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March 6, 2015    |   By Bruce Kirkland & Rachel Sa

"Hiring Chestnut Grove,... was the best decision we made during the entire process..."

The calm in the eye of the hurricane: After suffering through the madness imposed by our original general contractor, that is how it felt dealing with the professional, thoughtful and caring team members of Chestnut Grove Cabinetry & Millwork.

Because of the general contractor’s bullish practices, and his gruff manner, my wife Rachel and I were stressed and distressed. But hiring Chestnut Grove to handle the brilliant design and excellent build of our art deco kitchen was the best decision we made during the entire process of our major home renovation. It was also our salvation when the general contractor walked off the job later in the reno: Chestnut Grove came to the rescue to handle more than their kitchen duties. Throughout this journey, whenever Franco, Dorothy and their staff members met with us at Chestnut Grove’s offices and millwork shop, or at our house in the east end of Toronto, we felt an immense relief. All discussions were quiet and reasonable. Meticulous detail was always paramount. We felt in safe hands. And then we watched as the vision we had brainstormed with the artistic-minded designer Franco come to reality in the hands of expert craftsmen led by Jerry.

The results are stunning. The kitchen, which was expanded to twice its size as a 14-foot addition enlarged the entire house, is now a showpiece. It has sublime style. It has excellent function. It has quality cabinetry. Visitors to the house — especially people who had seen the original and decidedly tired 1923 kitchen layout — marvel at what has become a beautiful space with its art deco touches, with its wall of French copper pots, with its island counter that quickly turns into a social hub where the visitors gather.

We were so pleased that, when other parts of the reno proved to be problematic, we were confident to continue and to expand our relationship with Chestnut Grove. The archway from the living room to the dining room — which had been slopped into a crooked and ugly disaster by the general contractor — was redone by Chestnut Grove’s craftsmen in their millwork shop and then installed without fuss. This after Franco had queried us on our desires and tastes and designed a masterful art deco passageway that perfectly complements the kitchen design. This archway is now our home’s first-impression artistic statement — and it looks even better after the installation than it did on paper in the design. An ugly mess has become a thing of beauty.

As a result, Chestnut Grove is now about to re-do our en suite bathroom and we are anticipating the same level of satisfaction with that project as we have experienced with all other contributions the team has made to the house. Looking back, we wish we had contracted them to do that part the original renovation, too. But better late than never. The quality results, and the calm with which they are achieved, are all that will count in the long run.

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