Last month, Neil and Angie of Priors Home & Garden Services gave an old kitchen in Daventry a lively makeover. Their customer, Tom Traynor, emailed us before and after pictures of his kitchen that we thought were worth sharing!
Neil and Angie have been working together for a little over two years now, focusing on fitting kitchens, tiling and carpentry. Before they met, Neil had lived in Spain for 12 years, making bespoke furniture, and Angie had worked as a landscape gardener. Their previous experiences and skillsets is what gives their joint business an edge.
“We get along, we work well together, and we haven’t murdered each other yet.” Neil said. “And we learn from each other too—Angie was a landscape gardener when we started out, but now she can fit kitchens like a pro. She learned by getting stuck in and doing it. The best qualifications come from experience, because you learn the most when things don’t work as they’re supposed to.
They were drawn to Tom’s job when they saw it posted on the site because of the way it was written “We’ve learned to pay attention to what people write,” Neil said. “It’s important for the job poster to be a coherent writer so that we understand what their needs are. We like to know what time frame they have in mind so that we can plan our schedule and be assured that we’re not overbooking ourselves.”
Tom’s kitchen was old and needed an uplift. Neil and Angie worked with him to come up with a design that was aesthetically nice and functionally simple. Because the Traynors like to cook, the design included lots of space for utensils, an unfolding rack for spices and condiments, and a large worktop.
But once the job kicked off, Neil and Angie ran into a storm of unexpected problems. “The plumbing in the kitchen was quite poor because it’s an old property,” Tom told us. “When they were trying to fix it, they closed some of the valves but they didn’t reopen immediately which caused a lot of back pressure. The loft ended up flooding and Neil had to replace the ball cock in our water tank. The overflow from the tank put the lights out and set off the smoke and fire alarms, so we had water dripping down from the light fittings in the hall! But Neil managed it all like a complete star. I hope they get lots more work as they’re very good at what they do.”
Neil told us the secret behind how he dealt with the disaster. “I don’t have a huge network of people to call on since I just moved back to the UK after over a decade abroad,” he said. “But I have a chosen few tradespeople that I trust and they’re the ones I call on when I need expert advice that’s outside my domain of knowledge.”
When the loft flooded, he called up a friend of his who’s a plumber. But the friend was busy that day, so he just explained to Neil everything that needed to be done over the phone, and Neil followed his instructions step by step until the problem was fixed. All it took was listening: drain the tank, take the valve out, put a new one in, refill the tank. It worked like magic.
Neil and Angie always price jobs to take potential pitfalls into account. They put in a contingency if they think there is a chance of things going wrong. Sometimes they price accurately, but sometimes they price incorrectly and that’s when they lose money. Their goal either way, is to deliver the best service possible. When they find something that needs work and will make a difference to the overall finish, they try to fix it. “Our external tap that is connected to the sink was of terrible quality,” Tom told us. “But Angie replaced it with proper copper tubing and added a new tap at no additional expense!”
“What we love most is that we take something that someone isn’t happy with and we transform it into something that they enjoy,” Neil and Angie said. “Our customers are people we get along with—they always end up being our friends.”
If you’d like to hire a dream team like Neil and Angie, post a job on MyBuilder.