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Lots of Happy Letters

And we mean lots.

Our greatest satisfaction when the job is done comes in the form of a letter or e-mail from a happy client. We’ve found it’s not how big the project is or how much work we do, but how much commitment we put into the doing. So when our clients notice and take the time to share their experiences, we are truly energized. Our clients’ enthusiasm and appreciation are infectious, and spill over into our next project, and the next, and the next.

We hope you too will enjoy some of our favorite letters from happy homeowners all over the East Bay.

In the midst of the chaos, Josh and I just wanted to reach out and thank you all for an incredible job well done. The house looks fantastic and although we’ve barely settled in, we’re loving it! We are so grateful for all of your hard work, forethought, patience, dedication, heart and humor throughout the process. As first time home owners and renovators, you all were a perfect team to work with and we’re so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with you all.

We’re excited for Phase II and our continued work together. With much appreciation,

J and J

We have just finished the complete remodeling of our kitchen and the addition of an adjacent exterior terrace at our home in Piedmont. We selected Federal Building Company as our design-build contractor on the strength of other satisfied clients’ recommendations to us, Federal’s professional presentation, and their obvious grasp of the special complexities of design and construction in residential remodeling work. The final contract price was in line with the budget we developed with Federal early in the design phase. We never regretted the decision to go with Federal.

During the entire course of the job, Federal used extreme care to minimize inconvenience to us and to insure that the work was of the highest quality. Any problems with the design, or misunderstandings as to our intent that developed during the job, were minor and were quickly resolved to our complete satisfaction.

We are extremely pleased with the final result and are sure that the value added to our home far exceeds the cost of the work. We strongly recommend Federal Building Company and would be pleased to show our new kitchen and terrace to anyone considering a contract with Federal.



Olga and I would like to thank you, George, Amy, and John for the excellent work done on our kitchen remodeling. Olga and I are very satisfied with all aspects of the remodeling, including cost and time of completion.

I would especially like to thank the construction foreman, John Maxon, for his conscientious attention to detail and his insistence that the work of others meet his high standard. As an architect, it was gratifying to work with a contractor who was as convinced as I am of the importance of craftsmanship.

We enjoy our new kitchen every day, and we would be pleased to recommend Federal to anyone in the market for a residential remodeling contractor.

Very truly yours,

J. F. and O. F.

Enclosed you will read, along with many others, we’re sure, our thoughts on the Derby Street Project.


New Library — formally a basement
New Family Room — formally a den and breakfast room
Kitchen — New Appliances, Aesthetic Additions, Improved Lighting
New Hardwood Floors in Kitchen, Family Room, and 1/2 Bath
Improved Lighting in the Entry and Hallway
Walk in Closet for Master Bedroom, Shutters, Soundproof Walls
Aesthetic Changes of Master Bath and 2nd Bath
Computer Area in Sitting Room
Attic Access
New Automatic Garage Door

With such a massive project, we wanted to be assured that we could have such changes and be pleased with the completed job. We had many questions to Larry and the team at Federal Building Company. Some were: “Could we live through all the remodeling and not move out of our home?” IT HAPPENED! “Would the remodeled area flow with the design of the existing interior?” IT HAPPENED! “Will the project be completed within your given time frame?” IT HAPPENED WITH SOME ALLOWANCES! “Can we work within a budget and still acquire all that we want in the remodeled job?” IT HAPPENED WITH SOME ALLOWANCES! “Will we be pleased that we made the decision to remodel rather than purchase a new home?” IT HAPPENED!

Throughout the project many planning sessions and meetings took place with Larry and the Design Team. These sessions occurred at the company’s site and at our home. Many times, it meant changes in schedules to accommodate everyone involved.

However, as we look back, we have no regrets in having so many sessions with Larry and the team. The sessions were always very informative and shared in a professional and personable way. Thank you, Larry, for presiding over such a company as Federal.

Excitement and enthusiasm is noted by everyone as we enter into the next phase of the project. At all times the workers showed respect and concern for our home. Thanks to our foreman, Carl, things were always left in a way in which we could endure. The team’s ideas for drawing the plans seem to match with our needs and requests.

All the plans were completed, and now we’re ready for tearing down walls, excavating, making color decisions, material decisions, appliance decisions, and many more decisions for such a large project. Having someone to assist you in making such decisions was very beneficial. We never felt pressured to make any hasty decisions when working with Amy.

Suddenly the rooms began to take on characteristics of their own, but blended so well with the rest of the house. A library where Ralph could read, relax and play pool; a kitchen where we both can share in the joy of cooking on our new black glass stovetop; a family room for entertaining; a walk-in closet to house all of Joyce’s shoes.

Soon, very soon, reality is inevitable! The project is completed.

With a project so vast in size and production, were there any problems not handled in such a way that would be satisfactory to us as clients? After the completion of the project, problems were noted, investigated, discussed, and are currently being handled.

Choosing Federal Building Company was a wise decision we made to complete the “DERBY ST. PROJECT”. We’re pleased! If we had any other necessary renovations to enhance our home, we’d choose Federal again. Currently we’re enjoying our “new old home”, and looking forward to many more comforting years here together.


R.M. and J.M.

Hi, everyone! The text of this letter has been incubating in our computer for almost a year. During that year, we’ve grown to appreciate the artistry and quality of a Federal-built project. In short, we love our new kitchen! It has been very satisfying to have friends and family come from 3000 miles away and zero in on the kitchen immediately upon their arrival. They’ve heard about it through the grapevine and are always in awe when they see it in person.

We purchased this house with the dream of turning the small (that’s an understatement) kitchen into something we could both enjoy. In choosing a contractor, we were struck by Federal’s marketing approach. Our ultimate decision was to expand the kitchen, and your design team offered us many creative approaches that fit within our budget.

Construction began in late January during a period of heavy rain. Your approach to this challenge was to construct a large plastic tent which was soon dubbed “Biosphere II.” This allowed construction to stay on schedule and demonstrated your expertise under adverse conditions. John, our job foreman, was a joy to work with. He proved to be as detail-oriented and meticulous as we are and always demonstrated a good sense of humor. As we all know, remodeling can be a trying experience. John’s humor and sensitivity were definitely appreciated. We also want to commend the work of the electrician. He put as much time and effort into the project as we would have.

We want to thank you all for your concern for our psychological well-being during the period of absolute chaos. We feel that the project was not as stressful as it could have been due to both your professionalism and your concern for us.

We’re really enjoying our new kitchen and will gladly recommend Federal Building Company to anyone contemplating a remodeling project.

Thanks again for bringing our dream into reality!


B. and T.

We just finished the best Holiday Season and I wanted to let you know. With a wreath by the new front door, and evergreen garland and tiny lights wrapped around the stair railing, what an enchanting entrance. We had Christmas in our new room downstairs. The tree, the stockings (hung by the chimney with care), the snacks and drinks from the refrigerator, watching videos from the entertainment center, etc. At least once or twice a day we’d look at each other and say “gosh, isn’t this great, having this family room?”

We have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of time we spend down there in the family room, with the bathroom right there. Some rainy Sunday afternoons, with the fire going, there’s just no reason to come upstairs. I’m quilting, Mark working on models or playing Brio with Martha. It’s just overall a wonderful part of our home. No fear about us not using the space. We use it to the max!

None of this would have been possible without all of the help of all of the folks at Federal. We have showed off the space to many people, including a couple of Realtor types who are parents of Martha’s friends. They all agree that Federal does the best work in the homes they have dealt with. We are so pleased to tell everyone that you did it for us.

We have also gotten lots of compliments about the tile work. Many thanks to Amy for helping to make that design work out. I know she put a lot of effort into finding those discontinued tiles just so the look would be just right. To me, that’s just a natural use for 2×2 tiles–just like 2×2″ fabric–make a quilt! Martha misses Carl, and occasionally asks if he will be coming back. She’s pretty disappointed to find out that the work is all done. And I must admit, I miss having him here everyday.

Anyway translating our dream into a design, a plan, execution, and decor, and making it all a reality–well suffice to say we couldn’t be happier.

Mark gave me a quilt class for Christmas. An impressionist scene of a garden path. It’s going to go in the new stairwell when it’s done. The perfect finishing touch.

Many, many thanks for EVERYTHING.


M.M., M.D. and M.M.

Now that we’ve had almost seven months of breaking in our new kitchen and enjoying the new “kids’ wing”, I thought I would check in and give you, Amy and Carl an update.

As we had envisioned, the kitchen has become the social hub of the house for both our family and friends. We really broke the kitchen in over the holidays with heavy duty cooking and entertaining, including a spur of the moment open house with 65 guests. We couldn’t get folks out of the kitchen. It just works!! Everything from the design, to the workmanship to the small important details (e.g. an internet connection; boiling water dispenser for Judy’s daily cup of tea; a hideaway TV cabinet for the sports fanatics; and of course the “command central station” complete with custom designed file cabinets, bulletin board, etc.) has made the kitchen our most favorite room in the house. As one of our friends remarked, “It’s a design which combines both elegance and common sense.” We couldn’t agree more.

There’s also been an unexpected benefit to the remodeling. With Ryan’s bedroom now tucked downstairs and out of sight, our stress level has gone down considerably. We now only argue about the cleanliness of his room once a week instead of our daily battles when his room was located just off the kitchen. The kids’ remodeled area has given us all more space, privacy…and peace.

As you can well imagine, we’ve received many inquiries from friends eager to know about our remodeling experience. Based on others’ experiences, folks have a hard time believing that the job was truly completed on time, the workmanship was superb, and we still are on good terms with our contractor.

Thanks to you, it sounds like we indeed were among the lucky ones.

Thanks again for a terrific job. Please convey our appreciation to Carl and Amy.

Warm Regards.


We are so happy with the remodel work Federal Building Company did on our home. It is such a pleasure to have an all new kitchen and two new bathrooms. The new double-glazed windows make the house much warmer in winter, something to which we can attest joyfully. All of your recommendations on choices of materials and construction upgrades turned out great. And the sub-contractors you used were all top notch and very easy to work with, especially in making sure we were satisfied with the results.

Jon is especially pleased with the attention to detail throughout the entire process, from design through completion of work and follow-ups. All of the steps we went through fell into place just as had been described in our very first meeting, and the fact that there were no contentious issues throughout the project was a great comfort to us.

Amy Rothberg, your designer, is excellent and worked well with us on the planning and design of the kitchen and bathrooms. She has a talent in getting to know her clients and then fitting their wishes into a very tastefully planned design. She was a joy to work with and we hope she didn’t mind working with such fussy clients as us. Thanks to her good design sense, we are so pleased with the results and how all the pieces fit together.

John Maxon, our foreman, was so nice and accommodating to us, we would like to convey our thanks for all the big and little details he took care of for us. Mio especially likes the custom made wood sliding door handle that matches the kitchen cabinets. Of course there were many, many other details he took care of, following up on every little detail we pointed out. John is a very pleasant person to get along with and has a great sense of humor. We miss having him around the house already.

We want you to know that we have had so many compliments on our kitchen and baths that we are just delighted with the project and what a great job all of us did, as a team.

We are well satisfied with our choice of Federal Building Company as our remodeling company and recommend most highly your services, personnel, and procedures to getting the job done. Thank you so much for your great service and friendship.


J.G. and M. G.

Here’s the situation:

A year and half after Federal Building completed our kitchen and deck, you came by to see if we needed any “fine tunings.” Coincidentally, a few days before, I spilt a drink on the counter above the oven. The liquid dripped into the oven panel and shorted out the clock and timer. I asked you how “I” should fix this. A few weeks later, “you” installed a new oven (a more expensive model) at no expense to us!

Here’s the issue:

As you suspected, you found out that the oven (that we picked out, not you) is not designed for under-the-counter mounting.

Here’s the significance:

I suppose many reputable contractors could take the position that we would need to deal directly with the supplier in this matter. And, I suppose, suppliers could argue that this is between us and our contractor. And I suppose we could argue blah blah blah, ad infinitum. If there was controversy between you and the supplier, we wouldn’t know. All we knew was that you found a problem with our kitchen and you took care of it.

Legal contracts have gray areas; principles are black and white. Larry, you are one stand-up guy.

Very Sincerely,


Now that we have lived with our new kitchen for a month, we can report, with much pleasure, that we are extremely happy to have embarked on this remodeling venture. We must admit that we approached the start of the project with trepidation; but our apprehension was soon dispelled.

All the credit goes to you and your very professional crew: your and Judy’s incredible creative geniuses gave us ideas and inspirations to make this kitchen unique and individual in design. The faultless craftsmanship of Bryant and the efficient coordination of Scott made this an exciting adventure. We especially appreciated the fact that we were kept abreast of progress as well as unavoidable delays (which were few and minor) so that our lives were disrupted minimally.

We felt that the Federal Company was truly interested in us as friends and “partners” as well as clients. Yours is a company that knows how. If we were to embark on a future remodeling project, we would, without a moment of hesitation, “go with Federal”.

Thanks again for your assistance, patience, and kindness.

Yours very truly,

S.L. and B.L.

Sorry it has taken me so long to send this…it is long overdue!

As you know I love my new kitchen and something tells me getting it to where it is would’ve been a much different experience had I used another contractor. I took a lot of grief from family (my brother as you know is a contractor), my colleagues (I do run a purchasing department) and friends (just because everyone always wants their experiences to make you wiser) for not bidding out this job. You were the first company I spoke with and I could tell after our first meeting that your company had the ethics and standards I was looking for in a contractor. Lucky for me this hunch turned out to be right. After they saw the finished product,the parties mentioned above jumped on the bandwagon and complimented me on my choice of contractors. Your entire crew was great…

Right from the start Amy and I clicked. It was almost as if she was reading my mind. She was always very professional, even when she didn’t agree with some of the elements I wanted in the design (yes, I am still glad I left the pipes exposed under the second sink!) She was able to take a bunch of pictures torn out of a magazine, a few conversations and visits and her excellent taste to create what I’d had in my mind for years.

Carl and his crew were also amazing. I cannot tell you how many times my neighbors complimented the crew on their work ethic(they were shocked the crew actually showed up every day. I,of course,expected nothing less and was never disappointed), their cleanliness, and the consideration they showed all of the neighbors. I only wish Abbey agreed with me but I do think had I been here on the first day Carl and Abbey would’ve been friends for life! Hopefully Abbey will forget about her initial experience with Carl by the next remodel…after all he did install (and go through) her dog door! He also called me the day she refused to come in from the rain- you’d think she would realize how much she owes him. Carl also had to endure my Mother trying to do his job which is a true show of patience and grace under pressure!

I had an incredible experience working with Federal. After listening to many contractor horror stories told by my friends, I know I was truly living right the day I first met with you to discuss my remodel. You can expect me to use Federal for all my jobs going forward as I don’t think anyone else can live up to the standard I now have as a result of working with you and your crew. Please feel free to send people to me for recommendations. Schedule permitting I would be happy to show them my kitchen as well.

I am sure we will be in touch in the future…

Take Care,

Note: this is a response, from our client, in answer to the question: what advice or counsel would you offer to prospective clients considering remodeling?

Thinking of remodeling?

Take the expected costs and time to completion and multiply times three.

Expect to make hundreds of decisions.

Expect to make mistakes.

Question ever starting the project.

But: When the job is done and you see what has been accomplished; you will know:

There are no better people to work with than Larry, Amy and John.

There are no problems that cannot be overcome by this talented, creative and resourceful team.

You have built something beautiful and unique, and certainly,

Something of which to be proud.

- B.F. and S.F.

Working with FBC’s designer was a wonderful collaboration. Amy got my aesthetic right away, which allowed us to feed off of each other’s ideas to create the end result I had envisioned. The FBC client who referred me had a very different aesthetic, so I was all the more pleased that the design interaction lead to the outcome I love! The whole team, including the sub-contractors, were the best of the best.


Working with FBC’s designer was a wonderful collaboration. My primary design goal was to create continuous flooring from the kitchen through to the patio to facilitate entertaining. Working with Amy on design and Carl on construction, I was able to unify the curved stairs, arches, the hand crafted beams (which I carved myself!) and the flow into the patio superbly. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome, including my tile roof and the wonderful wrought iron work. The process with Federal Building Co. worked very well.


I want you to know that Les and I could not be happier with the work… Amys design

work is brilliant and John has done an outstanding job on the construction and in minimizing our personal disruption. We truly appreciate all that. Were so glad this worked out to everyones liking. We so love the kitchen. It looks great and functions even better. The Shades of Green Tour in October and

being professionally photographed will be fun.

B.P. and L. P.