Main Floor & Basement Renovation
DSBG did a main floor and basement reno for us in the Spring of 2016. Our house is 70 years old, so we had to deal with some left over asbestos, and lots of irregular angles, to change our dated Leaside semi into the modern space we wanted.
As with many of you, we struggled with the cost of getting the results we desired, and the sacrifices to the dream to fit what we could afford. Throughout the process, Nick & team provided clear, detailed information, and alternative suggestions where possible. Everything was handled in writing, and all changes were done through approved change orders.
More importantly for us, however, every single one of Nick’s direct employees is amazing to deal with. Everyone is professional, friendly and went out of their way to make the project go smoothly. We would definitely recommend DSBG to any of our friends (and have already done so!).
Rob & Liz from Leaside
Main Floor Renovation
My wife and I recently decided to undertake a renovation of the entire main floor of our home, along with the main bathroom on the second level. We live in an older Semi-detached home in the North Leaside area of Toronto, and we hoping to find a contractor that was familiar with the homes in the area, to try and keep any unforeseen conditions to a minimum.
We searched online and asked around, and our search led us to Design-Spec Building Group. We contacted them and met with Nick, the President of the company. I found the initial meeting with Nick to be productive and clear. We articulated our design requirements and landed on a high level scope of work for the project, and also identified order of magnitude numbers for the work. Nick also provided us with an overview of the process that his group follows; from initial design, detailed design, finishes and construction.
We were provided with a detailed agreement which identified all items that were in and out of scope for the project, along with an end date for the work based on the scope identified. We also identified cash allowances for all items that hadn’t been fully costed, so that there weren’t any surprises.
The team that was assigned to us was fantastic. We worked with a designer, Stephanie, who helped us with the design of the space, as well as all of our finishes. She also assisted as a coordinator with the site supervisors to ensure that the finished product reflected the design. The site supervisors, Kyle and Jake that were with us for the duration of the project were also both extremely knowledgeable and communicative. I was even impressed by the quality of the trades that worked on the project.
Overall, our experience with Design-Spec was an excellent one. Nick was extremely responsive throughout the project and always available for any questions. We couldn’t be happier with the work that has been done. We would definitely recommend Design-Spec to others, as we have already done.
Sean & Stephanie from Leaside
Second Floor Renovation
We recently completed a renovation of our second floor which consisted of two new baths, new flooring, new doors and pot lighting as well as installation of built-in cabinetry. The work extended into our main floor and basement since our home has an open foyer – we redid the staircase and removed wall paper throughout impacting all three levels of our home. So what seemingly started out as a cosmetic update actually turned out to be a fairly big project.
We had worked with our own interior designer on the bath and millwork designs and then selected Design Spec as our general contractor to bring the project to life. Nick and his entire team take their business very seriously and are focused on delivering a quality product in a timely manner and to long-term customer satisfaction. We liked their approach to project management – there was structure to the process and timelines to set expectations. We were also impressed with the manner in which they protected areas that were not being touched by the project. Before any of the serious work began, they spent a lot of time preparing the site which speaks to their level of respect for a customer’s home.
The entire team always demonstrated the utmost professionalism as well as pride in their employer. We especially liked having an on-site project lead (Adam) here every day to keep the project moving along, supervise trades people and very competently answer or escalate any of our questions. Between Adam, Nick and a number of other contacts, there was always someone available if we needed to talk.
We love our new space, would use Design Spec again and would highly recommend them to others.
Thanks Nick, Adam and the whole Design Spec team!
C & R from Toronto
The team at Design Spec worked on our basement renovation last summer. The final product was executed exactly according to our plans and they reviewed it with us thoroughly to ensure all details were considered. The workers who came daily were very courteous and hard working. They were considerate of our home and family and would answer any questions we had regarding the project. Whenever we needed anything, they were quick to offer help.
Nick was fast to respond to our questions and concerns throughout the project. He was always professional. We had some glitches that resulted in the project running longer then expected but Nick worked with us right to the end, ensuring we were satisfied with the final product.
We are happy with our basement and enjoying the new space for our family.
S & C from Etobicoke
Main Floor Renovation
DSBG came recommended to us by friends who used their services for a main floor renovation. When it came our time to consider builders, we included DSBG in a shortlist of 3 firms. After a thorough review of firms we felt comfortable DBSG would be able to manage our project well, our main areas of focus were timeline and quality. A project manager was identified in addition to a site supervisor, work started at a quick pace and kept on moving. The PM ensured materials and key decisions were made in order to maintain the schedule and the site supervisor managed all relationships with the trades and kept me apprised of any on site issues (and decisions) and provided detail into the work being planned in the upcoming week. I was completely astonished by the professionalism! No costs were charged to me without rigorous discussion and MY approval. I always felt there was a high calibre of knowledge and capability when dealing with issues, which inevitably come up when you open walls of an 80 year old house. Our family lived in the house during this time and we were all treated respectfully and with great care. Everyday before the end of the shift a clean up was done. I cannot say enough how incredible the team is, I essentially had to live with the team for 4 months and would have them in my house for another project again and again. I have recommended DSBG to my friends and look forward to working with them again.
D & M from Leaside
Addition & Whole Home Renovation
After deciding to undertake a whole home reno, we researched general contractors with design/build capabilities, starting with RenoMark contractors doing work in our area. We also added several non-RenoMark contractors, for a total of 6 contractors, including DSBG. Reviews of DSBG on HomeStars were almost unanimously positive, except for one negative review. After discussing scope of work and other matters in my first call with Nick Malfara of DSBG, I asked him about the negative HomeStars review. Nick was forthright, open and honest in his response, which bode well for the dealings which followed. With so many positive reviews and a reasonable explanation for one negative one, it was very easy to accept that the negative one was an aberration / exception.
At our first meeting / walk-through, Nick gave us honest advice, a realistic minimum budget for our scope of work and desired quality level, as well as a realistic timeframe for our project. He was prompt in his follow-up, including a detailed rough budget and written scope of work.
After interviewing 5 other general contractors, we shortlisted DSBG and 2 others and subsequently narrowed it down further to DSBG and 1 other (also a RenoMark contractor). In a follow-up meeting with Nick and DSBG’s project manager Tony, my wife remarked that she felt like she was with “family”. They gave us straight answers to all our questions and left us feeling comfortable and confident about the reno. Nick took us to several DSBG client sites / projects and gave us numerous past clients as references to contact. Based on everything we saw and all that we heard, DSBG was an easy choice. We selected them in August 2014 with the condition that they be ready to hit the ground running at the start of January 2015.
After working through the fall of 2014, all the design work was completed and permit approvals submitted for approval. Exactly as planned, DSBG started work on the first business day of January and worked diligently every single day until we re-occupied our house this past summer 2015.
Since we were renting a house, time was of the essence for us throughout the reno. DSBG had told us to expect a 7-month project and they did an amazing job in sticking substantially to that schedule, even with numerous scope additions.
Throughout the project, the entire DSBG crew and the trades they involved were true pros. The DSBG crew is focused on site safety and tidiness (which ultimately comes back to safety). The guys were respectful and courteous at all times when we visited the house (usually unannounced) and, most importantly, they did impeccable work. The finishing of items hidden behind the walls was done to the same high standard as items which are visible. Materials used were high quality and work was done to a higher standard than the minimum Building Code requirements. DSBG recommended (for our approval, as we went with a cost+management fee contract format over fixed price) reputable sub-trades for items that their own crew does not do. Project management was efficient and effective, with Tony really staying a few steps ahead of every issue. Site management for our project was done through a working supervisor (Bernie) who was an absolute professional and a real gentleman.
We have been back in our house for three months now and remain impressed by DSBG’s work. Shortly after we reoccupied, we developed a “punch list” of items (all minor) for DSBG to fix and they were diligent in chasing down each and every item on the list to our satisfaction.
In the end, I can say unequivocally that we made the right choice in selecting DSBG. We are delighted by the work they have done in turning our house into our dream home. We have and will continue to recommend DSBG to our friends and have every intention of working with them on any future projects.
B & S from Newmarket
Main Floor & Basement Renovation
It is always the little things that truly make a good experience a great one. We knew we were getting a high quality contractor when we decided to invite Design-Spec in to our home, we had done the research, however, Nick and team managed to still exceed our high expectations. An attention to detail, and a well organized, well coordinated gameplan, designed to adapt to the countless and often unexpected tasks and demands, ensured our experience was a successful one. Renovations are very disruptive, but what was most appreciated was the overall sensitivity to our family’s lifestyle and home experience that Nick’s team exhibited.
Chris and Tiziana from Woodbridge
Design Spec was professional and true to their word every step of the way. From the thoroughness of our contract, to the daily updates and the knowledge and friendliness of the team nothing was left to chance and their were no surprises. We are thrilled with the quality of work and would recommend them.
Marc & Julie from Leaside
It’s tremendously reassuring to see companies such as Design Spec Building Group that still believe and embrace the concepts of honesty, integrity and accountability when serving customers. And that by championing business ethics driven by a genuine moral compass is an inherent part of being a profitable and well respected business.
Kudos to you and your entire team at Design Spec Building Group for ‘ stepping up to the plate ‘ to help out those stricken by such unfortunate circumstances. Well done !!!
RE: Home Renovation
Dear Nick Malfara,
I have had the wonderful experience of hiring your company, Design-Spec Building Group as my contractor for home renovations.
Phase 1 (2nd floor) and Phase 2 (miscellaneous) projects were completed before deadline provided to me. The staff were organized, punctual and extremely professional. The comfort of going to work daily and not feeling the stress of having virtual strangers in my home was incredible.
I am proud referring you, Nick Malfara to friends and family who are inquring about the job well done.
You and your staff (Tony, Adam, Austin and Ryan) have been a pleasure and I am looking forward to my next future project.
Sincerely yours, Teresa from Maple
RE: Home Renovation
My wife and I interviewed 10 well-reviewed contractors for our first major home renovation. We had heard many horror stories about home renovations and we were determined to try and mitigate our risk though extensive due diligence. After interviewing the 10 candidates, we narrowed our choices down to 5 possibilities and then went and interviewed and visited their references. After going through that two month process, we ended up with Nick Malfara and his team at Design Spec and I am happy to report that we have found our contractor for life (absent Nick deciding to pursue another career!).
What immediately struck us about Nick was his level of professionalism, responsiveness and willingness to spend time with us and understand our needs and ideas about our living space. The level of customer service was exemplary – no problem was too small, no question was irrelevant, no time of day was off-limits, we always felt like our concerns were being properly addressed and prioritized.
Over the course of several months Nick gained our trust, admiration and friendship for his honesty, integrity and his commitment to our project and to us, not only as clients, but as people. Not only did Nick introduce us to other service providers (e.g. architects and interior designers) that provided us with terrific service at exceptional prices, but he and his team regularly went above and beyond to guide us through the process and make our experience a positive one. We changed our building specifications several times and Nick was always very helpful in answering questions, offering ideas and drawing in the appropriate members of his staff to do the same.
Our renovation experience did not have a typical ending. Just as major construction was ready to begin another house in our neighborhood came up for sale and my wife and I decided that we could not pass up the opportunity to put an offer in. We told Nick that we had to put a hold on our renovation and, if successful in our bid for the new home, we would have to abort the renovation as all of our cash would be tied up in the purchase. We were amazed and extremely appreciative of Nick’s understanding and supportive reaction. Not only was he not upset, he offered to come and walk through the new home with us on bid day (a Saturday!) and give us his thoughts on the structure and ballpark estimates on improvements that we might want to make down the road. His advice and thoughts were insightful and helped us better formulate our bid price on the house.
Ultimately, we won the bid on the new home. It was an exciting time for us, but we were concerned about what it would mean in relation to Design Spec. We had kept all of our payments up to date with all of our service providers but Design Spec had yet to issue an invoice. Nick and his team had put in months of time and effort and countless hours helping us – participating in meetings with architects, designers, electricians, plumbers, engineers, taking us to other Design Spec projects to look at examples of ideas and materials, pricing out a range of options for materials, heating and cooling systems and design features, talking me off a ledge when I was ready to spend $40,000 on new appliances in advance of having the kitchen design finalized etc. We assumed that there would be an invoice forthcoming and, quite honestly, we wanted to make sure that Nick and his team were fairly compensated for their efforts. On the night that we won the bid on the new home, we asked Nick to our home so that we could break the news to him in person. He was genuinely happy for us and, to our complete surprise, he refused to accept any payment for all of the services that he had provided to that point. He told us that he viewed the work that he had done to date as business development, that he was happy that he was able to help us and that he hoped that we would hire him when we decided to do the renovations on the new home. INCREDIBLE!
We were completely taken aback and deeply appreciative of Nick’s integrity and kindness.
We are planning to start renovations anew next summer and we know that we will only have to make one call to hire our contractor! Sincerely Hugo from Toronto
RE: Basement Renovation
We recently renovated our basement after contemplating the idea for a number of years. The idea of strangers coming into the home for an extended period of time to complete a big job like a basement made us nervous, but Nick Malfara’s team at Design Spec Building Group was a dream to work with throughout the project.
The team was professional, friendly, tidy, and meticulous, and we couldn’t be happier with the finished product. We recently had a family event with about 60 visitors in our home, all of whom raved about the basement. The millwork we had done in the basement bathroom and bar area looks fantastic. The rooms are bright and spacious. We are excited to be able to share this space with friends and family.
I don’t think we could imagine hiring anyone else for future projects. We highly recommend Design Spec to anyone renovating their home. Sincerely J from Maple
RE: Renovation x2
Dear Nick, and the Design‐Spec team,
We have settled into our home in the past few months and we admire on a daily basis the work that was completed by Design‐Spec. And we have had this pleasure, not just once, but twice, in a span of four years! Working closely with Christine McGee of Jaqueline Glass and Associates on the design, and with your team for the execution of the vision we had collaborated on was a pleasure. Both you and Christine have high standards, and the end results are beautiful, functional and inspirational.
Design Spec completed the large scope of both projects in very tight time frames which required the orchestration of trades, master craftsmen and speciality skills. In addition, we appreciated your willingness to listen to our list of “must‐haves” and making them happen. While the renovations did have some hiccups, as most of them do, we also liked your open lines of communication in the process. Tony’s quick response to concerns were also greatly appreciated, and his personal follow up and handling of situations was reassuring.
The site manager, was again outstanding. He kept us informed of issues as they developed throughout each day and continually kept us in the loop. We appreciate the fact that we were consulted prior to any modifications that had to be made on site. What looks straight forward on paper is rarely a reality in a renovation. The Site manager took the time to explain to us, often with the contractors present, what our options were when items could not proceed as planned in the drawings.
The end results were always satisfactory and enhanced our living space. It is a pleasure to work with him. All of the individuals brought on were professional and courteous. This was of particular importance to us as our very young and impressionable children often had to accompany us on site. As for the site itself, it was always neat and tidy. We now use the space in our house from top to bottom. It is difficult for us to decide which area we like best, as each floor is unique and utilized daily for specific purposes by each member of the family.
The final results are impressive. We feel as if the renovation is magazine worthy, and could not be happier.
Our experience with Design‐Spec from beginning to end was a pleasure. We have already recommended Design-Spec to family and friends. Sincerely P&Z,Oakville
RE: Hair Salon Build
Dear Nick & The Design-Spec Team,
Nearly a year has passed since we completed the building of our second location with Deisgn-Spec Building Group in Oakville and we are sorry for the delay in getting this to you so late. However, we did want to share with you our appreciation for the work you and your team of project managers, trades and employees did in building out our entirely new salon, especially Senior Project Manager, Tony.
Everyone was courteous and professional and addressed our numerous questions and the changes made by our interior designer. The quality of the finished product was exceptional, on time and on the established budget for the project. Design-Spec’s ability to liase with the mall developer and their requirements from our customers, both new and existing, about how well designed and built the space is and how it feels comfortable.
We would wholeheartedly recommend you and Design-Spec Building group Ltd. to any business owner requiring professional and well executed construction and project management. Yours Truly, R&L
RE: Basement Renovation
We would like to thank you and the Design-Spec team for all the hard work carried out in our basement renovation project. We are ecstatic with the workmanship, quality and the detail put in. We have received many positive comments from family and friends. We readily recommend Design-Spec to anyone requiring quality construction services.
Thank you all once again to you and your entire team. Brian H, Vaughan
We want to thank you and your team for the excellent project management of the construction of our new house. From our first meeting to the final inspection you and your team were always available for consultation and provided honest and well informed advice on selection of contractors, materials and resolution of the inevitable on -site issues. We appreciate your commitment to selecting good trades who do quality work at competitive prices. Issues with the trades were resolved quickly and we always felt your team was working for us to produce a high quality project. The site super’s daily on site supervision and Tony’s regular project inspections ensured the project was managed well. The overall project was completed on schedule and close to budget.
We are very pleased with the quality of the completed project and are happy to recommend you to others.
We hired Nick and the Design-Spec team for our complete home renovation 2 years ago. Our project was extensive and included a complete gut and re-design of the kitchen and 3 bathrooms, installing additional light fixtures throughout the house, upgrading the electrical service, new flooring, trim, casings and crown molding throughout, scraping the popcorn ceilings, replacing our two-sided gas fireplace and updating the surround, sanding and painting/staining the staircase, as well as moving several walls, closets and bulkheads.
Our timeline was tight, but Nick ensured a full team was on site every day, and was able to complete our project in just under 3 months. Both Nick, and our site supervisor, kept the lines of communication open, and presented us with options when any unexpected situation arose. Nick and Joey also worked closely with our Designer and her assistant, which helped keep the project moving with minimum delays.
Two years later, we are very happy with our home renovation and would readily recommend Nick and the Design-Spec team.
RE: Full house Reno
To whom it may concern,
Over the course of a few years Design-Spec Building Group has completed three large scale construction projects for us; a main floor and kitchen renovation, a basement renovation and a full backyard/landscaping and swimming pool construction project.
They consistently demonstrated a hands on and very detailed approach with every facet of each project including design, construction and full completion. The owner, Nick Malfara, was involved with each of the projects overseeing the scheduling, site staff and trade coordination.
Design-Spec Building Group has the ability to efficiently manage their team and get the job done promptly, on schedule and on budget. They exceeded our expectations while managing multitudes of suppliers, trades and employees. Design-Spec Building Group Ltd is a class act company with integrity and a dedication to high quality work and satisfying their customers.
We wholeheartedly recommend Design-Spec for any custom home or major renovation project. Sincerely, S&J
September 23, 2013
With all the day to day pressures, there never seems to be a moment to stop and reflect upon accomplishments. Having reached a major milestone with the completion of our new headquarters, I would like to pause for a moment.
You and I have worked closely together over the past 7 months and although you have probably gotten more than your fill of me, I have been able to see, in a myriad of ways, the exceptional effort that you and your people routinely do.
Design-Spec has taken and extremely difficult project and completed it in a thoroughly professional manner. You have taken a 100 year old neglected heritage building and turning it into a modern headquarters which will serve my company for many years to come. You understand my vision and always made decisions with our best interest in mind.
Understanding that it takes highly qualified personnel to maintain good relationships, Design-Spec has provided exceptional staff that stayed involved and accessible through the project. I need to center out both your Senior Project Manager, Tony Bugliarisi and your carpenter, Doug Burton who shown their ability to collaborate as team players and have been willing to be flexible. Design-Spec Building Group is a firm dicentra recommends doing business with.
Kind regards CEO, Toronto Pharmaceutical Company
To whom it may concern:
Design Spec Building Group was recommended to me by some tough customers and I could not have made a better choice. They have been professional, informed, thorough and most importantly, bring pride and integrity to every detail. Their trades were timely, efficient and personable. In all, I felt that my massive renovation was in the hands and minds of skilled craftsmen and suppliers of long standing and top quality. They have my eternal gratitude for shepherding my vision to the best possible version of my home.
We would like to express our sincere appreciation for the outstanding job that you and the entire Design-Spec team did on our recent renovation.
From yourself to Tony, Doug, Joey and Adam, we found everyone to be dedicated, detailed and committed to giving us the perfect renovation that we were looking for.
While renovating is never an easy process, we can honestly say without hesitation that our project was not only pain-free, but remarkably easy. This is how a renovation can be when you hire the right professionals for the job. If we could recommend you to every person looking for a high-quality, pain free renovation, we would. Your crews were always courteous and respectful and we felt their commitment is doing the best for our home.
Thank you to you and your whole team for the dedication and excellence which you showed in our project. You made our home everything that we had hoped for. It looks and feels fantastic.
Best wishes for 2013 and beyond!
Sincerely, R&D, Etobicoke
Dear Nick and the Design Spec Team,
It was our great pleasure to have worked with you and your team for our main floor renovation. Every aspect of the job was dealt with professionally, skillfully and as specified in the original proposal. Your crew was always on time, respectful (as we were living in our home during the renovation) and knowledgeable of all tasks at hand. Most notable was the cleanliness of the job site at the end of the day.
We were very satisfied with the whole process and the end result. All work was completed in a timely manner and to the highest standards. What a transformation! We would highly recommend Design Spec Group and we look forward to working with you again in the near future.
All our best, S&J, Maple
Dear Design Spec Building Group,
I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation for the efforts of your team to oversee our vision through to fruition. As any home owner can attest, living through an invasive renovation is always a challenge. The professionalism and experience of your contractors gave us the confidence to execute this project, including the underpinning our 85 year old Toronto home. The local craftsmen were amazing, truly paramount to respecting our homes heritage and our design.
Thank you for your patience with our endless design changes, we are thrilled with the final results.
Maryana, Avenue rd & Lawrence
Dear Mr. Malfara,
The decision to renovate our home came after much research and deliberation. We knew there would be surprises, particularly when building a second-story addition on an existing 88 year old bungalow. A trustworthy, working relationship with a general contractor is the foundation for a successful project. Clear and direct communication prevents misunderstandings and false expectations that can ultimately lead to a breakdown in any renovation project and can be financially disastrous. In these regards, we made the right choice hiring Design-Spec. Your experience, knowledge, and contracting skills formed the basis for our successful renovation.
Throughout our project, there were a multitude of subcontractors, change orders, payment schedules, and day-to-day decisions. We relied heavily on your judgment, direction, and sound advice. Communication was pivotal in getting it done right the first time. Keeping accurate and detailed transactions for every aspect was daunting. However, with the assistance and support of your office staff, this made our financial accounting efforts manageable. If at any time, we believed something was not accurate, there was an immediate review and quick resolution to the matter.
Before finalizing our contract, you provided us names and addresses of previous clients. Their praises for your work were in every contact we made. We trusted our instincts and clearly, we made the right choice. Our completed home is safe, functional, and beautiful. You never ignored what we wanted as clients, nor did you ignore what our home needed throughout each stage during the renovation. Our project has officially completed, yet you continue to respond to our general questions. Seeing our children’s happiness and having their seal of approval, strengthened our appreciation of Design-Spec Building Group’s standard of excellence, expertise, and professionalism. We would not hesitate to recommend you and your team to anyone.
Hi Nick! I love how the house looks now. I’m so happy that I finally have a new room. I like the accent wall, but now it’s covered with all my band posters and drawings. The kitchen island is one of my favorite places because its where the family gathers together. I’m so glad that we stayed in the same area. I never want to leave. It’s like a change, but in the same place. All the memories are still here, and there will be more to come.
( age 14)
Hi Nick! I just wanted to thank you for the amazing design you gave our new house. I love everything you did. Especially my green bedroom. I love it when me and my family all watch a movie on our TV above the fireplace. I feel that our strong family bond gets stronger and stronger every time I wake up. I want to thank you again for our lovely home. Everything you did really helps us in our new home. Its all here, thanks to you.
Attn: Nick Malfara
Please accept our apologies for taking so long to write you this well-deserved note of thanks. We wanted you to know that we absolutely love how our basement turned out. We have been enjoying the space immensely since it was finished. Our friends and family who have seen it have all been thoroughly impressed, particularly with the finishes and especially with the layout.
We owe a big “Thank you” to you and your crew. You and your guys were a pleasure to work with. Nick, we appreciated your thoroughness, your integrity, your patience, and how you kept us informed at every stage of the renovation, and that you kept it within budget and on time.
Your staff and all the different trades people that came to work on the project were all very professional, courteous, punctual, accommodating and neat.
We look forward to working with you again in the near future. If you ever need a referral, please don’t hesitate to use our name
We know we made the right decision choosing Design-Spec – the final result is a space we are very proud of – done to code, that shows great workmanship and that we will enjoy for a lifetime.
Thank you, L& J
Nick’s attention to detail,…
“In an industry not known for its integrity Nick Malfara is a straight-shooter who delivers quality work. My husband and I hired Nick this summer to open up our main floor to add light, improve the flow of the space and update the finishing details. We had a limited budget and a very tight timeline with which to get the job done. Nick and his team were amazing from start to finish. Nick took a ton of time upfront to think through all the potential challenges we could run into when we opened up our 100 year old walls.
He allayed my fears and anticipated the site conditions that would add costs to the project later on so that we could budget for them. He brought in a full team of qualified workmen so that he was able to complete the bulk of our project in only 3 weeks. He kept his promise to be in and out quickly despite delays due to the City strike. And even with the incredibly short timelines, Nick’s team never sacrificed quality. When the trim took three days instead of the expected one and required much trimming and piecing together of small pieces there were a few expletives (when the kids were not around) but each piece was put in place level, well fit with the last and flat against our incredibly not flat walls. We have already recommended Nick to a bunch of neighbors and friends and we are planning to hire him for our kitchen and bathroom soon.”
Katie, Bloor West
Design Spec Building Group Ltd. provided general contracting services to us in January 2009. We spent approximately 6 months working closely together building our dream home. Nick Malfara – General Contractor for this project provided us the level of professionalism, project management and experience required to transform our 25+ year old home into a modern show piece that is both functional and comfortable for our growing family. This project had a number of moving parts that required the organizational skills and tenacity of an excellent project manager. We were thoroughly impressed with Nick’s planning and communication skills. It is difficult to find contractors with the right project management and client relationship skills. Nick was the perfect combination of both. He provided detailed plans, communicated them effectively with us and did a fantastic job executing.
The level of service Design Spec provided us was outstanding. We were very pleased to have Nick and his team manage our home renovation and would recommend Design Spec to others interested in building their dream homes.
Thank you to Nick and his team for their commitment to excellence in home renovation and customer satisfaction. P&L, Woodbridge
July 29, 2009
We recently completed the renovation of our 1860’s heritage home in which Design-Spec served as our general contractor. The project necessitated the updating of all mechanicals and addition of insulation without losing the heritage integrity of the house.
Nick did a great job of meeting the unexpected challenges along the way associated with structural issues and in the sourcing of the many trades required in replicating the original heritage elements including custom etched glass doors, re-pointing the fireplace bricks, restoring the original double hung windows and laying wide plank pine floors. The quality of the workmanship in re-creating heritage trim details, including creating custom wainscoting,fireplace mantels and built-in window seats by Design-Spec’s lead carpenter and his team was outstanding. We also found that Design-Spec kept the worksite scrupulously clean and well organized at all times and the team responsive and engaging throughout the project.
We would recommend Design-Spec Building Group to anyonr contemplating a major renovatin for whom quality is of paramount importance.
Thank you for a job well-done Nick and all the best in your future projects!
Catharine & Kevin
January 19, 2009
Attention: Nick Malfara
Re: Recently completed renovations
We recently completed some home renovations. As anyone who has embarked on that journey can tell you, there are many bumps along the way. Design-Spec Building Group did an outstanding job for us. At a busy time of year and with a quick deadline they worked tirelessly to complete the job. In custom work we expect a high standard of workmanship but in the case of Design-Spec the outcome was craftsmanship. Nick Malfara sets a high bar for the people who work with him. He expects excellence and they achieve it. A core value which he has instilled in all of his team is courtesy and respect for the client. Every effort was made on a daily basis to leave the worksite clean and tidy.
We can’t praise them enough and we are so delighted that we are scheduling further renovations with them.
Attention: Nick Malfara, President
Re: A Construction Project Well Done
As you know Esther has always wanted a bigger and better kitchen. The journey became serious when we applied for a building permit in August 2006, having hired our own architect and structural engineer. In early 2007, we made our first contact with you. On July 6, 2007 the excavation started.
To your credit Nick, you early spotted an engineering mistake, had we continued with our original drawings, the whole project would have been a disaster. You persisted and a new engineer was hired and then back to the Building Department. The new specifications were approved and the project was saved, thanks again Nick.
We experienced a flow of different trades, they were all excellent. The bricklayers did a great job in coming very close to the original 1931 appearance, their work is virtually seamless. You wisely preserved old bricks from the house and selected the required new ones. The roofers, too, blended well the new with the old.
During this time we worked closely with Nick, a co-owner of City Kitchens Inc. of Concord. He was incredible and amazingly patient with us, first time buyers. The end result is that we have very elegant cabinets, properly arranged, that resemble fine furniture and that function well. In fact, he changed the kitchen layout for far better flow, over the original design drawings.
Some will remember, that because of the sub-prime mortgage fiasco in the USA, the financial markets this summer went through tremendous volatility, on our closing day, the markets in Toronto and New York, the Canadian dollar vs. the US dollar, oil and gold all reach nearly historic highs. Yes we had our own ups and downs, but the project ended on a high, high quality, our expectations met and exceeded. Simply put, we would recommend you Nick to others, you are honourable, have a good sense of humour, understand common sense and you make sure the job is done well. Thanks.
Esther & Bruce
To Whom It May Concern:
My husband and I have just come through the renovation of 2 bathrooms in our condo.
Our designer recommended Design-Spec Building Group to carry out his innovative ideas. Because we live in a condo, space and storage are primary concerns. He has demonstrated extraordinary imagination in his designs, which included non-traditional use of storage systems and materials. I’m please to say that Design-Spec rose to every challenge during construction.
Nick and Carlos were delightful to deal with, as was every single tradesperson brought in our home. They were extremely considerate of our unusual lifestyle and schedule and made every effort to accommodate our needs. The job was on time and on budget, two things which are extremely important to us. Based on our experience, I would heartily recommend Design-Spec Building Group for any renovation or construction project.
Yours truly, Rob&Erin, Toronto
October 30, 2006
We are writing today to convey our deepest thanks! The workmanship and quality that you and the rest of your team have demonstrated was beyond our expectations.
Since November 2005 when your organization was first engaged to provide services to uplift my company office, it has nothing but outstanding. The office to this day looks great.
The next challenge was upgrading our basement after the flood of August 2005. Again, the same quality and workmanship, our new basement transformed into additional living and storage space that makes sense. Thanks for resolving the original design flaw issues of the previous owner’s.
Then in February 2006 it was discovered that our whole upstairs carpet was infested with dust mites. Again, the result of the previous owner’s pet. Little did we know that having carpets cleaned regularly was barely making a dent in the problem. Within two weeks, you and your team were able to start and complete the upgrade to hardwood floors in 7 days. When we came back from our week vacation, it was like walking into a new home. The hardwood floors and trim details were fabulous. Everything was in order when we came back. I am so glad we could trust your company while we were away. Our children thank you as many of their breathing related problems have magically disappeared!
Finally, the latest project, the kitchen upgrade, with months of planning we were able to find the appropriate design and accessories that we wanted. Everything from the cushion closing cupboards and draws, to the potlights, build in credenza, and all the other minor details that make the kitchen our dream kitchen. What a beautiful sight it is walking up to every morning! Anna and I would like to thank your organization for its professionalism, workmanship, and superior quality. We look forward to the next project, knowing that based on past successes, we will have nothing but the best!
Thanks! Jospeh & Anna, Thornhill