CONTRACTOR OF THE MONTH
Wood Whims sees remodeling trends on the rise
Wood Whims (www.woodwhims.com) has been making custom cabinetry in Fountain Hills for 29 years. In that time, owner Mike Archambault has seen every trend imaginable in kitchens, baths, dens and entertainment center cabinetry.
“The current trend is ‘feel good’ remodeling that does not disrupt people’s lives,” Archambault says. “The most popular room in the home to remodel is the bathroom, because most homes have another bathroom to use while the project is underway.” This trend combines luxury and relaxation; clients can create the resort spa feel in their own home.
Kitchens are more challenging. “The key to a kitchen remodel is to find out if the owners like their current layout. If so, we can reface a kitchen in about a week. If they want to change the layout, we build new cabinetry and bring in electricians, plumbers and new countertops as well.”
Refacing is the method of choice for many clients. In refacing, Wood Whims applies new wood veneer over existing cabinet ends and faces, and replaces and refinishes doors and drawer fronts in the shop. The only work done in the home is on the cabinet boxes. Countertops and flooring are usually untouched, so the homeowner has little construction to contend with. Wood Whims always replaces the door hardware, because hinges begin to fail after 15 years or so.
“Cabinet styles really dates a house,” says Archambault. “Most people we see have cabinetry from the late-1980’s to mid-1990’s. Today, people want timeless finishes: a weathered or antique look goes with other antiques in their homes and conveys a sense of fine quality.”
“The best option for any homeowner is the one that meets their needs,” says Archambault. “We are good listeners. That’s how we maintain a high customer satisfaction rating.”
In January, Wood Whims founded the Homeowners Remodeling Group, which includes selected licensed subcontractors who can guide homeowners wanting to manage their own remodeling projects.
“A homeowner who devotes time to the project can save from 20 to 30 percent by being her own general contractor. We give the homeowner a ‘Roadmap to Remodeling Success,’ which lists all the elements of a remodeling project, and suggests sources for materials and licensed subcontractors.”
Archambault also serves on the Fountain Hills Town Council. First elected in 2002, he is running for re-election in 2010.
The Fountain Hills Association of Licensed Contractors is a not-for-profit trade association promoting better contracting practices.
Association officers are: Roger Rambo of Rambo & Son Landscaping, Pool Service and Repair, president; Joe Ciotta of Joe Ciotta Plumbing, vice president; Al Donaldson of Double D Construction, immediate past president; Alice Blackerby of Fountain Hills Design Center, secretary-treasurer.