Sunday, August 15, 2010

Above and Beyond

Virginia here, once again, with the softer side of things. I wanted to write a little tribute to Terry & Robin, husband and wife team who make up Bridlewood Builders. They have been a JOY to work with throughout this process—going above and beyond over and over again.

I remember sitting around our kitchen table 9 months ago negotiating every word of the 23-page, fine-print contract. We all agreed this formality was necessary in today’s world and we each dutifully covered our own butts, but we yearned for the day when such a deal was made on a handshake.

Robin, at his core, is a Handshake Guy. He does honest and fine work, hopes you’re pleased, and calls it a day. He is unflappable. You can throw anything his way and he will work it out. His intelligence and leadership are rock solid. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who can start with a little patch of grass and make happen what has happened in the last 8 months, is GENIUS. I definitely have the feeling that we are the lucky beneficiaries of his years and years of experience in the craft. He is superb. And he loves to see your face when you first see some new element of the project. A while back, he was putting up tongue-and-groove pine on our master bedroom ceiling, and he forbade us to go into the room until it was done so we could get the full effect all at once. If we ever happen to not be at the site and something happy happens, he will give us a quick call just to let us know.

Robin Loughran (Click image for more photos.)

And Terry! She shows up on site in the morning with her long flowing goddess hair, then she’ll roll up her sleeves, jump in her skid-loader, and move dirt around with the best of ‘em! She is a hearty soul. (She and Robin both were out there full days in January when the temperature was 17 degrees.) Terry is also an incredibly savvy businesswoman, but somehow manages to hang on to her warmth and humanity all the while. She is a nurturing soul. If she sees a furrowed brow, she’ll ask what you’re worried about and take whatever it is off your plate. She’ll worry for you. She once approached David and said, “Listen, I was thinking, at 3:00 this morning, that we should go ahead with the vapor barrier in the attic—it’ll ease your mind and it won’t cost that much.” If ever we get tied in knots, we call Terry, and by the end of the conversation, we feel so much better—not just mollified but genuinely reassured. Finally, she is supremely organized. There are so many details in a project like this and so much money changing hands; she keeps meticulous records of it all and can produce invoices and budget updates on command.

Terry Loughran (Click image for more photos.)

Building with Terry and Robin has been a very intimate process. For this unique house, there have been zillions of decisions to make and we have seen a LOT of each other. David and I are over at the site ALL THE TIME because we’re doing all the staining (an endless job), and well, basically because we just can’t stay away. Terry and Robin have always made room for us, shared their tools and equipment, and kept us in the fold.

It’s not that the process has been perfect—I mean there have definitely been budget-busters, delays, and a few headaches—but we never felt like Terry and Robin swept something under the rug, nickel-and-dimed us, or cut corners. Occasionally, some aspect of the finish work wasn’t quite up to snuff, but before we’d even have a chance to point it out and ask for a redo, they’d already be on it; it wasn’t up to snuff in their eyes either. They have built our house as if it were to be their own.

Throughout the project, Terry and Robin have been nothing but honest, incredibly generous, positive, fair, and industrious (working their TAILS off at least six days a week). I was asking Terry today if they plan to take a little rest in between projects or just roll right on to the next house. Basically, they are rolling right on, but there was not even a hint of “poor me”. She just expressed genuine gratitude for the work in this slumpy economy.

Most recently, they helped organize and set up for a surprise party for my 40th birthday at the new house (stay tuned for David's blog entry on this). And today, they were over there cleaning the place from top to bottom. The house is sparkling clean. What builder on earth does this kind of thing?? Over and over again, subcontractors have raved about working with Terry and Robin. They are so warm and reasonable.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. They are GEMS. If you are thinking of building a house, you’d be lucky to get Bridlewood to do it.

Our house is very nearly done now, and we could not possibly be any happier with it. It’s the best gift I have ever received.

Thank you, Terry and Robin. Thank you. You are PHENOMENAL. My heart is full with gratitude.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a partnership made in heaven. You are lucky to have them and they are lucky to have you. Both Dad & I look forward to seeing the finished product this fall.

Love Mom

David and Virginia Jackson said...

Mom - how about Thanksgiving? That would definitely be the best time for us and the weather should still be quite pleasant. Check with Dad and we'll talk about it this weekend.

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