What projects are you most proud of?


We’re proud to work with a diverse group of home improvement professionals who share their expertise every week here at eLocal. Their knowledge comes from years of experience that collectively represents thousands of successful projects. Working in such a competitive industry, many professionals will tell you that their favorite job is probably the last one that paid the bills, but we know every expert has a special project they’ll never forget.

Why We’re Asking:

Every professional has good days and bad ones. Orders get confused, weather causes problems, tools break, and employees don’t show up; in short, accidents and set-backs happen. Then there are the days when things turn out great, when frustrating problems turn into unique solutions and experts remember why they’re so passionate about what they do. We’ve heard their advice, now we want to see how they apply it in the real world.

So experts, it’s time to show off:

What projects are you most proud of?

Which of your projects represented a case where everything went right and something spectacular was created?
Was there a job that was particularly rewarding?
What project turned out better than you ever expected?
Does your first job hold special significance to you?
Were there any jobs you never thought you’d complete?
What projects taught you the most?

Experts, post your answers in the comment field below. If you have pictures to go along with your stories, we’d love to see them! You can send .jpg files to melissa@elocal.com. Descriptions of each photo would be appreciated.


  1. The project that I enjoyed the most was the rebuilding of terminals 27,28 and 30 on the waterfront for the Port of Seattle.We moved three 7 million pound ship-loading cranes across the Duwamish River on barges and set them up to load ships from terminal 30.The support wiring required the building and rebuilding of three electrical, 26 thousand volt substations, and construction of refrigeration facilities for refrigerated foods off-loaded from the ships.The cranes are fed from 5000 volt feeders that are fed under the wharf.The dredges made the river deeper to accomodate the ships and we rebuilt the wharf to support the added weight.This was done in 9 months.

  2. Laund-Yer-Mutt, Main St., Ramona CA.

    This is a dog grooming store that is do-it-yourself. Special tubs are there, blow dryers, soaps, towels and hot/mixed water in each tub.

    The lady called me for a quote on installing gas piping from a yet to be bought Propane Cylinder. Installing a Gas Water heater in the mall building and venting thru the roof for the Exhaust. Installing a Clothes Dryer (Propane) and venting that out as well. Providing and installing a Dehumidifier for the moisture from the wet dogs and blow dryers.

    I told her that a Propane Gas line and venting would be thousands of dollars. Instead sold her a Heat Pump Water Heater on her existing electric line and eliminated the Gas Pipe, Concrete Cutting, Piping both inside and out as well as a trench and don’t forget the Propane! Which is twice as much as Natural Gas. The venting was done as well. I also said the De Humidifier was not needed nor the power to run it. Installation was money I was foregoing. The Dryer vent was not needed if we did it right with an electric Dryer and caught the lint in a lint trap. The Gas Water heater was not needed as well. She said how the heck can you do that? I replied Heat pump to absorb the Blow Dryer Heat and Clothes Dryer Heat and act as a De Humidifier at same time as using this heat into the Water of the Heat Pump Tank. I used one single device to achieve all needs and this device has a certified efficiency rating(2.35), more than double of any tank or tankless water heater and is eligible for a rebate. I installed this system a couple years ago and it has never used electricity to heat the water! I programed it to only use heat pump and NO back up. She has never run out of hot water and never paid for heating it. The place is NOT humid, she does NOT use the Air Conditioner. I installed this system for Less than a third of what the quote request was for, Not had one complaint or repair or service. Savings on this system are in the thousands already. I am very proud, she’s very happy, and the future savings will only get better. Return on investment was from day one, with a couple thousand to spare, That is emerging Technology ! Smart Energy, done by a Licensed Green Plumber.

    Pictures if you want!

  3. When we decided to build a eco-friendly house in 2003 before green had become popular. Our focus was to use low or non-toxic products, so this was quite challenging with all the adhesives, stains, and other products used in a house. Even the purple primer for the plumbing was low toxic.

    The house was rated as an energy star house complete with a geothermal system. LEED for homes was not around yet. But the fact that we stuck to our guns and limited the amount of toxic products in the house was the true accomplishment. We had to convince a lot of subcontractors and cabinet makers to use the eco-products that we found. Now a days, it is so much easier.

  4. Over the past twenty years there have been several projects that everything went just right ending in a result that even met and exceeded my expectations. Recently, we just completed a beautiful Kitchen project for a homeowner which did just that. The homeowners are a couple who he; retired military, and she; Artist and Art Teacher, were the perfect match not only for each other but made the project and the Designer-Contractor-Client relationship very enjoyable. Attention to Detail was his main focus and of course; the Artistic Flair was hers. Blending these two perspectives was both easy and achievable in Designing and Implementing the Kitchen.
    The end results speak for themselves…

    Like the project I just mentioned, there was another project that was also extremely rewarding. A young, technological advanced couple approached me several years ago to be their Designer for a home they had just purchased. Through anyone other than the clients’ and my eyes, the home would have been a tear-down. We had grander visions in mind. Over a period of two and a half years, room by room, board by board, and a lot of sweat, blood (literally) and tears, the three of us along with Don, a Great Contractor took this turn of the Century New Orleans Style home and restored it into the very beautiful home it is today…

    There is one project over the years that still stands out as turning out even better than I expected. A lot of times even I get caught with “Blinders” on and have to remove them to see the full picture and maximize the opportunities provided. This one project started out with a Very Small space and an even Larger Client Wish List. At the end of the day, and at the end of the project, we were able to not only achieve all the items on the list, but end up with a beautiful National Award Winning project.

    My very first job does hold a special significance to me because years later the client and I are still very good friends and they keep mentioning their project to everyone they meet. Trust me, I was very, very nervous being it was my first real project, but the end result turned out great and the kitchen and relationship both have stood the test of time…

    One job comes to mind in regards to the “Job that I thought would never be completed”. Long story short, because of a calamity of errors by Sub-Contractors, Product Substitutions and Back Orders and it seems, a never ending Punch List, this one project at times seemed it would never end. Since we had a great and patient Contractor on board, the project eventually ended and the end results were worth the wait (Depends on who you ask…).

    All projects teach me something since all projects are uniquely different in their own ways. The one major lesson that I have learned over the past 20 years is that things will happen and when they do, breathe and don’t get upset (At least in front of the Client). In the end, almost everything can be worked out, and sometimes even better than the original solution.

  5. In September of 2011, following the rampant wildfires in the Bastrop Texas area, Grand View Builders instated a program entitled “Building for Bastrop.” Building for Bastrop was a chance for families to create a new beginning through an extension of their ‘Build on Your Lot’ program, which was designed to be an affordable way to achieve the dream of home ownership. In order to best assist those displaced, the houses that were built were not temporary places to live, but a place for each victim of the wildfire to start rebuilding their home and community life. It was important to Grand View Builders to help these people start their lives over with as easy of a transition as possible given the situation. Homes ranged in size from 1,400 to 4,700 square feet and Grand View Builders was able to complete homes in less than 120 days. This endeavor was immensely rewarding, as close to 2,000 homes were burned. In keeping with the Grand View Builders mindset that every person and family deserves a home, they wanted to give back to a community that was overcome by a chance happening.

  6. There are many projects that come to mind to answer all of the above questions. My choice is to answer “What projects taught you the most?”

    A while back I was called by my insurance agent to assist a client of his that had an empty department store they were planning on renovating. It was over 100,000 square feet semi vacant store that flooded due to a plumbing break. When the property owner arrived on site due to alarms going off, he was walking in a couple inches of water and the water gushed out from the opening of the doors. Water had wicked up walls to about 2 feet, and relative humidity was well into the high 80%.

    After we did a walk-through we came up with a plan with the client and began services. We extracted for about 24 hours straight and setup drying equipment and began removing of wet material such as walls so we could remove the wet insulation behind it and the carpet that had began to curl up. The basic extraction and drying was speedy. Removal of wet drywall and wet insulation was another day or so. From the beginning we had approximately 50 technicians with quite a bit of restoration equipment pushing to get it all under control. About 4 days into it, the building was dry. In the process we had several challenges due to outlets to registers etc. were under water causing shorts in the electrical systems and the carpets were glued down with what seemed to be “super glue”. It took us almost 2 weeks to just get the carpet up.

    This taught me to preserve. I learned that no job was too big for me to oversee and manage. This gave me confidence on the inside of what my team and I could accomplish if we set our mind to. We tried so many things to remove the carpets, that it taught me that nothing works as good as the people on the job. They can adapt and change to fit the circumstances. Because of the confidence earned during this, we have cleaned bigger projects and done well.

  7. In this difficult real estate market we had the opportunity to list a property on a lesser known, but spectacular lake west of Minneapolis. Typically, in the last several years, anything that is not close to city amenities is harder to sell, or quite frankly nearly impossible. I created a YouTube Realtor Hosted Video Tour of the property on a gorgeous spring day….the house had an accepted offer within a few days, and in fact there were multiple offers which allowed the property to go for nearly asking price. This was a rewarding outcome on many levels for our sellers. Take a look and see my favorite video tour! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxSmQkCclkw or just go to YouTube and enter 7490 Quinn Ave NW, Sout Haven, MN.

  8. The project that I have enjoyed the most was a home that I developed in the Pocono Mountains in PA. Because I was the client, I could make any decision that I wanted and not have to make changes solely on the basis of cost or schedule. While those are definitely important aspects to every project, often there is also a value on executing a complete design without compromising. We used only the best quality materials and designed something modern that was totally different from anything that existed in the market. Everyone told us that we were crazy and that it would never sell, but we put it on the market and it sold in only one day at full asking price. It’s not too often that you take a huge change on doing something different that contradicts all of the available data. At the end, it wasn’t about the money, but more about succeeding when everyone else just wanted to tell me why it wouldn’t work. Sometimes you have to just go with your gut and do things that you know are right despite what others say. I am extremely proud of that project because it paved the way for many future successes and showed me what I was capable of.

  9. Many experience come to mind: having first time home buyers buy a $58k repo, helping families part with a home that has been in the family for years, or getting people out of a financial jam. One case in particular involves two sons and the selling of their father’s home. Stemming from a referral, my business partner set forth with the traditional phone call, appointment, cma, and then listing the home. Being their with the two sons allowed us to get involved with what the home has meant to the family and the sadness that went into the sale. Long story short, we help them sell their dad’s home and in memory, one of the sons, wrote a nice tribute saying farewell:


  10. Roomations provides online design concepts which homeowners then implement on their own, so we don’t usually get to see the final result in someone’s home. Then, a couple of months ago, one of our website’s very first customers (we launched in late 2010) decided to re-visit Roomations to get a design for another room in their home. As part of our online style assessment, homeowners are encouraged to upload photos of other rooms in their house. Someone on our staff was reviewing the new order and realized we’d received an image of a basement remodel that we had designed! The photo had come to us without much fanfare, but it was quickly forwarded throughout the office and generated tons of excitement because it looked great and exactly like the design rendering we had created! We had actually profiled the design and the customer on our blog (http://blog.roomations.com/2011/08/basement-dilemma.html) so everyone in the office recognized the room. It was a moment where we knew our business was worthwhile and that we are truly helping homeowners to have professional quality interior design in their homes in a simple, no-hassle way. That one photograph was the best reward.

  11. A project I am most proud of happens to be the one I am just completing so the photos were just taken as my client was moving into her new kitchen.
    I’ve been designing and providing general construction for kitchens and baths for twenty two years so I’ve had many projects to consider. This kitchen and family room project was wonderful because everything in the design and planning stages went perfectly. I had clients that knew what they wanted; I could envision exactly how I wanted this to look to meet my client’s expectations and style requirements. And they left me alone to do what I know how to do well. I had exceptional products to work with; I also had a client who understood what their vision would cost. This was the finest experience, not only for me, but for my employees, subs and clients. All, because we had a shared vision and high expectations for this project.
    Using Rutt Classic cabinetry allowed me to highly customize my design with shapes and details found only on custom furniture. The seven drawer curved face bay cabinet and barrel vaulted valance over the Marvin French window is the focal point of the room. Usually a 48” commercial range and decorative hood take over as a focal point but not in this case, it transitions to a wide peninsula. The countertop is very rare quartz that has transparency and depth. So exceptional is this Quartz, that that we doubled the thickness creating a 6 cm edge. Stacked stone was installed in the back splash, even reaching and following the curve of the barrel valance.
    Every sub-contractor and employee that worked on the project told me it was the most amazing kitchen they had ever seen, even our cleaning crew. They’ve seen everything over the years and not just our work. Hearing this from some of the very best craftsmen and technicians in our industry was a rare and wonderful thing. Our clients are thrilled too.

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