Finding the right builder

5 Dec

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It is said that getting married, moving house and starting a new job are some of the most stressful phases of life. Some people would add doing renovations as number 4 on their list. Given our previous experiences, I would probably agree.

In our previous house, we extended our lounge by claiming the patio space. It was stressful. Mostly because I gave birth to my second child while they were finishing later than expected and Phillip was frantically cleaning the house so that my newborn son would not die of fine-dust-overdose.

In our new house, we moved our kitchen to the central area of our house. I don’t even want to talk about that experience. While I wasn’t giving birth to any child at the time, I certainly wished I could have. Sadly the builder was a bit of a nightmare. Besides being disorganised, he had no idea of the concept of budgeting, and we ended that project with the builder owing us money. The work was of a good enough quality in spite of little mess-ups, but I felt more like a counsellor to the builder whose life was as messy as my son’s cupboard and needed a debrief when it was all over!

Needless to say that when I told Phillip that we should do the renovations we had been talking about for a couple of years, he looked at me strangely. And after persuading him that it was the right time, after many many many hours (on his side) spent on the excel spreadsheet budgeting to a T, we decided that this would be my project to manage. Yikes!!! It would be a steep curve for me as Phillip is the one usually taking charge. 

My first step was to find the right builder, and that would not be from the yellow pages – like the previous one. A reference from friends, in my opinion, is the way to go. My friend Renette had just redone her kitchen and was really happy with her builder, who happened to be in her Bible study group: a friend reference AND a Christian? That’s a good start. Jeremy came to give us a quote and his prices were more than reasonable.

Now without boring everyone to death with details of what, when and where, for the next four weeks our house was transformed into, well, a building site.

Léa’s bedroom, before and after: The wall where the door is, in the first picture, has been moved by about 1 meter, claiming the space of the passage that ran behind. It made the bedroom more spacious. The floors were redone and there are still shelves yet to be done on the small orange piece of wall.

photo 1

The boys’ bedroom, before and after: The little piece of wall on the right hand side next to the door was removed. The door was moved by a meter to the left, again claiming the space of the passage running behind. The second window that is now part of the boys’ room used to be part of the entrance. My highlight is that my boys can now have single beds, as opposed to bunk beds. They can make their own bed and have taken complete ownership of what their bedroom looks like. It’s the tidiest they have ever been. For some reasons, it also meant that Killian, who was always freaked out at the idea of going to his room on his own, is somehow not scared anymore. Big big step for him! He can now relax on his bed, reading his books ON HIS OWN!!!


photo 3

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Bathroom, before and after: this was difficult as this bathroom is tiny. We wanted to get rid of the bath and install a shower so that the kids can use this bathroom instead of ours (messing our bedroom up, having pillow fights while waiting for their turn). Countless measurements later, we could only just fit toilet-basin-shower all in a row. Plumbing was a bit tricky but that was the builder’s problem! Pfew!


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Those are only pictures of the finished work and yes it goes without saying that we are absolutely thrilled with the results. The job has been done beautifully and I would choose Jeremy over any other builders without hesitation. These are some of the other reasons why I would completely and utterly recommend Jeremy Louw (because being a friend of a friend and a Christian doesn’t make you a good builder!):

* Jeremy is extremely well organised. When he said “Monday this happens”, lo and behold, it happened. He knew in advance what part of the job had to be done and it was planned and executed on time.

* The first part of the job was carried out by Jeremy’s foreman. A man named Tony, taking pride in his work, with 30 years of experience behind him, very friendly and considerate, speaking kindly to his 2 workers. One of the workers, Lange, had the most amusing laugh, a bit like a cartoon character. I loved hearing him joke around and laugh with the other worker. (The point here is that because the workers are well treated, they are happy workers!). One day, Tony and the 2 guys had to stay much later because Phillip and I changed our mind on something. They stayed until they finish their work properly, still chatting to us with a smile on their lips.

* The same workers came for the whole length of the project. That might sound insignificant but it meant that the workers were trustworthy and I could leave my house while they were still working and not fear that things would go missing. It also meant that the workers are skilled workers, they know what they’re doing and they’re doing it well. 

* Even though Jeremy was dealing with other projects at the same time, he still came around several times a day to make sure that everything was going according to plan, bringing and removing stuff as needed, even checking that I was not going bananas with noise, dust and disruptions while trying to school my kids. It does install an atmosphere of confidence that I don’t have to worry about the work because Jeremy is in charge.

So, good price, excellent service, reliable timing and great quality of work… If you’re looking for a builder, feel free to contact Jeremy Louw at

And just for a disclaimer, I don’t get any discount for bragging about Jeremy unashamedly 🙂



2 Responses to “Finding the right builder”

  1. craigandkerry December 11, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    So, so, so cool! Thanks for finally putting the pics up. Can’t wait to see it in real life. 🙂 it’s just so “you guys” 🙂 Looks great. The boys look like they have so much more space.

  2. renettepickering December 5, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    I’m so very glad that this went so well, being the one who recommended Jeremy. But, then again, I knew it would, because Jeremy is an awesome human being. He is by nature organised, reasonable and considerate. Your home looks beautiful!!

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