We started the ranch remodel following the passing of hubs’ parents. It started with just a few things we wanted to fix, mainly a new farmhouse sink in the kitchen, repairing the back porch columns, fresh paint and new carpet. I met with John Winsborough of Winsborough Construction in May, 2016.
This was after calling the original home builder. As it turns out, the ranch home builder had retired, and wasn’t taking new work. Hubs and I were initially bummed out because we thought “who knows this house better than the original home builder”. Along with that thought, we kept thinking, maybe the original builder could somehow explain some of the idiosyncrasies about the house, and perhaps maybe answer “why” to some our our questions. The original builder, while not able to help us, was able to offer us a referral to someone. That’s when we were introduced to John. I instantly knew that I connected with him and his ideas. From video taping his conversations so that I wouldn’t forget what he said when I had to explain it all to hubs to taking feverish notes on my Iphone so I could remember questions, I was a nervous wreck thinking about the work to be done.
Initially, John turned our project down, thinking he might not be able to commit to our timeline. He actually suggested someone else handle the job, and gave me that person’s number and told me that he couldn’t take on another project. Being from the big city, I was thinking that this Hill Country work was never going to get done. I had heard of Island time, but never Hill Country time. I literally had no more wind in my sails because I thought “how can I meet with someone else and explain the work again?” I made the calls, and did due diligence to call the other companies, but man, I was totally stuck on John. In the weeks that followed, I spoke to John again. He told me his reservations about taking the job, but that something had come through in the schedule, and that he could fit US in. YAY ME! Now was the hardest part ever. The bidding of the job, and talking money. UGH.
During the bid process, I called John’s references. OH WOW. I was surprisingly shocked on everything people said. They were all happy with the work, the job, with John. They all handed out positive reviews like candy. It was the deal maker. As soon as the bid came through and hubs and I discussed it, and agreed, it was done.
Work on the ranch house started in July, 2016. 16 weeks and counting.
John Winsborough and his team committed to the job, working the project into their schedule, and ensuring that we would be nearing completion by our Thanksgiving deadline. We ended up doing much more. It never fails, one thing leads to another. The ranch house was built by hub’s parents, and they incorporated handicap amenities as they wanted to plan for the future. They also had done a few things that fit their personalities. As with anything, as technology advances, and with new and incoming styles, we changed a lot. One of the biggest things was converting the garage into a game room. Other changes included all new energy efficient windows with screens and doors throughout, new energy efficient AC units, painting exterior and interior, converting much of the kitchen, moving from electric to gas appliances and adding a tank less water heater. We changed out the entire master bathroom, after discovering mold. We added a pool, hot tub, and outdoor kitchen. We updated tile flooring, and sub-flooring. There was new carpet. We ended up changing many of the builder grade lighting and plumbing fixtures, adding electrical plugs, ceiling fans and moving door ways. We utilized treasures from our travels to New Orleans, Spain, and Italy. (Remind me to tell you about Paul Raley, a subcontractor and DREAM. His handling of the various treasures, and his enthusiasm to use his VERY skilled hands and attention to craftmanship to incorporate the items.) It was such a learning lesson for me.
During the 16 week timeline, hubby and I still had our regular family lives. Hubs with work, and dealing with his parent’s estate matters. Me with our kids schedules, football, basketball, homecoming, birthdays. I had surgery during the time, and traveled back and forth to California. I had pre-op surgery appointments, and then post-op extended healing for almost ten days in California. We had a few vacations in there, a graduation trip of our cousin, which was supposed to be a trip that included hub’s mom (insert sad face), and an amazing trip to the Exumas and Bahamas that helped heal all the difficulties that we had just been dealt. We even endured another death during that time, hub’s Grandma. It was an incredibly insane time.
I can see why John had his doubts with me handling selections from Houston timely. With doing selections from Houston, with the ranch property in Marble Falls, a five hour distance, and trying to save dollars by handling some purchasing ourselves back in our neck of the woods, rather than from smaller town vendors, he thought we were bound to miss deadlines. But alas! Winsborough hadn’t dealt with onefrb. He had no idea what was headed his way. There was about to be a schooling on my tenacity, and grit.
John met with me countless times when I was travelling back and forth, making day trips to the ranch to bring materials from Houston. I would leave Houston at 4am, to miss Houston and Austin traffic. I would arrive to Marble Falls by 8:30am, with my first meetings scheduled by 9am. I can’t even begin to tell you, from bringing carpet and tile samples, to unloading pallets of tile by hand, I would drive Hubby’s huge dually, with a trailer, John would shake his head at my wherwithall. I brought countless packets of research material with me, countless paint samples, countless fabrics, and ideas, and various catalogs. There were times that I would have my meetings, one meeting at 9am, one meeting at noon, one meeting at 3pm, and then turn right around at 6pm, and head home, walking back in the door by 10pm. There were times that I would sleep in the demo’d house on an air mattress and stay overnight. There was one time that I was sick, and ended up staying at a motel in town, spending about $25 in over the counter pharmacy medicines to make it better for meetings the next day.
We emailed and texted photos. John Winsborough always answered and took every call, answered every email and text. There were so many verification calls, texts, emails. All the while, we would talk about our boys’ football schedules, the upcoming Friday Varsity game, and who we played. We talked families, we talked about his plans to build his house. All the while, John kept me calm. That was a job in and of itself.
There were numerous explanations, detailed explanations so that I understood the steps to each process. There was the tightest of deadlines that we reviewed every couple of weeks to check and make sure we were exactly where we needed to be. There were times that I didn’t think that we would get to the next timeline event because we were discovering other things that needed attention, and adding more work to the already difficult workload.
Work was always seamless. I am sure I didn’t know John’s headaches during any of this. I’m sure he had moments that I never, ever would have known about. We discussed a few times when there was heartburn over some item or issue. But we never stopped, and never were detoured.
I can never thank John Winsborough enough for managing, directing, ordering, and basically taking care of hubs and I during the process. While we pushed every day to get this house ready for Thanksgiving and never telling John the significance of the holiday until the day before, John stayed the course, and kept on track. When we finally told him why Thanksgiving was so important, and I saw his expression, and how much it meant to him too to have us celebrate the holiday in the house, let me just say, John Winsborough, you and your crew are more than contractors to us, you, John, are family. Thanks to you and Winsborough Construction. You will never understand how you impacted our past, present and future.
As I look back through photos of the project, I decided I would divide up parts and share the process. For now, here are a couple of my favorites.