San Francisco, CA
Areas of service:San Francisco, Oakland, San Mateo, Daly City, Berkeley, San Leandro, Richmond, Alameda, South San Francisco, Burlingame, San Bruno, Pacifica, Mill Valley, Emeryville, El Cerrito and Millbrae.
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Cress Carpentry - San Francisco, CA
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About Cress Carpentry
I am a cabinetmaker and handyman. I do built-in cabinets, small kitchens, bathrooms, closets, home offices, and entertainment centers.
My favorite projects are custom furniture and stain-grade hardwood pieces. I concentrate on authentic craftsmanship and can build to suit any style. My background includes a degree in Architectural Design.
In addition, I round out my schedule with handyman projects. I love to do door repairs. I will service a wide variety of household repair projects. I build garden features like pergolas, fences, benches, and tables.
I can repair or rejuvenate an existing kitchen without remodeling. I fix flooring and all interior and exterior trim. I also repair and replace windows.
Questions and answers
- What areas of your trade do you specialize in?
I specialize in Cabinetmaking and finish carpentry. My favorite projects involve hardwood and a high level of craftsmanship. I seek out challenging projects with high visibility. I have a good understanding of the Victorian, Edwardian, and mid-century modern vernacular of San Francisco and am always eager to build to suit the period of a particular house. But mostly I specialize in meeting my client's needs and staying within their budget.
I also do a lot of home repair work. Handyman projects offer their own set of exciting challenges. And like a ninja, when a project is successful, nobody knows I was ever there, which can be very satisfying.
No project is too small. Even the simplest door adjustment offers me the opportunity to establish a new relationship and demonstrate the professionalism I bring to every job.
- What services do you provide your customers after the work has finished?
The job is never finished until the client is satisfied. I often consult on further design ideas, such as lighting and acoustics or how to improve flow through a space.
- Tell us about the project or job that you are most proud of (in the last 12 months).
I just finished a library/entertainment center. There are four bookcases with five- and seven-foot glass doors, an entertainment section with sliding doors, and a widescreen TV mounted over the new gas-insert fireplace. It’s built in a simplified Edwardian style with inset doors and modern hardware. My client said it makes her feel like she's living in the Hamptons.
- Tell us something customers may not know about you.
I am also a photographer. I've traveled to thirty-five countries and lived in Japan for two years. I love snowboarding.
- What information do you recommend to have readily available before looking for a professional in your trade?
The internet, and a good idea of specifically what you want.
- How did you get started?
I started with a wood rasp when I was six. I figured out what a hammer did around twelve, and by fifteen, I was building my first furniture pieces. My Eagle Scout project required me to pull my first building permit at sixteen. One of my first jobs was in a cabinet shop in North Carolina. I went to school for architecture but decided that I really wanted to get my hands dirty and not sit at a desk. When I moved to San Francisco, I went to work for a general contractor and, three years later, got my own contractor license (B-general and C6-cabinets, millwork, and finish).
- How many projects do you average in a year?
A few dozen. Two to four larger projects a month plus several smaller handyman or one- to two-day projects.
- What types of jobs are the most common?
Door repairs, built-in cabinets and shelves, closet repairs, and kitchen modifications.
- What brands or products do you work with?
I buy general building materials at Beronio, fancy interior trim from Victoriana, hardwood from MacBeath's, cabinet hardware from MacMurray Pacific. I install rev-a-shelf products and anything the client purchases for a project.
- What would you recommend customers looking to save money?
Always get three bids. Look for the middle. Don't try to save too much money because there are many products that look the same but are sub-par. Never save money by using pressboard trim or cheap door and drawer hardware. Save money by doing the final painting yourself. Concentrate on the improvements that are most visible for resale value, but concentrate on improvements that improve livability and comfort if you're planning to stay in the house a long time. There are many ways to save money without using cheap materials. But the biggest cost killer is indecision and changes after work has begun. Having a clear idea of what you want and why, with prior planning, will save more money than anything else.
- What questions should a customer ask before hiring a professional in your trade?
First of all, a client should always get a fixed bid before hiring a carpenter. Time and materials are too easily abused. A client should have a clear idea of the materials and hardware being included in a bid and should familiarize themselves with standard industry practices and construction methods wherever possible. The client should then inquire of all situations where the contractor is diverging from standard accepted methods.
- What certifications or professional affiliations do you have?
California contractor's license #951197. I have certification for B-General Contracting, C6- Cabinet, millwork, and finish.
- What do you wish customers knew about your profession or trade?
Never agree to work based on time and materials. Always get a fixed bid. Many contractors put the least experienced people in the field to do the actual work. Many contractors barely supervise or train their workers. The larger the company, the less likely you will have anyone with any kind of mastery physically working on your job.
- What are the most frequent questions you get from customers? What are the answers?
I can't think of anything. I'm very explicit about my general work practices, materials, etc. Questions tend to be specific to a job. If they’re frequently asked, I usually answer them before they bubble up.