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News Coverage of Elmakias Construction, Inc.
06/08/2003 - Wisconsin State Journal - 'Parade of Homes Showcases Quality
06/02/2002 - Wisconsin State Journal - 'Builders Showcased; 35 Homes to be on Parade'
06/15/2000 - The Capital Times - '`Site 175' Should Become Regular Part of Parade of Homes'
06/08/2000 - The Capital Times - 'Parade of Homes Lite Builders Watch Costs to Offer Affordable Option'
02/08/1998 - Wisconsin State Journal - 'Better Homes And Bedrooms - Family Sticks It Out As Roof Is Razed'

 


 

Parade Of Homes Showcases Quality

New Development In Fitchburg Is Among The Sites

Wisconsin State Journal :: HOME :: J1

Sunday, June 8, 2003
Pamela Cotant For the State Journal

The 2003 Parade of Homes features a new site, Swan Creek of Nine Springs in Fitchburg.

The subdivision off Fish Hatchery Road and East Cheryl Parkway is so new that street signs are being erected just in time for the parade put on by the Madison Area Builders Association.

Swan Creek of Nine Springs, which is being developed by Phil Sveum of Sveum Enterprises in Fitchburg, is one of the latest spurts in an area experiencing huge commercial growth as well.

'Fitchburg itself is just growing like crazy. There is big demand for housing,' said Tiffany Thom, spokeswoman for the Madison Area Builders Association. Swan Creek of Nine Springs will feature five homes, which are more modest in price and size than others in the parade.

The Swan Creek homes with listed prices range from $349,900 to $379,900. All of the houses range in size from 2,214 to 2,957 square feet.

Another parade site, Blackhawk on Madison's far West side, features 10 homes. Only a handful of builders supplied prices, which were $559,900 to $779,000.

All of the homes vary in size from 3,136 to 6,065 square feet. The Middleton Hills site in Middleton has seven homes and those with listed prices range from $420,000 to $680,700. All of the homes vary in size from 2,380 to 4,800 square feet.

The Montondon Addition to Savannah Village in Waunakee has 10 homes and those with supplied prices range from $399,500 to $624,900. Supplied sizes show that most of the homes vary from 3,097 to 4,175 square feet.

A 2,636-square-foot Swan Creek home, which was built by Midwest Homes of Madison and priced at $375,000, contains the kind of detail and special features typical of a parade home.

'A parade home is always a chance to show as many details and features as you can put in a home,' said Brian McKee, owner of Midwest Homes. 'You've got to make a pizazz.'

The front of the home at 2747 Hollyhock St. is finished with a stucco look and a two-story front entrance -- setting the tone. The rest of the home is covered with vinyl siding while the deck also is a vinyl material, part of an effort to reduce the amount of maintenance the home requires.

Inside, McKee has done some special treatments with drywall. For example, near the front door he created six small niches in the walls where art can be displayed.

In the dining room, the 10-foot ceiling is detailed with drywalled coffer drops to create a deep, grid pattern. A built-in buffet runs the length of one wall in the dining room, while a built-in cabinet runs along a wall in the great room.

The great room features a two-sided fireplace so it also can be seen from the deck where a faux stone wall creates the look of an interior fireplace.

The master bedroom suite includes a lounge area with a railing that separates it from the rest of the bedroom, which is elevated. The lounge has a wet bar, under-counter refrigerator and microwave.

A countertop is designed to hold a coffee pot and a TV, which would be wired so the homeowners could see a view of the front entrance on the screen.

'Everything is right here so they (homeowners) don't have to go up and down the stairs all the time,' McKee said.

Each room in the home and the deck has its own surround sound controls and the home has a central vacuum system.

The partially exposed basement of the home, which has been sold, will be finished off in time for the parade with a fourth bedroom, a recreation room with the home's third wet bar and a 3/4-bathroom.

Another Swan Creek home built by Elmakias Construction of Madison shows the artistic fun the parade homes are known for. First of all, the home at 2755 Hollyhock St. borrows from a number of homestyles such as Prairie and Craftsman.

The builder, Yehuda Elmakias, also added some of his signatures such as using lots of wood and mixing the species to give the home more color and dimension. He also likes to incorporate a custom-stained glass piece, in this case installed in a window at the front entrance, which also has a stained glass door.

The 2,733-square-foot home features such unsual combinations as oak three-panel doors surrounded by white maple casings set off by black walnut accent squares in the top corners.

The oak baseboard is paired with maple quarter round.

Elmakias installed No. 2 red oak floors, which have more color variation to complement the home's other wood species, including those in a couple of inlaid patterns at the front entrance and in the dining room. The master bedroom features unique wood trim on the ceiling and around a window with a window seat.

Elmakias, who was encouraged by the buyers of the $379,900 home to use wood liberally, said he likes to get a home partially finished before deciding on the trim.

'You look at it and say, What else can we play with?'' he said.

If you go:

What: 2003 Parade of Homes of the Madison Area Builders Association.

When: June 14-29. Hours are 3 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Where: Blackhawk in Madison, Middleton Hills in Middleton, the Montondon Addition to Savannah Village in Waunakee and Swan Creek of Nine Springs in Fitchburg.

Tickets: Available at the gate at any parade site. Children 3 to 12, $6; adults 65 years and older, $6; and other adults, $11. Tickets -- except those for elderly -- are $1 less if purchased through June 13 at any Dane County AnchorBank or at the Madison Area Builders Association office, 5936 Seminole Centre.

* Information: (608) 288-1133 or www.maba.org

 

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BUILDERS SHOWCASED ; 35 HOMES TO BE ON PARADE

Wisconsin State Journal; Madison, Wis.; Jun 2, 2002; Pamela Cotant For the State Journal;

Copyright Wisconsin State Journal Jun 2, 2002

From Japanese inspired details to rain gardens, this year's Parade of Homes will showcase the features of 35 homes from that many different builders.

The 52nd annual event by the Madison Area Builders Association will run June 8 to 23 at four sites.

Blackhawk on the far West Side of Madison has 12 homes in the event. They range in price from $469,900 to $849,490 and the finished sizes range from 4,626 to 2,853 square feet, according to participating builders.

Middleton Hills in Middleton has six homes. Those still for sale cost $456,000 to $495,000 and all six homes range from 2,400 to 4,000 square feet in size.

The Savannah Village - Woodbridge Addition in Waunakee has 12 homes ranging in price from $375,000 to $499,900 and measuring 2,565 to 4,468 square feet.

Five homes will be featured at the Gardens at Willowbrook in Sun Prairie. They range from $194,000 to $199,900 and measure 1,794 to 2,251 square feet.

Despite the variety that naturally comes with this many homes, the properties seem to have something in common, said Tiffany Thom, Madison Area Builders Association spokeswoman.

'What we're finding is that more and more people are creating their homes to be a sanctuary,' Thom said. 'People aren't moving as often - they're building their dream homes earlier.'

Thom said the parade event is designed to display not just the homes, which in some cases were custom-built for buyers, but also the neighborhoods.

In the case of Savannah Village, developer Don Tierney of Southbridge Group is trying to create a historic feel through pedestrian-friendly homes designed with traditional character. A gazebo in the neighborhood serves as a gathering place, a new but rustic-looking covered bridge connects one part of the neighborhood with the other and a park contains facilities for a number of sports including tennis, basketball and roller hockey, in addition to a shelter and playground.

Some lots back up to a natural area. Three homes in Savannah Village represent some of the diverse features found in the parade. The house built by Summit Designers/Builders of Madison will feature two rain gardens, which are depressed areas designed to absorb rain water while featuring plants with deep roots such as Black-eyed Susans.

Dane County Sup. Eileen Bruskewitz, who serves on the land conservation committee, was instrumental in getting a home in her area to feature rain gardens. The home, which was built for the buyer, also has a room in the basement built especially for the future owner's floral arrangement hobby.

The walls were painted to appear as though the brick is exposed in places. Oak columns set off the dining room while the dinette and sunroom are combined to give one large area beyond the fantail island.

Walls are painted in earth tones.

'They really wanted the home to have a very warm and open feeling,' said Jan Lanaville, Summit vice president.

The home built in Savannah Village by Princeton Custom Homes of Madison has a loft with two dormers. It overlooks the great room, which opens out to a large deck with a view of the arboretum, three ponds and the covered bridge.

The kitchen features an Advantium oven by General Electric that looks like a microwave but is powered by halogen light, which cooks food much faster than a traditional oven.

It also is programmed to tell cooks exactly how much time it takes to cook many items. The kitchen countertop has a 1/2-inch- thick solid surface.

'It has the same qualities of Corian (solid surface) but it's about half the price,' said Greg Onsager, Princeton owner and president.

A textured faux finish on the dining room walls and two columns matches the look of the light fixture in that room. Many of the other walls in the home are taffy-colored.

The lower level is partly finished. A two-sided wet bar is built between a game room big enough for a pool table and a seating area with a TV and fireplace.

The house also has a fire sprinkler system. Another home in Savannah Village was built by Pulvermacher Construction of Waunakee.

Unusual features include the kitchen area's oak floor, which has a checkerboard look because of the way light and dark stain was applied. The look is repeated in the nearby laundry room, which has black and white ceramic tile set in a checkerboard design.

The hearth room off the kitchen has raised panels on the walls and a plate rail. A custom plate rack was built into another wall off the kitchen to display the owner's silver platter collection.

Several homes in Middleton Hills have a Japanese influence. Some of that can be seen in hipped roofs that resemble a Japanese pagoda.

The home built by Design Shelters, which has its office in Middleton Hills, has a series of hipped roofs. The interior also reinforces the 'less is more' philosophy of Asian architecture, the company said.

Another builder in Middleton Hills, Thomas Zimmer Builders of Madison, has shoji screened doors to frame the master bathroom suite. Shoji screens, which often are found in Japanese homes, feature translucent panels of ricepaper on wooden frames.

The Zimmer home also features a stained concrete floor and flooring made with red birch, a wood used on floors in a number of parade homes.

Another home in the parade, the one built in The Gardens at Willowbrook by Elmakias Construction of Madison, features oak flooring with an inlaid pattern in the dining room.

Besides a variety of wood floors and examples of painted woodwork, this year's parade homes feature cabinets in a variety of woods such as hickory, knotty cherry, ash, alderwood and maple with details in cherry.

Distinctive features of the home built in Blackhawk by Keuler Construction of Madison include a solid cherry stairway with sculptured iron balusters, custom-designed mantels and three slate waterfalls in the recreation room.

Many homes have a finished lower level such as the one in Blackhawk built by Hauden & Scholl Custom Homes of Sun Prairie. It has a huge recreation room with an entertainment center and wet bar, 3/4 bath, hobby room, home theater and ample storage areas.

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`SITE 175' SHOULD BECOME REGULAR PART OF PARADE OF HOMES

Madison Capital Times; Madison, Wis.; Jun 15, 2000; Judie Kleinmaier;

Copyright Madison Capital Times Jun 15, 2000

Judie Kleinmaier is the copy desk chief for The Capital Times.

The chance to see what a builder can do in Madison with a maximum of $175,000 - including lot - was intriguing. When my daughter, Karen, called Sunday to ask if I'd go with her to the Parade of Homes, I immediately suggested that we go first to 'Site 175,' where the nine Parade homes were all built for no more than $175,000.

We were both impressed. That comes from two people with pretty different perspectives - one whose home is assessed at somewhat more than $175,000, the other about to buy her first home for somewhat less. We didn't like them all, but then neither did we like all of the $350,000 and up homes at the Middleton Hills site. Overall, though, the Site 175 homes all had nice features, and plenty of room for most families.

The prairie-style Elmakias home in particular impressed us with its simple but pleasant design, its efficient use of space, and its beautiful hardwood floors (a feature of many of the 16 homes we visited at the two sites).

A number of the Site 175 builders met their budget by leaving basements unfinished or back yards unsodded. Elmakias somehow managed to finish two good-sized basement rooms, and both had plasterboard walls rather than paneling - a definite plus in my book.

The house built by Meridian, a subsidiary of Midland, was impressive for the amount of finished space and a creative multilevel design.

The Wick Homes entry featured a three-car garage, which is a very nice feature for a family with two cars and lots of other stuff that belongs in a garage.

My favorite bathroom was in the Windsor Homes entry. Located between the home's two smaller bedrooms, it could be entered from either of them. The sink was separated from the toilet and shower by another door. This is a feature I've seen in a number of motels, and it sure helps when kids are trying to get ready for school at the same time.

In contrast, the master bathrooms in many of the homes at the Middleton Hills site were as big as small bedrooms, and several featured a tub plus a separate shower. I cringe when I see such rooms because all I can think of is how much time it would take to keep them clean. Co-workers point out that people who buy such houses can afford a maid, but frankly, I'd rather spend my money on something else.

The Middleton Hills homes were nice, but huge. Every time I go to the Parade of Homes, which is only once every few years, I come away wondering where the people come from who buy such homes. But there obviously is a market or the builders wouldn't be building the homes.

As an empty-nester, I was particularly interested in the homes that featured a master bedroom separated by some distance from the other bedrooms. I no longer have to listen for kids at night, and I'd like an arrangement that offers lots of privacy for overnight guests. If my husband and I ever decide to give up our four-bedroom in Hill Farms with its wonderful trees, that's the design I'm going to look for. And I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of AARP types thinking the same way in a few years.

One of the builders at the Middleton Hills site asked us about the traffic after we said we had been to Site 175. He said it costs the Madison Area Builders Association about $15,000 for each Parade site, and there was some concern that Site 175 might not be a big draw.

As I noted, my 20-something daughter and I were both impressed. And judging by the traffic, other people also were interested. The main reason I'm writing this column, in fact, is to let everyone know that we think Site 175 is a wonderful idea. It's fun to see what builders can do when dealing with a budget that's more realistic for most people.

Do it again!

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PARADE OF HOMES LITE BUILDERS WATCH COSTS TO OFFER AFFORDABLE OPTION

Madison Capital Times; Madison, Wis.; Jun 8, 2000; Jeff Richgels The Capital Times;
Copyright Madison Capital Times Jun 8, 2000

Judging by the response so far, the 2000 Parade of Homes 'Site 175' - where homes are priced at a maximum $175,000, about the average price of a Dane County home - is a resounding success.

Eight of nine homes already are sold at Site 175, in the Glacier Crossing neighborhood on Madison's far southwest side. And Site 175 builders say many people haven't been able to wait for the Parade's opening on Saturday to check out what a $175,000 Parade home has to offer.

'Every week was our own little mini-parade,' said Jim Bourne, of Meridian Builders and Site 175 chairman. 'There were so many people coming through and asking questions of anyone that was working on their house in the evening. The traffic flow was just amazing.'

'I stopped by one weekend and I had five people in one hour,' added Yehuda Elmakias, of Elmakias Construction.

The 2000 Parade is not only the 50th Parade, but also the largest with 46 homes on five sites, one more than in past years. The extra site is Site 175, a concept pondered by the Madison Area Builders Association for many years.

'Every year we got asked' about having an 'affordable' site, says Tom Zimmer, of Zimmer Builders, chairman of the 2000 Parade. 'People say, `Nobody can afford these big homes.' So, just as an experiment, we did it. And if the attendance is good, we're going to keep doing it.

Site 175 builders, Zimmer adds, 'all feel it's going to be great. But people still like to go out to Blackhawk and see the big houses.'

The difference, Zimmer adds, is that while people will go to Blackhawk and the other Parade sites 'for the show' those coming to Site 175 'are people who really want to buy or build.'

Of the nine Site 175 builders, only Len Linzmeier of Windsor Homes had previously built a home for the Parade.

'I came in here for a reason,' Linzmeier said. 'I wanted to see if could you do it (build for $175,000) on a Green Built home.'

Green Built refers to a set of formal standards involving environmentally friendly materials and wise water and energy use practices.

The newcomers hope being in the Parade will give a boost to business.

'We're thrilled to be in the Parade,' says Laura Weber of Bill Weber Jr. homes. 'This concept really targets the market we're after. We felt the traditional Parade really was not the market we're after, though we do some bigger homes.'

The Site 175 market includes many move-up buyers, some first-time buyers, and even people who are moving down - 'empty nesters or the single older person,' said Elmakias.

What a Site 175 buyer gets is not 'no frills,' but certainly not the palatial touches of a typical Parade home. For example, you will find a whirlpool tub at Site 175, but you won't find a three-headed, glass-block shower.

Obviously, Site 175 homes are smaller than elsewhere in the Parade. But the builders favored open floor plans in order to make the houses seem larger than they are.

Savings also were found in inventive ways, such as using rounded drywall in place of trim, using quality but not top-end fixtures, and using vinyl siding instead of brick.

'You see a lot of the basic construction, but you don't see too many details,' said Elmakias.

Every home includes the lot, driveway and landscaping in the price. Built-in appliances also are included and some of the buyers added other appliances to their mortgages.

Each builder also took steps to make their homes stand out.

The 1,910-square-foot Meridian home is a quad level - a quint, if you count the unfinished basement - with the top level being a bonus room over the garage that can serve as an office, extra bedroom or exercise room.

The home features a diamond-shaped gas fireplace that cost about $2,500, about $300 less than a traditional fireplace, though the home also includes one of those on another level.

The diamond fireplace, said Bourne, is 'a neat option. It doesn't take floor space.'

The two-story Windsor home covers about 1,600 square feet, not counting the unfinished basement, with numerous windows providing plenty of natural light for the open floor plan.

The second floor includes a balcony overlooking the downstairs, designed as a perfect spot for a family computer, Linzmeier said.

All Glacier Crossing homes are wired for fiber optics, allowing for services such as dedicated high-speed Internet access.

Elmakias built what he calls a 'modern prairie style' with a front porch. The garage also is set back further from the street, putting more emphasis on the house.

Counting the finished basement, which includes a family room and an office, the Elmakias home covers nearly 2,100 square feet.

The open main level features a powder room in the middle, a large kitchen with a center island and a deck off the dining room.

Upstairs, the master bedroom includes a whirlpool tub and, like the Windsor home, a balcony area for a family computer.

The two-story Weber home covers more than 2,100 square feet, including a finished basement that features a family room and a room that can be used as an office, exercise room or fourth bedroom.

The home includes ceiling fans in all three bedrooms and the main room in the open downstairs, which has a vaulted ceiling. It also features oak trim throughout, something the Webers 'feel real strongly about.'

The builders generally agreed that building a $175,000 Parade home is harder than building a traditional, more expensive Parade home.

'You have to be more creative and more unique with what you've got to work with,' Zimmer said. 'Out in Blackhawk the sky is the limit.'

'Anyone can build an expensive house, but you really have to use your creativity to build an affordable (Parade) house,' Bourne added.

'I think the big challenge was to stay in budget,' said Elmakias. 'You couldn't just put something in because you liked it. My buyer wanted to change to Corian countertops and I said, `No, we cannot do that. If you want to do that, you can call us after (the Parade) and we can make this change.' '

Weber said that while someone used to building with a spacious budget might find a Site 175 home challenging, it shouldn't be tough for this year's Site 175 builders because it's standard operating procedure for them.

'In this price range our customers just have to pick and choose what's important to them,' she said. 'They can't have it all. They have to make choices.'

Parade of Homes

Dates: June 10-25. Sites will be open from noon-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 3-8 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Tickets: Advance tickets are $9 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under, $1 more at the sites. Tickets are $5 or seniors 65 and over.

Sites: Three repeat sites and two new sites.

Blackhawk, Madison - 14 homes. Making its fifth straight appearance, Blackhawk is a 290-acre development about one mile west on Old Sauk Road off the West Beltline.

Westwynde II, Sun Prairie - 7 homes. Making its 10th straight appearance, Westwynde is on the west side of Sun Prairie, off Wisconsin 19.

Southbridge, Waunakee - 9 homes. Southbridge, in its sixth year, is just off Woodland Drive off County M.

Middleton Hills - 7 homes. Marshall Edrmann's planned 'New Urbanism' development is making its Parade debut. The development is off Frank Lloyd Wright Avenue off County M (Century Avenue) in Middleton.

Glacier Crossing 'Site 175' - 9 homes. The 250-acre southwest side Madison development is off the intersection of County PD and Maple Grove Road.

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Better Homes And Bedrooms - Family Sticks It Out As Roof Is Razed

Sunday, February 8, 1998
Gail Gawenda For the State Journal

When last we heard from Bruce and Nancy Darken in May, they were in the midst of planning to add a second story and back porch to their modest East Side home, more than doubling the original size of 1,050 square feet.

Now the project is nearly finished. They've moved their bedrooms to the second floor, and they're enjoying their new space.

The new second story contains four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a laundry closet. One of those bedrooms is the master suite with a cathedral ceiling, and a walk-in closet. Each of the three Darken daughters now has her own room, a big change from all three being crammed into one small bedroom.

Downstairs, the front door was moved to the center of the house allowing for more usable space in the living room, and an interior wall was removed between the kitchen and the dining room. The new four-season porch is reached through French doors from the dining room. They put a futon there so that the porch can be used as a guest room, and ``we're out there a lot,'' said Nancy, because it doubles as a family room. Because it has heat vents from the gas furnace and cellular insulating blinds, the room does not get colder than the rest of the house.

Work on the house took nearly four months, from Aug. 18 to Dec. 10. The Darkens and their builder, Yehuda Elmakias, of Elmakias Construction, agree that the most challenging part of the project was that the Darkens lived in the house while the work went on around and over them -- even when the old roof was removed and only a large blue plastic tarp covered the ceiling.

``Of course it rained quite a bit during that period,'' Nancy said, ``and there was wind, too. It was like camping, hearing the rain tapping and the tarp being lifted by the wind. Every day the workers had to drain the pooled rainwater off before they began work.''

Said Elmakias: ``Our work team wanted very much to not only leave the house safe for the family, especially the children, after a day's work, but also to leave the home as comfortable as we could,'' given the necessarily disruptive conditions of the work in progress.

There were days when home life was almost too difficult, such as when electrical power had to be shut off for wiring work to be done. And there some amusing days, such as when a worker unintentionally created a skylight in the living room ceiling, but didn't get hurt.

But the Darkens did not leave. Perhaps the most stressful part was the noise, Bruce and Nancy said. The workers used air compressors to run their hammers and stapling guns, all of which were quite loud. Juliet Darken, a sixth-grader at Sennett Middle School, found it difficult to study when she came home from school.

And, Bruce said, ``To talk on the phone, I had to take the cordless out into the yard because of the noise, and sometimes I had to sit in the car to be able to hear.''

Even more difficult for the family was when the second story was completed, and the workers began on the first floor. ``There were days when we'd come home from work and just give up on supper and go out to eat,'' said Nancy. The only time they went away for a few days, she said, was when the hardwood floors were being refinished in the living and dining rooms.

Would they recommend the idea of staying in the house while it was under construction? ``If you'd asked me a few months ago, I'd have said, `no way,' '' said Nancy. But now that it's over, I'd say `yes.' ''

Bruce agreed. ``It's difficult, but living there has its advantages. We were always there when Yehuda needed decisions to be made. We could also see the work as it was done every day to see if it was going the way we expected it to, and if not, we could get it changed right away.''

The girls got an education too. Rachel, 9, enjoyed watching her own room being built, and Whitney, 5, had fun following the workers around.

``Actually, they became almost like family, they were around so much,'' said Nancy. And the whole family became good friends with Yehuda, the contractor, with whom they developed a teamwork-like relationship.

The only major glitch, said Bruce, came at the beginning when they were choosing a contractor. They had been working with one contractor to design the plans, but when they tried to pin him down on final construction cost estimates, he became evasive and difficult to reach. When this contractor came to them asking for $5,000 to buy the second-story floor trusses, they hesitated because of his ambiguity. Meanwhile, Elmakias had asked to bid on the project.

The Darkens decided to go with Contractor No. 1, but before they could reach him with their decision he withdrew from consideration. Shortly thereafter, they heard from several building material suppliers that he had gone out of business.

``We were lucky,'' Bruce said. ``We could have had a horror story if we'd given him the $5,000, or if he'd gone out of business in the middle of the project.''

In the end, Bruce said they stayed within their budget of about $100,000 for the project.

Now the Darkens can offer expert advice for other homeowners contemplating such a remodeling project.

``Check the contractor's references, and not just the ones they tell you about. Ask what projects they're working on now, and go out and see the site. Also, check out what subcontractors they've used, and call them to ask if they've had any problems and about the quality of the work,'' Bruce said.

This is the kind of checking they did before signing the contract with Elmakias, Bruce said, and the kind of checking they should have done with the earlier contractor.

The Darkens also recommend guidelines put out by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, booklets called ``Home Improvement Contractor Responsibilities'' and ``Home Improvement Tips.''

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