom. They honestly stand behind everything they do and want clients’ dreams to come true. When we thought about adding some trim to our cabinets after they were already installed but we wanted to stay within our budget, Mike Russell made sure we got our trim. We told him that if he ordered it we would install it ourselves to save on extra installation costs, but Mike Russell would not hear of it. Three days later, we came home and the trim was installed! When one of our quartz countertop seams did not match up exactly, Mike Russell said he would replace the entire countertop if it could not be fixed. Mike and Kathe Russell could be doing business in the previous century when a handshake and a one’s word is all one needed to know a job would be well done. Mike and Kathe Russell and the whole DreamBuilders Team go above and beyond. We met “good people” at DreamBuilders, people we can call our friends, and we are so thankful they answered that first email so quickly – our dream kitchen is a reality.