There is one word that comes to mind when I think of Jay Charendoff’s role in our renovation, and that word is “invaluable”. A friend of ours recommended Jay when we were starting out to renovate a condo we had just bought, as she knew I had previously always dreaded and avoided doing renovations. To be honest, when I read Jay’s glowing reviews on HomeStars, I was a little afraid he was out of our league – both financially and in terms of the relative importance of our renovation to him. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He was completely invested in us and his price was more than reasonable, even though I know he was juggling several other clients at the same time. What did he do for us? Because he is a trained architect, he actually designed the structural changes for us and it made a huge difference in the feeling of size in our condo. He also recommended a good general contractor and most importantly, I could email him and ask for his help if I had concerns about any aspect of what was being done. Jay followed up with us even when we didn’t contact him, to make sure we were still happy and enjoying a stress free renovation, which is his stated goal for his clients. He also came to inspect the renovation once it was finished, on his own initiative. I feel extremely fortunate to have been in such good hands, and I adore our newly renovated home. I truly believe that hiring Jay was the smartest thing I could have done
My house underwent a major renovation 8 years ago. Following the completion of the job, I was widowed. There are a number of house concerns that have developed over the last few years. Feeling insecure about how to proceed and not particularly savvy around house repairs, I was referred to House Calls Renovation Advisors. We did a thorough walk through both in and around the house. I felt totally comfortable when speaking of my various concerns! Jay asked thoughtful, appropriate questions. The issues were assessed and recommendations to appropriate tradespeople were provided. Jay quickly provided a written review of what had transpired and also contacted the recommended trades. He was extremely respectful, knowledgeable and an overall good guy!
We have a driveway on a steep incline and after this past winter, started considering our options on how to make it easier to navigate. I had met with a few contractors but contacted Jay to get a third-party, impartial opinion. Jay was great at assessing the situation, listening to my requirements and providing feasible options to address the situation. If I undertake any renovations in the future, I will definitely call Jay first!
I’ve consulted Jay at House Calls twice. Once was for a deteriorating garage door lintel, and I wasn’t sure if it indicated a bigger hidden problem. Jay’s advice was that it likely wasn’t a big problem; that I should drill some extra drainage holes in the stucco caulking, and watch it over the next season. He identified that the lintel problem was likely just paint over unprimed wood, and that I could just sand, prime and repaint it. The second consult was over a leaking skylight. He identified where the most likely source of the leak was – a deteriorated seal, and suggested that I try caulking around the glass pane with silicone sealant – something well within my very limited DIY skills. I did this and the leak has stopped. I really appreciate that Jay did not suggest expensive repairs in either case, but common sense advice to try easy solutions first. Based on the questions he asks about the problem areas, he clearly knows what he’s talking about, and gathers information carefully before giving an opinion. I recommend him highly. 
Cracks appeared this winter where a small breakfast area had been added to the original house. The addition was well built and over 20 years old. There was a basement underneath with a foundation. When the cracks appeared this winter I was really concerned and called Jay. He came over right away, inspected the whole area, took pictures and talked with me. He confirmed that the room had settled and had pulled away from the house. He put the problem In perspective and calmed my fears. He then put 3 contractors who he had worked with and knew in touch with me to recommend a course of action. All of the contractors were courteous and helpful and gave me a range of options with different financial implications. I called Jay to discuss the options and he was very helpful at outlining the implications of each. I was ready to move in with a long term partner and planned to rent my house. After discussing the options with Jay I decided to sell instead realizing that I did not want to be a landlord and have to deal with these types of issues. Jay was instrumental in helping me assess the situation, consider all the options and make a decision. He didn’t try to convince me that one option was better than other, rather he helped me determine the best choice for my situation.
When we bought our house last year, we knew we wanted/needed to make changes, but were dreading the prospect of renovations. Enter Jay Charendoff, whose donation of a 2-hour consultation we were fortunate to win at a charity auction. Jay walked through our 5-story townhouse from top to bottom and patiently answered a barrage of questions, demonstrating deep knowledge of building technology, architecture and construction. The next day we received his detailed notes with specific suggestions and advice for our project, and we’ve had several follow-up conversations with Jay since. Now 6 months later, we’re working with the contractor he recommended – who’s every bit as good as Jay promised – and watching the transformation we dreamed of unfold before our eyes. The process has been straightforward and practically hassle-free. Knowing we had Jay to rely on gave us confidence to move forward. For anybody uncertain about how to begin a home renovation, Jay Charendofff should be your first call. 
We hired a contractor for a complete house renovation top to bottom. 1.5 years later we found our house in shambles, no one showing up for work, our contractor overpaid and suddenly asking for over a hundred thousand dollars of additional money upfront to complete, we were basically hostages on our own property. We then hired Jay Charendoff of House Calls at this critical point in the project. He agreed to take us on and prepared an initial architect’s assessment, and comprehensive documentation on the initial state of the house. He discovered multiple foundation and construction deficiencies. He facilitated legal counsel to end our contract and found us a reputable contractor that was willing to step in and remediate and complete our project. Jay organized the remediation together with our contractor and was the liaison and communicator between our new contractor and us for the initial phases of the remediation. His construction knowledge and building code understanding reassured us that we were not getting into another problem. Our trust was solely on Jay to deliver and you can imagine it was at first a leap of faith out of desperation but very quickly (after our first meetings I think) we realized there was a way out and Jay would get us there. Jay also quickly organized a system for recording issues and took video and digital photographs to create a legal documentation trail that we are presently relying on to try to recoup our losses. He also found us a great kitchen supplier and was able to facilitate our release from the kitchen we initially had booked as they were connected with the first contractor and were also trying to deceive us. Jay’s fees were clearly laid out. The scope was fairly widespread as we were in remediation and we did not know what was going to come our way. We have found that Jay’s role has evolved throughout the project. From triage engineering consultant to finishing /build consultant to legal communications consultant. We are pretty dependent on Jay and his commitment to helping us to completion. Jay has a very good understanding of building construction, building codes and proper design. He has a keen eye for small details and this was significant and valuable to us in our situation. He knows a lot of suppliers in the home / commercial construction business and his previous experience in (worldwide) consulting has given us a wide network of resources to choose from. Our new House Calls referred contractor has an above code standard and delivered a contract and good clear pricing, first on a time and materials basis and then for finishing we broke each section into a separate contract and they kept to it . Jay has a systematic approach to listing and controlling financials that you can easily incorporate and rely on. We would recommend Jay Charendoff and House Calls in a heartbeat. We would not renovate or build another home without hiring Jay as our project consultant at the onset to avoid the losses we have incurred in this project. For busy people, it is not so much a luxury as a best practice to save money and peace of mind. Our home is complete now 9 months later and Jay has a standing invitation for lunch for life. 🙂 
Jay’s help was invaluable. He led us through the process of deciding what work we wanted done, and created a detailed scope of work and floor drawings for tendering. As a trained architect, he was able to provide many suggestions relating to structure, as well things we wouldn’t have thought about such as traffic flow and the best use of natural light. He also recommended contractors who he has used in the past, and the contractor we chose has been absolutely terrific. The whole process has been stress-free and as close to being pleasant as a major renovation can be. I can’t recommend Jay highly enough. 
We hired Jay Charendoff, the owner of House Calls, to help us best deal with a water/mold issue that we discovered in the basement. Jay assessed the situation and devised a solution in the form of an underground drainage trough, which would allow water to flow away from our house. He also recommended re-directing our downspouts, and referred us to the excellent Blueline Contractors to do the excavation and subsequent waterproofing of the foundation walls. Jay made numerous site visits and supervised the implementation of his plan. We were very pleased with the end results and felt reassured that we had taken all the necessary steps to solve the water problem for the duration of our long stay in our home. Well done, Jay. We will refer you with full confidence.
Purchased a house with an unfinished basement that we had no idea how to renovate. Found Jay and the service he has provided has been invaluable. He came up with a plan/design that we wouldn’t have thought of that utilizes the space perfectly. He then recommended contractors for the reno job and it came down to a choice between his recommendations even though we met with others. He was always on time for site visits and follows up regularly to see how things are progressing. We are about to start the actual renovation and he has offered to follow up with site visits at no cost to us as he is interested to see how “his” projects progress. Thank you for everything Jay!
We hired Jay to advise us on some renovations we plan to do in the future. He also did some research on zoning laws and building costs for us. He was punctual for site visits and his followup emails and calls were always timely. Having someone knowledgeable in the industry to bounce questions and ideas off of definitely helped us feel more comfortable with the process and less uncertain about our next steps
Jay – Thanks again for your assistance. Your involvement helped us refine our thinking and plans – and gave us confidence for moving forward on our major home renovation. You were able to put our thoughts into usable plans and your input was very helpful. Royal Home Improvements, as one of your general contractor recommendations, has worked out very well. We highly recommend your service for anyone starting a renovation project.
My partner and I had started our own process of contacting contractors to do our main floor renovation (basically wanting to gut and restructure the main floor of our semi). We soon found that we didn’t have as much clarity in what we wanted as we had thought. Contractors wanted a clear idea of what we wanted them to do and we assumed that the contractors would be able to tell us what we could do. Then we found Jay from House Calls renovation advisors. He made the pre-construction process smooth and easy for us by helping us to better define what we wanted based on what was possible. With a background as an architect he had some great ideas regarding how we could structure the space and build in storage solutions. He created a solid plan based on our needs that was laid out in an easy to understand package that he then sent out to reputable builders. We felt at ease and confident throughout the process which was something that we lacked our first time around. Our demolition is set to start within the next month and we can’t wait to see our vision become a reality. Thanks Jay for your guidance and support!! ~ Erin and Jonathan 
In brief, I was struggling with my HVAC sub-trade who seemed to be having great difficulty installing my new underfloor hydronic heating system. Because he was several days behind schedule, his work was delaying progress throughout the house. Jay talked me through several options to address the problem and made me realize that although the situation wasn’t ideal for me, the best choice here was to maintain a viable working relationship with the installer, encouraging him to complete his work as soon as possible. Taking this route saved me from making an emotional decision that would have surely resulted in further delays and possibly have voided the warranty on the system. The project is now on schedule and running smoothly. Jay, thanks for your help.” Absolute relief dealing with yourself who has the insight as to working with the trades
My elderly parents are moving to Toronto and renovating a newly purchased condo, with which I am assisting them. The task is daunting for anyone, but especially for those in their 80’s, who are new to the city. They got a recommendation of a contractor, discussed the project with him and he provided a quote. They were floored by the cost and needed to consider alternatives. We contacted Jay Charendoff at House Calls Renovation Advisors and he offered to assist. Jay was fantastic! He worked closely with us to determine my parents’ priorities, he visited the site with us and room by room they decided on exactly what was to be done. Jay developed a detailed Scope of Work document that clearly outlined all the elements of the project. His “people” skills were excellent and he immediately put my parents at ease. His knowledge of construction and design was impressive and he was thorough and conscientious. He replied promplty to all emails and followed through immediately. Once the Scope of Work document was sufficiently refined to cover all the desired elements of the renovation, Jay put it out to tender to two recommended contractors who my parents and I were able to meet on the site visit. With three quotes, they would have a solid basis on which to make their decison. Quoting on exactly the same specifications, one contractor came back with a quote that was substantially less than the other two. Through Jay’s excellent work and recommendations, my parents will save a considerable sum of money and they feel confident moving forward. We all couldn’t be more pleased with his service and we recommend Jay and House Calls without reservation!
Jay helped us re-think our main floor– his designs delivered innovative ideas and a fresh, surprising approach. He listened to all the issues we had with our current configuration and managed to address a very long wish list all in one integrated design. It’s been a pleasure working with him. Recommend him to anyone!
We recently bought an old house in need of repairs and renovations. Knowing nothing about either, we interviewed a number of people to help us run the work. Jay came off as the most practical and most able to address our main concerns: developing a workable and affordable plan and helping us deal with and assess the trades. We are still in the early phase of the project, but Jay has thus far met our expectations completely. He has been timely and always responsive to our queries, some of which are no doubt numbingly basic questions. He has helped us put together a tender package, has come up with some great suggestions (and well considered cautions) and has helped us gauge the various quotes and advice that we are receiving on the repair work. We would unreservedly recommend him for a reno and repair project, and look forward to continue working with him in the future.
Simply put, it is an absolute joy to work with Jay Charendoff at House Calls Renovation. Jay has skillfully guided us through and has kept us on track as we have worked on the perfect design layout for our 100 year old downtown house. He keeps us posted on the status of ongoing matters as they progress, responds quickly to our emails and diligently follows-up with us for feedback. With Jay’s professional expertise, skillful design and continuing patience, we now have a very well thought-out and very functional floor plan which I know will work well for our small house. We are looking forward to starting construction in early 2013, with Jay project managing the entire construction phase. Jay’s rates are extremely reasonable and well worth the money. His help is invaluable.
My wife and I engaged Jay for advise on re-surfacing the exterior of our house along with some minor architectural changes. After having completed a full kitchen and basement renovation without the aid of a consultant, it’s been a pleasure having someone like Jay to help walk us through this process. Without being tied to a contractor, Jay provides great objectivity, good industry knowledge and an unbiased opinion to help guide us through our options. We now have a plan that is thought out, will offer us an ability to build on over time and will be cost effective. Unlike a number of people we’ve encountered in the contracting community, Jay is a true professional. He’s knowledgeable, courteous and always quick to follow up on questions or requests for help. I would recommend Jay for any type renovation work that takes you out of your comfort zone.
Working with Jay at House Calls Renovation was a great experience. Jay was very reliable, creative and listened to us. He offered us many options and recommended contractors who we have been very happy with. Jay demonstrates the flexibility to work with different clients in the way best suited to their needs. We highly recommend Jay and would readily use his service again.
Jay has been a great help in guiding us through prioritizing and planning a kitchen renovation, plus a variety of other upgrades. He is extremely patient in working with us, and encouraged us to take the time to make the right decisions. He proposes creative ideas, listens to what we have to say and is very reliable in meeting his commitments.
My wife and I recently purchased a new home and were planning to start several renovations, some of which were very aggressive including the removal of structural walls. Given the magnitude of planned work we were not comfortable to proceed on our own. We engaged House Calls for advice and were very pleased with the content and scope of advice provided by Jay. The advice we received was without pressure and gave us the confidence we needed to move forward in a calculated and planned pace that we feel has ensured that we will be making the right design decisions and at the proper time to give us the best bang for out contracting dollar. House Calls also brought to focus home inspections to be carried out that we would not have considered otherwise.
House Calls provides a critical element to any home owner contemplating a renovation project. That element is confidence. I found Jay Charendoff on HomeStars when I was considering how to update my 65-year old, mostly original bungalow. I was loathe to spend money piece-meal on a bathroom then a kitchen, then ventilation… and everything seemed tied to everything else. i just didn’t know where to start. It also dawned on me that I have absolutely no expertise in how to “buy” major construction services and I needed an expert “in my corner”. With Jay at the helm, we now have a clearer picture of what will happen – including moving the kitchen to the back of the house – something I would simply never have considered! I’m a firm believer in planning up front – especially if you’re going to spend big bucks on a project. Planning saves costs and helps maximize value. Jay has already saved me thousands on the kitchen project by evaluating vendors and ranking them by cost/performance. I know once we get to the construction phase, it will be money well spent – all with proper engineering drawings, city permits, and inspections. I now expect to get exactly what we designed. I can spend with confidence. If you’re like me and not quite sure where to start with your home reno, you should call Jay and chat about your project. I recommend him without reservation. Very Satisfied Customer, Thierry J
We have a variety of big and small projects, some more pressing than others, but because of our inexperience, we had no idea how and where to start. Jay has been an incredible resource. He got to know us, reviewed both our “necessities” and “wish list” and then helped us prioritize the work in manageable pieces. He also came up with innovative options that we couldn’t have imagined on our own. And even though our wish list will haveto be implemented in stages, his hourly rate (as opposed to a percentage of total job) has made it affordable and practical. He has also helped us find excellent contractors who have done high quality work at reasonable prices. Our investment in House Calls has saved us numerous headaches and false starts and has been worth every penny. Thank you, Jay! 
I’ve wanted a bigger bathroom for a while, but it just seemed like a lot to take on and not knowing where to start I was worried I would get stuck in one of those horror stories of Reno’s gone wrong so I kept it on the wish list. I came across an article about House Calls while doing some reading and thought it was a great concept that might help me to get started. Although we are only at the beginning of the project, Jay has been very helpful in providing a place to start and in breaking things down into small manageable steps that make it easier to think of it as something that can be accomplished with a reduced level of worry and stress. At this point I think it has been and will continue to be a wise investment. 
My wife and I in the midst of planning a substantial renovation to our home – a 2-storey extension, a complete redesign of the 2nd floor, as well as an update to the entire outside façade. For a project of this magnitude we decided that we needed help to determine what would be practical, affordable and would make optimum use of the space while suiting our tastes and preferences. While have some experience with renovations, the complexity of the project was such that we weren’t comfortable going it alone. We made the decision to meet with Jay from Housecalls, and we are very thankful that we did. Jay proposed a reasonable, phased approach to tackling our project and set out a clear schedule that would get us to the point of construction. The input and advice we have received thus far from Housecalls has been invaluable – from determining what is allowable based on city zoning requirements, to the design of the new space, and even in determining a budget for the project. Jay has done an excellent job of helping us through the initial stages of the renovation process, and most importantly he has spent the necessary time with us to help crystallize our thoughts and desires, and transform them into a reality. Jay’s creativity in designing our new space (and problem solving) were excellent. We asked him to think outside of the box and he did. He provided some suggestions for additional features and uses of our space that we never would have thought to consider. Most importantly, Jay is always mindful of cost and continually suggests creative ways for us to achieve then ends we desire, via less expensive means. We are extremely excited about our project, and we are happy to have Housecalls on our side. Jay definitely feel as though Jay has our best interests in mind.
We had a rather complicated project involving water management around our detached home. Due to some unusual aspects of our property, it became necessary to undertake creative solutions. The project came to involve a number of different pieces, including stonework, carpentry (new gates), eaves-trough replacement and modification and some additional drainage capacity via trench drains. We were not comfortable trying to organize a project that would involve a number of different sub-contractors so decided to retain a renovation advisor. I had run across Jay in an online article one or two years earlier and made contact earlier this year. We met with Jay to review the problems and possible solutions. Jay focused on the outcome (improved water management) and walked us through the design process; produced detailed drawings of the work to be done; oversaw the tendering process to contractors (by reviewing the bids and helping us choose the best one); and oversaw the work done, ensuring that it was done according to the original plans and specifications. I note as well that Jay will refer clients only to companies that he believes provide good quality work at a reasonable price. Issues arose along the way (naturally) and Jay was available by telephone, by email or in person to help us resolve these. I was very happy to have the involvement of an independent person who acts as your advocate in this process, particularly given the amounts involved (more than $50,000 for the entire project) and was very pleased with Jay himself. I would unreservedly recommend both this model and Jay himself to anyone who is considering a large, expensive renovation. (Note: Jay is compensated by an hourly rate, which may not make sense for smaller projects. This serves to ensure that he is unbiased in his advice to the client and is able to act as a true advocate, as there is no financial connection between Jay and the contractors.) Jay also helped us with an indoor project, built in bookshelves that were custom designed and custom produced by a builder for our living room. We were also very pleased with the outcome on this project.
We identified a musty smell inside our house, along with some wear and tear on our flagstone steps and the brickwork on our garage. We didn’t really know where to start, but knew we needed to diagnose the problem prior to retaining a contractor to address the issues. Jay provided exactly the service we needed and more! He completed an assessment and identified several exterior and interior issues he believed needed to be addressed and then put the job out to tender. He assisted us in evaluating the proposals and we are thrilled with the results. Through Jay’s extensive contacts, we retained a contractor who was extremely diligent, professional, and a pleasure to deal with, and who was very helpful in scaling down the scope of work required, and thus coming in at a very reasonable price. Jay was very reliable, continued to check in with us and came on site to ensure that the work was progressing as planned. We will definitely use Jay for any home renovations we do in the future and would highly recommend him to others! 
From the time we moved into our narrow inner-city house seven years ago, we began to contemplate converting our grungy basement laundry room into a combination laundry/bathroom. We wanted to maximize our tiny 110 sq. ft. to include: a washer, a dryer, a laundry folding table, more built-in storage space for bedding and towels, a utility closet, ironing board storage, clothes drying rack, space for the dehumidifier, display shelving for art glass, an up-scale shower, a toilet, towel racks and, yes, a large sink too. We had some ideas to begin with, but neither of us could crystallize them into something realistic. We knew we needed professional help, and found Jay. Within days of our first on-site meeting, he was able to produce scaled drawings, and thus gave us a great opportunity for a reality check. And he quickly helped us evolve a final plan, containing all of the above, that we then put out to tender. The formal bids came in over our budget, so following Jay’s advice, we were able to become our own contractor, and save on costs. Jay’s gentle insistence that we follow his suggested sequence of steps for the renovation saved us a lot of money and heartache. And he’s been very accessible throughout this process, which is still underway. We highly recommend Jay Charendoff and would use him again. 
 We had a major renovation in 1998 that included a lot of external brickwork in the rear of the house. Many bricks had since begun to crumble. We called House Calls Renovation /Advisors for advice on how we ought to deal with the problem.

Jay visited the site, assessed the problem, then made a recommendation. Initially, he looked at all the problem locations, then studied our architectural drawings to determine the structure behind the bricks. He identified the cause of the problem: water seeping into the exterior bricks that had been left uncapped. He provided a referral to a masonry company, and discussed the problem with the company on our behalf. Then he oversaw that the work took place correctly and to our satisfaction. The representatives of the company he referred us to were courteous, reliable and professional 

House Calls and Jay Charendoff helped me considerably last year when I was faced with the possibility of spending thousands of dollars on new eavestroughs. I had already received one quote for $3,250, and when I mentioned this to Jay, he felt I was being over charged. He referred me to one of his trade contacts who quoted $750 for the same scope of work by redesigning my existing system with an exterior leaf catch basin thereby saving me about $2500.I know this was not a “big job”, but to me, this was an important reminder that there is often a better solution for improving household structure and functionality without sacrificing one’s life savings. Doing the math, my savings amounted to almost 77% had I installed a completely new gutter / eavestrough. Kudos to Jay!
 The issue:

We had an ongoing plumbing/technical infrastructure problem, originating from the faulty design, inferior materials and inaccessibility and compounded by extensive wear. Having only limited capital budgets and limited funding, we needed a solution that would provide us maximum value given resources we had at our disposal.

Our Experience:
Jay Charendoff gathered all of the relevant information and was able to come up with solutions we had not even thought about…he provided out-of-box alternatives that were specific and doable. He prioritized our plans, with most crucial items being specified along with the alternate options and then other lower level priorities being left to be done with remaining money.

The Results:
Jay provided us with optimum solutions that will provide us with the maximum bang for the limited dollars we have available to solve the lingering and most complicated problems. In due time the work will be fully executed as envisioned by Jay.

 This past winter, with the frigidly cold temperatures, my son’s bedroom above the garage was an icebox! We could see our breath in there. We also noticed that the paint on the interior walls was peeling. Unsure what the source of the problem was, and how to go about solving it, we called Jay Charendoff from House Calls. He responded immediately to our call with a house visit. Jay determined that our house was not properly insulated and that the attic space was not properly circulating or venting through the roof. He pointed out that we were lacking both soffit and roof vents and as a result, there was moisture buildup and condensation forming in the cold attic air which was likely affecting the finishes on the interior surfaces of our home.

Jay recommended that we have a proper energy audit done to determine the exact condition of these areas. He pointed out that we also would benefit with reduced heating and cooling energy bills if we addressed the issues properly, and gave us a few options on ways to improve thermal capacity that involves no interior demolition.

The completed energy audit confirmed Jay’s initial findings and gave us great confidence in dealing with a consultant such that we would not be “taken for a ride” by unscrupulous contractors. Jay followed up with a written report and a phone call. It is nice to know that we can rely on Jay and get a thorough, knowledgable, and hones assessment of the problem and a practical solution.

I’d like to think that our house problems are a thing of the past, but experience tells me this is likely not the case. I have a feeling we will be relying on Jay’s expertise going forward. We are grateful to know of someone that we can trust. 

We live in a beautiful, historic old home in the north end of Toronto. Our home was built around 1936 and just like every homeowner, we constantly maintain our level of exterior and interior maintenance to ensure that all systems are functioning properly. Early this Spring, we noticed that our basement walls and certain portions of the wood basement floor were suddenly very wet. Even worse, mould had developed on the moist surfaces of the painted concrete block. We called in three “wet basement” companies to take a look and give us their opinions and quotes. All said the same thing: we needed new waterproofing and new weeping tile. The cost to excavate the exterior adjacent to the foundation walls and supply and install new waterproofing and tile ranged from about $25,000 to $35,000. Apart from the extreme price, this approach would also have destroyed a large portion of this year’s flower-filled garden. In searching for a better solution, we contacted House Calls Renovation Advisors to assess the situation. Jay came by and after looking carefully at the basement and the exterior, came to the conclusion that there was a much less expensive and much less invasive approach that should be attempted before going to the extreme measure of excavation. Jay carefully considered the options, and then designed a surface drainage solution that accommodated all the storm and rainwater runoff in the area. His approach has been to examine and understand all the inter-related contributing factors, and then over a period of two months, properly deal with each one of them appropriately. This saved us from jumping into the one-shot waterproofing “fix” at a big price. His work has saved us literally thousands of dollars, as his approach has cost 80% less than the original quotes. As you know, this has been a summer of almost constant rain, with rainfall in record volumes across most of Southern Ontario. Despite the wet weather, with Jay’s help, our basement has gone from being very damp and mouldy all the time, to relatively dry most of the time. Occasionally on very hot and humid Summer days, we experience slight dampness, but we understand this is due to condensation, rather than water leakage. We are very happy to have had House Calls working with us on this problem and would highly recommend using Jay’s services when problems arise.
 My husband and I had been working very closely with our contractor on our home renovation that consisted of 90 year old home. Neither of us had even embarked on a project of this size and needed the advice of an outside source to evaluate our construction contract. This is where Jay was extremely helpful.

After submitting our construction contract to Jay, he analyzed every item on my contract that would be a concern or issue. He also pointed out other important issues that I should include in the contract such as revision of payment schedule and insurance coverage. His report was compiled within three days and was eight pages long! We were able to use the suggestions that Jay gave us and incorporate them into our contract. Overall, I believe that his advice made my contract stronger (from a client perspective) and reduced my risks. I think that my new contract also demonstrated to my contractor that I was an educated client that expected a high level of work and fairness. 

We had water penetration due to ice damming this winter, likely due to several contributing factors. I have had many professional opinions on solutions to this problem, but Jay approached it from ground-up and from a practical point of view. He knows his stuff!!! 
My wife and I had hired a contractor to draw up plans and give us quotes for demolitioning our garage and rebuilding a new garage. We also wanted to renovate the exterior of our house with new stone facing, siding and construction of a new covered front porch. After finding out about the HomeStars site we were quite discouraged when the reviews for our contractor were scored very low. This being the first time Pam & I have ever planned a major reno we knew we needed some professional guidance and advice to help us thru the process. We found the House Calls Renovation Advisors reviews in the HomeStars site to be very positive and called and spoke to Jay.
From the first time Pam and I spoke to Jay we knew it was the best thing we had done concerning the reno. We told Jay of our plans and he helped advising us with the best options. When the proposed contract was presented to us Jay was instrumental in helping us make sure we got the best deal and that our concerns with cost, time frame, product quality & payment schedule were all properly addressed. Jay was even able to help get us a six thousand dollar reduction in the final price.
If it wasn’t for Jay’s advice & knowledge I know we would not have been able to ensure that the contractor did not take advantage of our naivety with construction & renovation issues. 
My husband and I recently extensively renovated our home. This was our first renovation, and despite our best efforts, we feel we’ve been abused by our contractor. Throughout the process, I remember mentioning how great it would be if a “project consultant” existed to provide guidance and support: we were clueless and at the mercy of our contractor. Our reno was over 80% complete, however unexpected invoices for “extras” were flowing in, and a huge list of deficiencies was being ignored by our contractor who was also threatening us with inappropriate actions. Quite honestly, we were scared! Toward the end, we realized that we desperately needed help, as our project was out of control. We found Jay on the HomeStars site and called immediately. He explained the information we needed to gather to gain an objective analysis of the project. He clearly explained our rights as homeowners, and educated us on how an honest renovation should flow with respect to documentation, specifically contracts, invoices and permits. Jay has thoroughly guided and supported us through a very difficult situation, which is any homeowner’s nightmare. He has saved us money by collaboratively crafting documentation and correspondence that would cost thousands in the hands of a lawyer. Jay has provided a fair and objective perspective through in-home site visits and thorough analysis of all documentation. I recommend House Calls to anyone uncertain about the renovation process and costs.
I’ve been managing apartment buildings in Toronto for over 20 years but when I recently took over the management of a brand new apartment building, I thought that I was going to tear my hair out! Nothing worked the way it was supposed to and the contactors were being completely uncooperative. Jay was of invaluable assistance in getting the contractors to cooperate and in getting the building up and running the way it should. 
 I consulted with Jay about a problem we were having with our upstairs bathroom. We had just re-tiled one wall about four months earlier, however some new tiles were loose and others were falling off the wall, and we didn’t know why.

We had paid the contractor, and were unclear how to proceed. Jay suggested we remove the tiles and drywall. Upon a detailed inspection, we discovered that there was no insulation or vapour barrier on this outside wall. As a result, condensation was occurring in the cold space behind the drywall. We had a new contractor install the correct wall system and new tiles, and the problem has not recurred. This was an incredibly helpful conversation that saved us time, effort and aggravation! I plan to consult with Jay again should we run into any further problems with our house. 

We wanted to renovate our kitchen. We consulted Jay before we went ahead, because the house had some issues – uneven floors, some cracking masonary. We asked Jay to help us decide whether the house was structurally sound enough to invest in a new kitchen without having to do additional structural work. Jay pointed out a number of indicators that suggested that significant structural work would be needed in the next few years. Based on Jay’s advice, we sold the house to someone who was able to underpin and completely renovate it. When they dug out the basement, they found a “floating wall”. If we’d hung on to the place we’d have been faced with $50 K or more of foundation work. Instead, we found a new home, and last year finished renovating the kitchen. Instead of a financial disaster, we ended up with a great investment! Thanks Jay. 
 A number of years ago, I was building an Artist Studio for my wife. I hired an architect to draw up the plans, and a contractor to execute the drawings. However, as the project progressed, and as much as I trusted the contractor, I realized that I had no idea whether or not he was doing the job properly.

This was a major undertaking for us. Simply trusting that all would unfold as it should seemed liked a foolish way to approach an expensive enterprise. I quickly discovered that calling in my architect to assess the contractor’s work on a regular basis would escalate the costs of the project astronomically. So, how to proceed effectively without breaking the bank? As luck would have it, I met Jay Charendoff, a trained architect and project manager who offered his services at a fraction of the cost of my architect. Hiring Jay was the best move I could have made. After the contractor had finished his work daily, Jay would show up and assess the job and give me detailed notes on what needed to be changed, adjusted and\or improved. And each morning when the contractor arrived, I was able to intelligently discuss the work that was required. I quickly became “an expert” in the minutiae of construction. Now my wife has “The Best Built” Artist Studio in Toronto, thanks in large measure to Jay Charendoff. 

 

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