I do residential work on homes in the south downriver Detroit area. I specialize in kitchens and I am a licensed carpenter. I operate out of a small woodshop and use a mix of hand tools, power tools and CNC machines to create with. Besides carpentry, I am also a licensed homebuilder meaning I am not just a carpenter, but am a tile and marble setter, painter/decorator, a mason, a concrete guy, excavator, insulation installer, a siding guy, a roofer, a door and window installer, a gutter repair, a demolition expert, basement waterproofer, timberframer, etc… While I focus on and usually take jobs requiring the art of woodcraft, I do not draw a hard line and only handle the woodworking in a project, I bring all the elements together. I also utilizing modern 3D tools to render your space when needed to make sure we are on the same page and confirming our ideas together will translate well into a well proportioned finished project.
I like taking a collection of photos of kitchens you think are beautiful, and I design and build custom cabinetry, stone, and tile in the style you like in a way that works best in your space from scratch. Those pictures you have bookmarked of how you wish your kitchen could look like… it usually can. And the price of the raw materials and my labor costs to make them finished pieces usually end up less than what factory made materials and various layers of contractor and subcontractor installation costs would be from a competitor. And my product is often just plain better and stronger and is made to fit in the available space… and ends up a closer approximation of the renovation you imagine mixed with the available space you have to work with (important in downriver homes) I use lasting workmanship techniques.
I also prep the area properly, adding support under islands when necessary, doubling up floor joists when needed. I can move walls, place headers, enlarge windows, etc. In kitchen work, my custom cabinets are precisely leveled, the top rear and side face of them all simultaneously splitting a thin laserbeam before I call for rock to be laid on the countertops. It is movement and uneven cabinets (or too weakly made cabinets) that often cause granite and stone to crack. The entire project is done using construction methods of lasting work. And the best hardware is used for drawer slides and hinges.
From your standpoint, the difference is I am starting with your pictures and ideas (instead of having you choosing from a set of predefined items.) You aren’t walking into a storefront or a book looking at 10 door designs, and 6 cabinet designs, and 5 wood choices…. the choices are almost unlimited… and most often driven by pictures you have collected that strike you as beautiful. We sit down and you tell me what it is that you like about each picture, and we come up with a design tailored to your likes.
- ~$1-15k Minor remodels are a good way to do alot with a small investment. To do this, general contractor, carpenter, and furniture maker tools and skills are directed in ways to keep the cabinets but replace the front face frames and build doors, or paint cabinets, or make 1/2 overlay to full overlay cabinets and replacing countertops for a very cost effective but transformative look. The kitchen looks like a brand new version of your old kitchen, but when you open cabinets, the insides of the cabinets are the same as they used to be.
- -$20-35K Moderate remodels are most common and may or may not include replacement of drywall down to studs, most plumbing, outlets and cabinet layouts remain the same but everything is replaced to your new style and is all brand new. Can be solid surface, stone, thin granite, or laminate tops. The kitchen looks like a brand new kitchen, but for the most part is in the same layout as you started with. The pictures we work from are worked into the space you already have.
- ~$35-60K Major remodels include renovating multiple rooms and moving locations of plumbing, walls, opening up floor plans, typically involves going down to studs and sub-floor, dealing with modifications to load bearing walls, adding skylights, different lighting, etc. The kitchen you end up with has absolutely no resemblance to the kitchen you started with. We don’t let the space you have stand in the way of the pictures you want us to work from.
…And Everything Else
Without describing all of our capabilities, I have experience from the foundation all the way to the chimney cap, and everything in between. Sometimes, it is a welcome break from our most common work of kitchens and bathrooms to change it up and build something else. Sometimes, we come in to talk about a kitchen and see that some other areas are in need of maintenance and offer to handle that while we are there.
Lead Safe, Asbestos Safe
We properly test for, set up work areas to contain, and clean up in a way that keeps your family and loved ones safe from dust from our activities. With so many homes in the area built before 1978 having lead based paint, even if the area we are working on in your home tests negative for lead based paint… all our tools, training, work practices, and experience treating our work dust as if it were poison dust translates to a cleaner environment during ALL of our renovations, not just older homes containing lead based paint…. we don’t blow our dust around with shop vacs, we use 99.97% HEPA EPA certified vacuums, bag our demolition debris, wipe our feet, put up poly doors, use floor runners, mask off our work areas and clean up in nearly the same way. Quite simply, being equipped to working on jobs where there is lead dust makes us work better with all other dust also… and that is good for the residents of any house we are working on.
Licensed & Inssured
There are alot of people out there doing work who are not licensed and insured. It is simple to do a license check here: https://www.lara.michigan.gov/colaLicVerify/lNbr.jsp (My license number is 2101213459.) License numbers must by on all advertisements, business cards, truck signs, etc.
In Michigan most licensed contractors are Residential Maintenance & Alteration Contractors who are licensed in a single specialty… Carpentry, Concrete, Excavation, Insulation Work, Masonry, Painting & Decorating, Siding, Roofing, Screen & Storm Sash, Gutters, Tile & Marble, House Wrecking, Swimming Pools, Basement Waterproofing.
Residential Builders: Licensed to perform the work of ALL of those residential maintenance and alteration contractors tasks
Essen Davis of Level Up Contracting LLC is a Licensed Residential Builder, holding also an EPA lead safe firm designation, and trained to properly handle Asbestos to the Contractor/Supervisor level in Michigan. Meaning we are licensed to build a new home from the ground up or may do any kind of repairs regulated under Article 24 of the Occupational Code no matter what year your house was built in.
We are pet friendly. I have pets at home. I do what I can to make your pet comfortable around me very early on. I only ask that you provide an easy way to sequester them from work or door areas for those times when myself or other workers might be going through exterior doors with 2 hands full so they don’t run off.
I also have a family at home. I have my wonderful wife, Nichole, who has been my #1 since I was a kid myself, she is a dental assistant. While our own children have recently grown into young adults. I remember what it was like for them to be young. I have a wonderful son Hayden (who sometimes helps out with building when he isn’t keeping Delta’s jets in the sky) and a smart and also beautiful daughter (who also sometimes helps out) at home and have watched them grow from babies to now operating cars, motorcycles, and flying airplanes now. Kaeli is aggressively pursuing her college studies in Premed at Wayne State and works at the ER on the weekends. I am a family man and I do what I can to not be a scary worker in the house to the little ones. And I do what I can in my work to include little features in my work that let them know that they are important too… like my grandfather did in his carpentry… I always remembered those little details he would do for us… like a push to pull out step to reach the bathroom sink where the toe kick is in other people’s work. A “Musical” stone hallway. Indoor sandbox rooms. When I can work in neat little extras like that, they are not billed. The payments for those kind of details are in smiles.
And, of course… We do professional work, and I personally stand behind it. I don’t hide behind a different business builders license number to mask myself through a layer of abstraction. To be able to do this I must publish my full name and my personal license and home address in all of my advertisements like, business cards, company website, and signage. And due to my other career as a professional firefighter… I’m planted pretty firmly in the area… if I do move, it won’t be far. I also always maintain EssenDavis.com (Don’t click on it right now, it just goes to the front page of this website) so that as life ebbs and flows and if business names, addresses, or phone numbers change… “my name dot com” will always have or point to my current contact info. (It has a side benefit of being able to refer my services to friends if you know me but can’t remember our business name.)
All of our work has a 12 month warranty per the state, but no one’s checking calendars around here. Things that we produced and installed from raw goods like our cabinetry, stone, and tile work will last a lifetime. Well designed and beautifully crafted work from good materials is timeless. I try to do it right the first time every time… but I’m not to proud or too busy to admit a mistake and do it right the second time.
This business is based on, grows by, works for, and depends on smiling customers and their referrals. If something about our work makes you unhappy after we have left, dial us back at 734-407-SMILE and we’ll come out with a good attitude and do what we can to get your smile back.