Penn Clarke

In November 2015 we purchased an old Victorian single family home in South Boston. Considering it was built in the 1890s this house was a complete overhaul from top to bottom. As part of this reno we also wanted to improve upon the outdoor space, including building a deck off the back of the house, creating easier access to the backyard and adding two roofdecks.

We looked at a couple of contractors, but we were advised by a few people in the industry to go with Mark Little and his team at Abacus because of their attention to detail and their passion for a project like ours. While we knew this was going to be a total renovation down to the studs, we loved the personality of the house and wanted to keep some the integrity of the original design. We didn’t want it to feel cookie cutter and/or just open it up and make it look like so many other places out there right now.When it came down to it, we knew we needed a contractor who understood our own vision, but could also provide additional suggestions and offer up ideas we hadn’t even thought of so we could make this the home of our dreams. After meeting with Mark for a walkthrough at our house, it was clear he and Abacus were the team for the job. From beginning to end, the folks at Abacus made this a positive and memorable experience.

Starting on day one they arrived on time and moved fast. We were shocked at how quickly they completed the demo and also how they would try and clean up at the end of each day – this was a common theme throughout the project. It’s a little thing, but really appreciated as we would stop in from time to time to check on progress. We liked that they were taking as much care with our home as we would if we were doing the work ourselves.

Throughout the process we had clear lines of communication with Mark Little and other key folks on-site (Gerald was a godsend!) which really helped as we had questions or they needed to prod us to get them answers. It was an open dialogue the whole time. And even more helpful is that they couldn’t have been more responsive when we would reach out via text, phone or email. That’s not to say there weren’t occasional hiccups from time to time (this is going to happen on any large scale project like this), but we always talked them through and figured out ways to correct them. The fact that we could promptly talk them through over the phone or in person was really important to us and Mark, as well.

Abacus also helped us stay on track by providing us a list of to-do’s with key dates when they needed answers or actual hardware/appliances in order for us to stay on track. We always tried to do our best to meet their deadlines, but even when we couldn’t they were understanding and kept other project aspects moving so as to stay on schedule.

The work itself was incredibly top notch and can be seen in the attention to the details (both big and small). The tile work, the floors, the custom fireplace, the trim, the decks and roofdeck, even our basement storage area. You name it, they clearly took the greatest care when working on our house. The carpenter on the project built a custom desktop made from pieces of leftover mahogany and it’s better than anything we could have purchased directly from a retailer or vendor. It’s honestly one of my favorite things about the house. That and the main staircase. As mentioned earlier, it was so important that we keep the character of the house intact and this started with heart of the house, the original staircase, including the handrail and large first floor banister. This was no easy task when you consider how old the house was (1890s) and that the staircase extended up three flights to the top floor and also needed to match a new handrail going down to a newly created living space in the basement. Abacus was not only up to the task, but they absolutely exceeded our expectations. It’s the first thing people see when they walk in the house and always comment on how gorgeous it is.

It truly is hard to put into words how thankful we are for the beautiful end product. Just the other day we had someone come in to put up wallpaper in one of the bedrooms and the person said they work on houses all over New England, including a lot of home renovations in South Boston, and she said that you could really tell that whoever worked on the house knew what they were doing and really cared about the project – “The people who worked on this house are true professionals” was her exact quote. And she couldn’t have been more spot on. Thank you Mark and the team at Abacus for giving us the house of our dreams!

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