“When we first started our renovation in the spring of 2017 we weren’t looking to create our dream house. We were trying to solve a daunting set of problems: allowing an elderly parent to age in place safely, moving into the crazy Boston real estate market, and leaving a home that we had grown to love (and had moved into only 2 years earlier). There were so many ways this project could have gone wrong, and instead, pretty much everything went right, thanks entirely to Charles Kraus and his team.
From the earliest discussions of ideas, requirements, budget, and timeline, Charles was completely honest, upfront, and practical. He never over-promised or fudged the details. He listened to what we were describing, and understood what we were attempting to do, possibly better than we did. He was incredibly easy to work with and attentive to every detail. Just as important, he brought a great sense of humor to the whole experience– very key when undertaking a project that involves a mother-in-law! We were impressed and amazed by his commitment to our project’s timeline. Within a few weeks of our first meeting we had a design that met all of our needs while still conforming to Wellesley’s myriad of building requirements, no mean feat. Charles was able to recreate much of what we had loved about our previous home, based only on looking at photos and our descriptions. And even once the design was finalized, Charles put up with our occasional (or possibly more frequent!) realizations that we wanted or needed to make a change to the plans. He would calmly evaluate the idea, present several possible solutions, and provide detailed and accurate pros/cons and schedule/budget impact of each. Probably even more important, when we suggested ideas that were not very good, he gently steered us away from making a mistake we’d regret later. We were able to trust him absolutely.
In addition to architecture/design services, Charles also managed the construction phase of the project, and he knocked it out of the park here as well. There was no gap between what was on paper in the design or timeline, and how or when it was implemented in construction. Once construction started, he was very personally involved – half the time we would stop by to see how things were going, he’d be there checking in himself, even when it was pouring rain or below zero outside. There was no detail too big or small for him to be willing to discuss. He always had time to answer questions, try out new ideas, and follow up if something seemed amiss. His expertise in all aspects of the engineering and systems was impressive, and he worked exceptionally closely with all of the subcontractors. If anything was less than perfect, he personally would take the initiative to have it fixed or redone. All of the subcontractors he hired – plumbing, flooring, electrical, carpentry, HVAC, painting, landscaping, solar- did an amazing job (especially thank you Bob, Bob, and Shane!). Justin, the project manager, was equally awesome.
The whole experience felt seamless and smooth, which are not words that are generally used to describe a major building project! The scope of the project- a gut renovation plus addition that took nearly 11 months- was kind of terrifying to us, as we’d done numerous much smaller projects in previous homes, most of which were not experiences we’d ever want to repeat. Working with Charles was an absolute pleasure throughout the entirety of the project. On the couple of occasions when things did not go according to plan, eg, an estimate came in substantially over what had been expected, he handled things with calm professionalism and integrity. We can’t say enough good things about Charles and his team, and would wholeheartedly recommend him for any project.
It’s been about 6 months since we moved in, and looking back at where we were this time last year we almost can’t believe it. The house is bright, cheerful, modern yet classic and fits into the neighborhood like it had always been there. Our kids love all the kid-friendly features we were able to incorporate. We’ve had people stop by and say that they love the house and especially that its cheerful color makes them smile. We’re so happy that this house turned out to be our dream home after all!”
We hired Charles to be the architect and ultimately the builder for our home renovation, which included moving walls, new kitchen, new bathroom, gutting existing bathrooms, etc., and he and his team were spectacular! We know quite a few people that have done renovations, large and small, and we are the only ones that can say we actually enjoyed the experience. Charles was very transparent, responsive, attentive to detail, and had great suggestions whenever we needed his input. When the inevitable hiccups came up along the way (mostly things outside of his control), he was quick to keep us updated and provide suggestions on how best to move forward. His estimates were spot on, he and Bob kept our place clean while they were working, and even though we dragged our feet on some of the design decisions, our project was completed on time and on budget. All in all, we’re very pleased with the result and would hire Charles again in a heartbeat.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you. We can not say it enough. Thank you for bringing our dream home to life. Thank you for your professionalism, your perfectionism, for understanding our vision, for listening, for advising, for being our counselor and friend during this entire period. We feel incredibly lucky to have chosen you for this project and would do it again in a heartbeat. It has been truly memorable.”
“Charles Kraus and his team did an amazing job of turning our dreams into reality! They performed the design build of a whole house gut remodel that required structural repair, new mechanical, new floors/walls/roof/kitchen/3 baths and more. Everything about the process was professional and the final product is superb. If we could give a grade higher than A, we would.”
“Kraus Associates functioned as the architect, general contractor, and construction manager for the total renovation of a large bathroom/laundry area. We required a barrier-free design that can accommodate wheelchair access and a shower that does not have a high threshold.
Charles Kraus was a pleasure to work with on all levels. We often liked his design and detail choices, but when we provided feedback or requested alternatives, he never argued or reacted defensively. In those instances, he worked with us to modify the designs and find solutions and products that met our needs.
As the general contractor and construction manager, Kraus Associates also did a fantastic job. Charles has detailed knowledge of all the construction trades and is directly involved in the planning of each step along the way. He gained our complete trust that everything would be done correctly. He also provided detailed budget tracking and schedules during the project.
The final result was a beautiful space that we enjoy going into and using.”
”Charles and his team designed and built a third-floor addition for us, and from start to finish he was a pleasure to work with. Charles always listened to what we thought before offering his own opinion, and during the build-out he was on-site regularly, and always easily reached, so we always knew where everything stood. His entire crew were great, they were true craftsmen who were as efficient as they were meticulous. I would highly recommend Charles and his team!”
”Charles Kraus shatters the negative stereotype of the unresponsive contractor. His work is of the highest standard and he was always available to discuss issues as they came up in a prompt and professional manner. While I am sure we ran somewhat over budget, Charles worked hard to negotiate with subcontractors to keep costs in line. I cannot recommend Kraus Associates highly enough.”
“If asked by a potential client, I would not be able to say enough positive things (meaning there are too many to list, not that I couldn’t think of any!) about your incredible level of professionalism, integrity, and ability to communicate with us as clients. We were always really impressed by how professionally you handled even the most difficult of situations and conversations. While we had really only done small projects in the past prior to this so don’t have a lot to compare it to, the way you run your business and deal with us as clients is really head and shoulders above other business owners we’ve hired. We always felt like you were completely upfront and honest with us which we really appreciated, not to mention organized and diligent which always made us feel confident that you knew what you were doing. Maybe our bar for general contractors is just kind of low, but we never felt like you tried to mislead us or bait-and-switch or any of the other slimy things that one might associate with builders : ) In other words, we trust you and I would be very comfortable telling prospective clients that I think they should be able to also.”
“Chuck Kraus is excellent. He has done a commercial and a residential project for me, and I am in the process of using his services yet again, for another project. I continue to go to Chuck because he is professional, practical and very accommodating. He is highly responsive to clients, builders, suppliers and subcontractors. He has a broad knowledge of his field and makes appropriate suggestions to ensure a smooth, efficient product with a lasting value. His allegiance is to the homeowner/business owner, first and always. I would highly recommend him for your project.”
“Highly Recommend. In our experience, Charles has an approach that I believe people will find very rare and refreshing these days. As an example, even before a formal arrangement was defined, he made multiple site visits to give us his friendly professional opinion about a property we ultimately purchased. He was extremely accommodating and friendly throughout the entire process. Not only is he extremely knowledgeable about both the architectural and contractual aspects of the business, he seems to have a great natural sense for what the client is looking to do, with the ability to easily drill into surrounding alternatives that might make the most sense for the lifestyle in question. Whether it’s layout design or material selection for example, he’s got an opinion, and has the right approach in sharing it. He is punctual, professional, and was a pleasure to deal with throughout. Even when completed, he is type to always be available for questions and help you work through resolutions, whatever the issue might be. I would strongly recommend him and his firm to anyone looking for architectural design or construction services.”
“I have worked with quite a few architects over the years and Mr. Kraus was extremely accommodating. He is concerned with your ideas and wants not HIS ideas about what you should do. He stayed within budget, made fantastic recommendations for designs and use and was available for all kinds of questions about resources and materials. This was my second time employing Mr. Kraus (Charles) and I have recommended him to many people. My builder, who has worked with many architects, said he was the easiest architect he ever worked with and has done a few jobs with him since. If you are looking for someone to work with you and for you for your needs, Charles is the guy!”
“The best decision I ever made! Complete professional service from the moment Charles showed up at my door he was willing to do whatever was asked of him to make us happy and ours was a troublesome project from the start but Charles was patient and understanding and kept helping work things out until we finally had what we wanted-and he did it all for a fair price. Charles is very down to earth and friendly and easy to talk to. Some other architects I interviewed were very uppity and didn’t communicate well with my wife and I. Charles was just the opposite and we feel that we couldn’t have done better and would recommend Charles to anyone looking for an honest,reputable architect for their project.”
“The reason we decided to move forward with Charles was his ability to listen and provide insight. He took the time to ask questions, challenged us to think, really think of what we wanted and our overall goal. Once that occurred, Charles was able to provide a whole host of ways of meeting our objectives, while keeping an eye on the budget and time line. We would be very happy to speak with others and explain in greater detail our very positive experience with Kraus Architects.”
“My wife and I were very satisfied with the Architectural Services provided by Charles Kraus. He always listened to us carefully, and then put our thoughts very effectively on paper. He never pushed his ideas or opinions on us unless he sensed that we wanted or needed help. We were difficult clients in that we kept changing concepts; yet Charles was patient and let the process take its course. He never rushed us or made us feel as though we were taking up too much of of his time. His delivery was timely, his attitude professional, and we are very pleased with the quality and comprehensiveness of his final product. We would recommend him highly to anyone looking for architectural services.”
“Charles is an outstanding architect and person. It has been a pleasure working with him to date. Charles has been patient and accommodating to all of our thoughts and design requirements.”
“Charles is fantastic to work with, very honest and sincere!”
We found Charles Kraus before we bought our home in Wellesley, MA, since the houses we were looking at needed some degree of remodeling/update. Charles is a builder and an architect, which means he can design the remodel and generate a proposed scope/budget for the work to be done. This made the whole process seamless, and in fact, Charles joined me for the house tours before buying, so that we could have a realistic estimate of cost/time needed to make it our home.
Our plan for the remodel was extensive, including opening up the kitchen/living area, remodel all existing bathrooms, adding one additional full bath, absorbing two small balconies into their respective bedrooms, re-design and redoing all bedroom layouts with updated closets and bathroom entry/flow, all new floors on all floors, changing out most windows, mudroom redesign/build, and many other steps.
Charles is smart, experienced, professional, personable and very straight-forward. He worked with us super transparently from the start, throughout the process, and all the way through the close. He listened to our needs, always has good ideas that can be implemented, and does them extremely well. He worked with us through the design needs, brought up any unforeseen issues through the build, and always kept a calm and solution-minded demeanor throughout. Quality and value are high on Charles' priorities, as he would for his own home. Him and his team managed all the subcontractors, and were extremely caring about the fact that this was our home they were in. The level of care is very high with Charles, and he treats it like his home. In fact, multiple times through the process he suggested what he had done to his own house and what he recommends for ours. He also recognizes that money and budgets do matter, and worked hard to not overshoot on the budget.
We would strongly recommend Charles and his team for any project, and look forward to continuing to work with him as our house plans continue to grow.
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