Bob Nilsen has asked that I write a letter of reference, and I am pleased to do so. I have known and worked repeatedly with Bob over more than a decade, and before that had worked with another well-known local builder. I therefore am reasonably well qualified to comment on Bob, both by his own qualifications and in relation to work performed by others.
What are the essential considerations in dealing with a builder? Mine are integrity and competence, which includes the ability to perform in a timely way. It is inconceivable that any other building firm would score better than Bob’s in any one of much less all these departments. Bob has never surprised me with cost overages, and my confidence in Bob has evolved to where we work entirely from an oral estimate and handshake.
Bob’s integrity is not confined to finances. Bob has demanded that his subs work to a level of quality greater than even my own expectations, and has identified and than had corrected flaws in performance that were not immediately visible to my naked eye. This kind of integrity is more important, in my view, than the dollar features of a bid. A customer has to depend on the builder for so many unseen features that a builder may cut financial corners without immediate discovery. To illustrate, the earlier builder with whom I had worked had used an inappropriate and less expensive wood, which left that part of the house vulnerable to water leaks and rot.
Bob and the subs engaged by him have been exceptionally competent in the work that they have done. Of the variety of projects that Bob has done over our time together, the most challenging may have been the tear down and reconstruction of a tower that is part of the house. I realize that “stair railing” may not usually suggest a remarkable building skill, but this instance is exceptional. The railing for the project represented an extraordinary mental and crafts challenge. The rail required hundreds of individual and singular pieces over multiple stories, and the architect who assigned the project to Bob essentially said “Use cherry wood and brass, and go figure it out.” The job, in short, reveals a degree in skill, intelligence, and sense of aesthetic, that cannot be properly appreciated on paper. It may be that, in deciding whether to engage Bob, you will have an opportunity to see this extraordinary achievement. Bob displayed these capacities more recently in connection with an inventive flashing mechanism through the stone structure of one of the exterior walls. I should add here that I have been repeatedly and favorably surprised by the commitment and quality of the work of the various “subs” engaged by Bob. A number of them would work 7 days a week, beginning as early as one would accept their presence, which contributes of course to the ability to complete a project on time.
In short, I recommend Bob Nilsen without qualification.
Roger W. Kirby
Bob Nilsen is an honest contractor and an excellent craftsman. And, in my book, they don’t come any better.
Bob, his father, his brother and another carpenter started our house in November 1994, and finished it in September 1995, about 6000 square feet.
Since 1995 we have added 2 rooms and completed a new bathroom and clothes closet. We also refurbished our horse barn.
We needed renovations and additions at our second home, and we entrusted it to Bob. His attention to detail was scrupulous, his judgment sound and his trustworthiness complete. The work was beautiful. We would never use anyone else.
—NJ & MC
Working with Bob Nilsen was integral to the success of our project. He is honest, highly knowledgeable and incredibly hard working. We were nervous about embarking on a project of large scale (6000 sf) in a remote location (no power, driveway, other utilities) and two hours away from our primary abode. So we interviewed several builders and chose Bob due to his positive references and our selection meeting where he demonstrated an advance awareness of our project, having studied the architect’s plans in advance. Now with two years of living in our house (and continued attention from Bob), I can say without hesitation that we would hire Bob again and easily do so. You will be happy to have an ally such as Bob on your side as you spend considerable time and funds on your own project.
—RB & SK
Over the past 20 years, I have undertaken several residential building projects in the Millbrook area, and it has been my pleasure to work with Robert Nilsen as contractor.
These projects have included both ground-up new construction and a challenging renovation and reconstruction of a significant home.
Bob is easy to work with, very knowledgeable and has a noted skill for efficient construction and problem solving. He is trustworthy, creates high quality results, and fosters a very positive customer experience. I would not consider using a different builder for my future construction/renovation needs.
I am happy to recommend Bob’s work. Better yet, prospective clients are welcome to visit my current home with Bob and see for themselves.
I am delighted to be able to give you a letter of support for your upcoming proposal for a new project. I will happily send this to the architect or owner with whom you are in communication, or can simply say, in this email, how lucky they would be to have you as their builder.
My experience with you when I was building my own home in Rhode Island was extremely reassuring; though we weren’t building together, you were so helpful in evaluating the construction problems I was having, and your authority and integrity were extremely persuasive in resolving issues with my contractor.
I was also very impressed by the work that you did on the Kirby residence. Not only was the quality of craftsmanship at the highest level, the job was done, quickly, efficiently, and with no surprises as to timing or cost. I do not know anyone who has had such luck and success in building partnership as your clients have. My only regret is that I am not building a home in your area. What might be a difficult process becomes a great pleasure when working with a company of your caliber.