Best of Marin 2015: Home Maintenance

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2ND YEAR HALL OF FAME: BEST PAINT STORE

Personalized service and premium products are what you can expect at Marin Color Service. This independently owned store knows that their customers are their neighbors, who trust them to share their expertise while providing them with very personal customer service. Their products include quality paint, stains and wallpaper. They also provide painter referrals, offer helpful information about their products and services and give customers tips and ideas to help them every step of the way with home projects. With two locations—one in San Rafael and the other in Novato—they are convenient for southern or northern Marin customers.

Marin Color Service

770 Second St., San Rafael, 415/453-4065, and 703 Grant Ave., Novato, 415/897-9411, marincolorservice.com

 

2ND YEAR HALL OF FAME: BEST CARPETING

Since 1957, Rafael Floors has been decorating countless Marin homes with a full range of styles and colors of carpeting, vinyl, hardwood, wools and laminate flooring. Along with very personalized customer service, the company offers a unique selection of styles that aren’t found in big-brand stores. Diamond-certified, their professionally trained staff not only helps you choose products, but also performs the installations. It’s easy to see why this store has been voted by customers over and over again as the Best of Marin.

Rafael Floors

822 West Francisco Blvd., San Rafael, 415/456-3656, rafaelfloors.com

BEST APPLIANCE REPAIR

Martin & Harris Appliances is family owned and operated, and has been serving Marin for more than 50 years. They sell home and kitchen appliances, laundry and outdoor products, and offer appliance service and repair. Their very experienced staff helps customers seamlessly integrate new appliances into their home designs. Whether you’re replacing old appliances, or are remodeling and need new ones, Martin & Harris can accommodate you. Their warehouse makes it easy for them to provide fast delivery and immediate pick-up.

Martin & Harris Appliances

2158 Fourth St., San Rafael, 415/454-2021, martin-harris.com

2ND Dave’s Appliance, Mill Valley

3RD National Appliance, San Rafael

 

BEST BEDS AND BEDDING

Warm Things has you covered when it comes to sleeping or curling up with a good book—this family-owned business locally manufactures warm and cozy things like down pillows and high-end down comforters. “We know the materials,” says Richard Smith-Allen, president and owner. “And so we know how to put it together to make it the best product possible.” Warm Things offers everything from sheets to duvet covers to bedskirts to blankets and throws—and they even sell comfy robes and slippers. The entire staff prides itself on its breadth of knowledge, which is understandable considering that Warm Things has been in business for 41 years. The team is proud to announce that they are currently renovating their San Rafael location. “We invite everyone to come down and see it,” Smith-Allen says.

Warm Things

180 Paul Dr., San Rafael, 415/472-2154, warmthingsonline.com

2ND Duxiana, San Rafael

3RD Bella Notte, Novato

 

BEST CARPET STORE

Ken’s Carpets & Flooring is a family business that was built from the floor up by husband-and-wife team Ken Walpole and Ann Shartsis. When asked what makes his business one of the best, Walpole tilts his head, points to his ear and whispers, “We listen.” Sales Consultant Josh Nagler explains, “It begins with a customer’s needs that we hear, and then we lead them in a partnership toward a solution.” Indeed, for Walpole and his staff, carpets and flooring is a serious business that all started in 2002. “We educate the customer to make an educated decision,” Walpole says. Noted customers include Carlos Santana and Grateful Dead band-member Bill Kreutzmann. A Marin resident for 25 years, Walpole is proud to say that he sources locally for both labor and materials whenever possible.

Ken’s Carpets & Flooring

1914 Fourth St., San Rafael, 415/454-5367, kenscarpets.com

2ND Just Carpets, San Rafael

3RD City Carpets, San Rafael

 

BEST CARPET CLEANING

“I love blowing people away,” says Elliot Atlas, owner of 26-year-old Atlas Window & Carpet Cleaning. “When we come in and it’s just like, ‘Whoah!’—That’s one of the most satisfying things.” He believes that carpet cleaners are not created equal. “Why be the quick in-and-out kind of guy,” he says. “Why not do an excellent job?” The company uses superior cleaning and drying tools, a truck-mounted carpet cleaning system and safe and effective cleaning agents. The time, energy and dedication shows. “I love Atlas,” a customer recently said of the business. “They’re always on time, they’re efficient, they care and they’re polite. The place sparkles when they leave.”

Atlas Window & Carpet Cleaning

18 Auburn St., San Rafael, 415/256-8321, iloveatlas.com

2ND North Coast Carpet Care, San Rafael

3RD Burrous Brothers Company, Tiburon

 

BEST CLEANING SERVICE

You’ve seen their cars zoom past you on Highway 101—what can be said about Molly Maid (of Marin) that hasn’t already been said? Pat Belardi, the owner of the Marin chapter, explains that it runs in the family. “I worked for my father growing up,” Belardi says. “He had a commercial janitorial business.” With a team of nearly 38 people—Belardi and crew tackle Marin and the western part of Contra Costa County. “We want to be dependable, accountable and flexible,” she says. “Once you do all three of those things—you can get the job done right.” If the company’s open dialogue approach with customers doesn’t convince you of its eminent status, perhaps its philanthropic work with the Center for Domestic Peace will—every October a portion of the cleaning fees go to this nonprofit.

Molly Maid (of Marin)

 3095 Kerner Blvd., Suite K, San Rafael, 415/454-3600, mollymaid.com

2ND Housekeepers of Marin, Novato

3RD Green Planet Cleaning Services, Novato

 

BEST COMPUTER REPAIR SERVICE

In business for 21 years, and with more than 39,000 customers, Computer Connection has a simple secret. “We just make it happen,” says owner Mike Eagan. On any given day, Eagan and his four computer experts will have 20 or more projects going on, and follow their customer service credo to do things “quickly and efficiently.” The bulk of the troubleshooting involves PC viruses and spyware; only 10 percent of their calls are for Apple products. Computer Connection also visits offices to personally treat malfunctioning networks and temperamental technologies. Eagan himself has been working on PCs since he was 16 years old, with no signs of powering down anytime soon.

Computer Connection

328 Bon Air Shopping Ctr., Greenbrae, 415/925-0200, ccmarin.com

2ND Renew Computers, San Rafael

3RD Northbay Computer Systems, Inc., San Rafael

 

BEST DECK & FENCING CONTRACTOR

After 28 years of business, it’s fair to say that Clough Construction knows a thing or two about building and contracting. “We got into the business because we are nature lovers,” Deanne Clough says. “Our projects transform people’s homes and offer a meeting place between nature and home.” The company illustrates most of its projects with architectural designs done by a drafter, and then executes projects with sustainably harvested wood. Clough is also invested in the next generation—supporting a slew of school projects to educate students. Construction as a whole is consuming 50 percent of all of the world’s natural resources, Clough notes, which is why the company has committed to being educators on sustainability. “It’s such an honor to be voted [Best of Marin] by our community and to be of service,” she says. “It’s very sweet—we’re grateful.”

Clough Construction

4220 Redwood Hwy., San Rafael, 415/444-5554, cloughconstruction.com

2ND Just Fences, Novato

3RD Marin Fence Company, San Rafael

 

BEST ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR

As the winner of Best of Marin in this category, W. Bradley Electric, Inc. (WBE) is not your average electrical contracting company. Founded by William T. Bradley, Sr., WBE started out as a home business. Today, WBE is still a family business and now has three Bay Area locations with more than 220 employees. Bradley’s daughter, Leslie, has been at the helm as CEO since 1999, making WBE a certified woman-owned business, and just last year she was named a Woman of Influence by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. WBE’s six divisions—Electrical, Telecom, Security, Audio Visual, Traffic Signal and IT Services—provide a one-source solution for a variety of specialty contracting services.

  1. Bradley Electric, Inc.

90 Hill Road, Novato, 415/ 898-1400, wbeinc.com

2ND Integrity Electric, Inc., San Rafael

3RD Hoffman Electric, Novato

 

BEST HARDWOOD FLOORING

“He’s a hardwood guru,” says Janet Brog, speaking about Rafael Floors’ owner Steve Villa. Something you’d want and more in someone you’re entrusting to help select the next foundation for your home. Villa has had a 37-year tenure at Rafael Floors, where he worked under former owner Ron Leach, who announced his retirement in December after 52 years with the company. The store is stocked with a bevy of options from pre-finished, to unfinished, to finished, and an assortment of woods that range from oak —“still the standard,” Villa reports—to Brazilian cherry or hickory. “Our goal really is to help [the customers],” Villa says, “to make the best possible choice for their lifestyle and budget.”

Rafael Floors

822 Francisco Blvd., San Rafael, 415/456-3656, rafaelfloors.com

2ND Castro Bros. Hardwood Floors, San Rafael

3RD Ken’s Carpets & Flooring, San Rafael

 

BEST HAULING

Hurricane Hauling & Demolition, Inc., established in 1989, offers customers across seven Bay Area counties demolition, deconstruction, debris hauling and cleanup, and tree and yard services. Not only does this small, family-owned, fully licensed and insured business strive to provide high-quality service at affordable rates, but they care deeply about the planet as well. “We try to recycle and get everything reused, and we use biodiesel in all of our equipment,” says Paul Sonnabend, owner and operator. Certified as a green business, Hurricane says that customers are often impressed with the professional experience, service and reliability of the crew. “We get items reused, which is a step above recycling,” Sonnabend says, adding that they also work with nonprofits to get items donated to people in need. “People are a pleasure to work with here in Marin. They’re environmentally conscious and appreciate what we do.”

Hurricane Hauling & Demolition, Inc.

55 De Luca Place, Suite B, San Rafael, 415/456-3407, hurricanehauling.com

2NDWally’s Hauling, San Rafael

3RD Brad’s Hauling & Delivery, San Rafael

 

BEST HOME FURNISHINGS

Sunrise Home may look small on the outside, but step inside and you will find a unique, 30,000-foot showroom with a great selection of not only interesting, creative and quality furniture, but also one-of-a-kind and handmade items that they’ve collected during their travels. They also offer flat-fee design services, so you don’t have to worry about a meter running while they design a plan for you. “My wife and I have been patrons of Sunrise since they began business manufacturing futons and sofas,” says a happy customer. “I think they provide great value—their furniture is quality-made and their service and integrity is fantastic—we have always gotten our money’s worth.”

Sunrise Home

831 B St., San Rafael, 415/456-3939, www.sunrisehome.com

2ND The Wooden Duck, San Rafael

3RD Mary’s Futons, San Rafael

 

BEST HOME IMPROVEMENT STORE

One location, 50,000 square-feet, 50 years in business—that’s Jackson’s Hardware, by the numbers. But what’s even more remarkable about this home-improvement store is the number 38—that’s how many employees have stock ownership in Jackson’s. President Matthew Olson explains, “They have a vested interest that you receive the best service because they all have a personal stake in the business.” Both Karen Adolphson, office manager since 1990, and Dan O’Gorman, hardware manager since 1989, are case-in-point testaments to the zero turnover rate and the fact that Jackson’s is ultimately about people. Their product knowledge is known to be second to none, and they carry power tools and equipment, decorative plumbing and hardware, and rent out hard-to-find items, making them a favorite with contractors.

Jackson’s Hardware

435 Du Bois St., San Rafael, 415/454-3740, jacksonshardware.com

2ND Pini Ace Hardware, Novato

3RD Goodman Building Supply, Mill Valley

 

BEST HOME ORGANIZER

If you need help moving or organizing your home, look no further than Changing Places. They will bring new beauty and life to your living space. Their experienced team of professional organizers will help you design your home or office to look bright and coordinated within two or three days. In business for 23 years, they offer a wide variety of services, including moving and relocation management, home and office organizing, downsizing and senior relocation and staging and remodeling. It’s the only company of its kind that covers 100 percent of its team’s liability insurance, so you never have to worry about your possessions being covered.

Changing Places

4340 Redwood Hwy., Ste. F-100, San Rafael, 415/461-6257

2ND A Space for Everything, San Rafael

3RD California Space Organizers, San Rafael

 

BEST KITCHEN/BATH REMODELER

There are lots of choices in Marin for kitchen and bath remodeling. Lamperti Contracting & Design has been around for 50 years, so they must be doing something very right. Sean Kelly, who bought the business from Al Lamperti 10 years ago, says, “We are a one-stop shop for remodeling—we design and build almost everything in-house.” He adds that they take great pride in customer service. “Our clients meet with a design team for several weeks or months and get everything spelled out for them so there are no questions. We are known for our professionalism, thoroughness and upfront sales ability.”

Lamperti Contracting & Design

1241 Andersen Dr., San Rafael , 415/454-1623, lampertikitchens.com

2ND Novato Kitchens & Baths, Novato

3RD Kitchens & More, San Rafael

 

BEST LANDSCAPE DESIGNER

Eileen Kelly, of Dig Your Garden Landscape Design, has had a lifelong passion for gardening and design. Trained extensively in landscape design and environmental landscaping at Merritt College and the College of Marin, her eclectic style ranges from sleek and modern landscapes to calm and restful Zen-inspired environments. Her designs blend the natural elements of the site and its surroundings with the wishes and dreams of her clients. “Eileen at Dig Your Garden is an artist,” a client says. “She transformed our dated backyard which had been ravaged by kids, dogs, construction and time into a gorgeous, low-maintenance, drought-resistant haven.” Kelly specializes in landscape, garden design and consultation services for residences in Marin County and the entire Bay Area.

Dig Your Garden Landscape Design

85 Timothy Ave., San Anselmo, 415/453-8591, digyourgarden.com

2ND Heritage Landscapes, San Anselmo

3RD Gardens and Gables, San Rafael

 

BEST LOCAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTION Since 1989, Bank of Marin has been serving Marinites with quality financial services. Their goal is to build partnerships with their customers and communities based on respect and commitment, providing what they call “legendary service.” They pride themselves on having a “dedicated local team of bankers who provide quick turnaround, flexibility, and ongoing guidance for our customers’ financial needs.” In addition to a wide range of financial services, they have made it a point to give back to the community, and received the North Bay Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropy Award this year (for the second time), which “recognizes organizations that contribute significantly to the betterment of the communities where they are located.”

Bank of Marin

Bank of Marin has 10 branch and ATM locations in Marin. Visit bankofmarin.com for more information.

2ND Redwood Credit Union, San Rafael

3RD Patelco Credit Union, Novato

 

BEST LOCKSMITH

Established in 1964, Transbay Security Service, Inc. can get you out of a jam, whether you need help at home, at work or with your car. From door, safe and lock installation to the duplication of keys, you’ll feel safe and secure with their professional services. They offer fully equipped mobile units, so you’ll sleep easier knowing that these guys are willing to help no matter where you are.

Transbay Security Service, Inc.

2018 Fourth St., San Rafael, 415/456-3860, transbaysecurity.com

2ND Marin Lock and Safe, San Rafael

3RD Novato Lock, Novato

 

BEST MOVING AND STORAGE

In 1979, while still a student attending the College of Marin, Tim Johnson started moving yard debris after class using his pickup truck—until one day when someone asked him to move an entire apartment. Presiding over two locations, in San Rafael and Richmond, Johnson is now the president of Johnson & Daly Moving & Storage. He oversees 40 employees (including his son and daughter), and 22 trucks, which include Atlas Van Lines for cross-country moving. A full-service moving company that does packing, crating, international shipping and storage in a 150,000 square-foot facility, the business has become the “go-to” moving company for a number of celebrities, including Sharon Stone, Robert Cray, Huey Lewis and Disney Pixar.

Johnson & Daly Moving & Storage

110 Belvedere St., San Rafael, 415/491-4444, johnsondalymoving.com

2ND Earl Farnsworth Express Moving, San Rafael

3RD Aloha Moving and Storage, San Rafael

 

BEST PAINTING CONTRACTOR

McCarthy Painting Co. is no stranger to the Best of Marin awards. This family-owned company and four-time winner feels very grateful, and wants to thank its customers for voting for them again. The team is eager to take its customer care to the next level. “It’s hard to put into words,” says Jennifer Rivas, operations manager. “We care too much—above and beyond. We take care of people’s property and protect it—it’s their No. 1 investment.” The knowledgeable team is happy to take the time to answer any questions customers may throw their way.

McCarthy Painting Co.

126 Front St., San Rafael, 415/383-2640, mccarthypainting.com

2ND Kerrigan Painting, Novato

3RD North Bay Painting and Wood Preserving, Novato

 

BEST PAINT STORE

Putting a new coat of paint on your house? Need some decorating advice, too? Then Tamalpais Paint & Color is the place for you. With loyal customers from Healdsburg all the way to Los Angeles, they not only offer a great selection of paints, but include color consulting as part of their services. “We love helping people decorate their homes,” says bookkeeper Sheri Figueroa, whose parents have owned the business for more than 22 years. The store also specializes in color-matching. “We use special artisan pigments that reflect light, similar to fine paints found in Europe,” says her husband Jose, who manages one of their two stores. “We take pride in being personable and going the extra mile for our customers,” Figueroa says.

Tamalpais Paint & Color

5784 Paradise Dr., Corte Madera, 415/924-7321, 338 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, 415/388-1086, tamalpaispaint.com

2ND Marin Color Service, Novato

3RD Kelly Moore, Novato and San Rafael

 

BEST PLUMBER

Peter Levi wants you to feel like you’re a part of the family at Levi Plumbing, Inc. Levi started the company in 1993, and spends his free time (away from plumbing, heating and cooling) investing in the community. “More than half of the clients that call up, say, ‘I’m a friend of Peter’s,” Levi says. They have more than 12,000 clients throughout the county and a customer service mantra that is sure to impress—“We provide service that is how you’d want your mother to be treated.” Despite the word “plumbing” tacked onto the end of the company’s name, Levi wants you to know that the company is a complete home-service company. “Some of our clients call us to change light bulbs,” Cheyenne Levi, CFO, says with a laugh and a smile. “We can only be successful in the community with the help of our clients and our employees—so our thanks to them!”

Peter Levi Plumbing, Inc.

1818 Second St., San Rafael, 415/454-7771, peterleviplumbinginc.com

2ND Ongaro & Sons, San Anselmo

3RD Mike Testa Plumbing, San Rafael

 

BEST REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE

With 13 office locations and more than 400 agents, 18-year-old Bradley Real Estate is the largest independently owned local real estate brokerage. “We really treat people like family,” says Robert Bradley, co-owner with his wife Melissa. “People appreciate that they can talk directly to the owners,” Melissa adds, noting that at most large companies, there are multiple levels of management and lots of red tape. “People can even call us at home.” Face-to-face meetings with clients help to ease stressful times full of important decisions. “Buying a house, selling a house—it’s a very emotional process,” Robert says. “People have built their memories there. You’re really in touch with people’s lives and their dreams and their fears and their happiness.” Melissa says that they take great pride in their work because they truly care about the people they’re helping. “People say that we’re real,” she says. “It’s so true. We have heart.”

Bradley Real Estate

Nine locations in Marin County. Visit bradleyrealestate.com for more information.

2ND Coldwell Banker, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael and Tiburon

3RD Tie: Pacific Union GMAC, Mill Valley, and Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International, Novato

 

BEST ROOFER

McLeran Roofing has kept a roof over the heads of many Marin residents since opening in Larkspur in 1929. Owner Brian McLeran was originally planning to be an architect, but enjoyed working for his father too much. He inherited both the business and some sage advice from dear ol’ dad, whom he credits for teaching him that “no project is too small.” McLeran’s tight-knit,12 full-time employees are trained and experienced professionals, and their standard for quality control is just as zealous as their boss’ standard for safety. In addition to offering slate, tiles, composition shingle, tar and gravel, and torch-down roof systems, McLeran also waterproofs roofs and mounts for solar panels.

McLeran Roofing

1945 Francisco Boulevard East, #38, San Rafael, 415/456-7663, mcleranroofing.com

2ND Marin County Roofing Company, San Rafael

3RD Demello Roofing, San Rafael

 

BEST SELF STORAGE

“My honey purchased the building in 1982 and converted it over to self-storage, and then it was all one floor,” says Bellam Self-Storage & Boxes owner Andree Jansheski, looking over adoringly at husband and co-owner Dr. J. “He was the first person to go vertical with three floors,” she explains. The building is complete with three floors, elevators and artwork that adorn each crevasse of the edifice. Bellam went solar in 2006 and produces more power than they use—the self-storage company sells the extra power to Marin Clean Energy. In addition to helping to reduce Marin’s carbon footprint, the business has also partnered with San Rafael Clean for the Butts Program—which collected more than one million cigarette butts off the streets in a one-year period.

Bellam Self-Storage & Boxes

24 Bellam Blvd., San Rafael, 415/454-1983, bellamstorage.com

2ND Heirloom Storage, Novato

3RD All Over Marin Mini Storage, Greenbrae

 

BEST WINDOW CLEANERS

The customer is always right. It’s a saying that Ken Sites, owner of Ken’s Crystal Clear Windows lives by. And with customers coming back again and again over the past 25 years, he must be doing something right. “I try to do a good job,” Sites says, noting that his window-cleaning motto is, “You’ll see the difference.” “I call myself reliable and reasonable. I show up, give ‘em a good price, get the job done.” When Sites first started out, he didn’t have any formal training in business. It was a struggle, he says, but he learned by teaching himself and watching other people. “They always told me, ‘Keep it simple.’” An ad in the Pacific Sun led to “a good many calls.” The best part about what he does? “Being independent, self-employed and meeting new people all the time,” he says.

Ken’s Crystal Clear Windows

184 Mission Ave., San Rafael, 415/456-5609, kenscrystalclear.com

2ND Smart Window Cleaning, Novato

3RDClean & Sparkle, San Rafael

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