Consulting services fall within two main groups, but aren’t really limited to those. Customizing a plan for you and your home is the essential element. Explaining these ends up sounding like a cheesy infomercial, but please read on, as there’s a lot to say. I’ll try to keep it brief.

A quick disclaimer: I don’t do official “building inspections” for buyers, and I’m not “fishing for business” for remodeling/restoration. The general plan is that you use consulting services because you don’t want to use a full-service contractor, or because you want to do the work yourself, and gain insight into how to deal with subcontractors directly.


Common consulting plan #1: You already own a house (or are about to buy one) and need a restoration/maintenance plan. This could also include some sort of addition/remodeling down the road.

A rather lengthy visit your house is in order, and I go over it from top to bottom. Then, I give you a long-term plan for maintenance or restoration or remodeling, complete with order of importance, degree of difficulty, potential hazards during the work (safety or health), and a rough idea of costs. This will  keep any homeowner busy for years to come, depending on how you want to get the work done. If you need to spread it out over ten years, we’ll figure that out. We’ll go over whatever you need to do the work yourself, if you want. Potential pitfalls like asbestos removal (for licensed pros only) or dealing with lead paint (E.P.A. regulated, but you can practice lead-safe procedures if you use  EXTREME care using the proper techniques.) This can be a single visit, or several visits throughout the years. Again, I can show you how to sort out the pros from the scams if you want to hire people, or give you hands-on lessons on how to do it yourself.

A sampling of things that will be covered include:

Weatherproofing; roofing, siding, windows, doors.

Energy efficiency: Are any systems worth upgrading? How much of the new technology is still too new? What sort of “pay-back” timeline can you expect for certain upgrades?

Structural deficiencies, if any.

Plumbing and electrical potential issues.

Environmental issues you may be exposed to.


Common consulting plan #2: You’re planning an addition or new house, and want to learn how to manage the project, or be your own GC in order to save money. Penny-wise and pound-foolish is the mantra here. Keeping  your plans in proportion with the house and the neighborhood is critical. Don’t over-do it; don’t under-do it. It is VERY possible to over-improve and over-spend, and I try to make sure that doesn’t happen.

We’ll go over the following, plus a whole lot more:

Design consulting: I can help with the entire design and drawings, or can help review plans you already have. The review focuses on efficient design from both a cost and quality standpoint.

Control bidding: I’ll bid the project as though I were going to be the general contractor, so that you can see exactly what all the costs for each category are, and where you can try to save money.

Apples-to-apples bids from subcontractors. We’ll draw up the specifications so you can get airtight bids, and then be able to easily see which contractors are qualified, and which are not. It will be easy to see when a price is too good to be true.

Materials selection: The right materials can save you a lot of time and money on premature repairs down the road.

Scheduling: There’s more here than meets the eye. You can have too many subs on the job at once, slowing things down. You also need to be able to plan little framing details in advance, so the sub’s jobs are quicker, easier, and better.

Quality Control: This one is pretty obvious. I can show you what to look for, or you can schedule visits where I do a check on how things are done.


That’s just a start; being a GC is at once a lot more complicated than you might think, but at the same time, pretty straightforward. With enough information and time to oversee the job, there’s no reason you can’t do it yourself.


Green Building? Everyone wants to do that! It can save money! Reduce pollution! Yeah, well… Your grandmother was more green than you’ll ever be. She used clotheslines instead of dryers, which suck tons of energy. Air conditioning? Give me a break. It wasn’t even a regular feature until about ten years ago. Now it’s a necessity? Recycling? The milkman always drove around and got his old bottles for refilling. Foam insulation? Sure, if you don’t mind a 40-year payback and a stuffy house. By all means, don’t do the research and find out you need a fresh-air exchanger to bring fresh air into the house, which of course uses electricity that you were trying to save and then don’t forget you need to then heat that new fresh air…  You get the idea. No matter how hard you try, you won’t be as green as we were 30 years ago. Don’t waste your time with all sorts of “photo” this or “geo” that. There are things you can do to make a huge difference, but you might be surprised at what they are. There are some new products in heating and cooling technology that are revolutionizing the way we heat and cool, but beyond that, it’s a lot of common sense.

I was a board member of the Connecticut Renewable Energy Association over 25 years ago, when we met at the Connecticut Audubon Society on Burr Street in Fairfield. We tried to do one of the very  first super-energy efficient building projects in Connecticut back in the early ’80’s.. We made all sorts of mistakes. We learned a lot. And, funny enough, the SAME BOOKS that we used all those years ago are the same books being hauled around by the suddenly-expert new green building guys. I can save you a lot of time and cash when it comes time to help you. I don’t sell anything. Again, just consulting.


Want to learn how to trim out your house? Carpentry lessons are available, too.


Qualifications? Probably more than anyone in the state:

30 years of old-house restoration and construction; houses dating from 1690 to 2011.   Founder and director, Antique and Historic Homes Division, Merrill-Lynch Realty (now Prudential).   Former board member, Connecticut Renewable Energy Association; and the Westport Historical Society, former committee  member of the Connecticut Trust For Historic Preservation, research published by, among others, the National Trust For Historic Preservation. Multiple “Best-Restoration” award winner.


Rates vary by the services needed, so we can discuss those. Call me at 203-668-3735 for information.