Home Remodelers Orinda CA Blog

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Meet Sweeten New Jersey General Contractor Lawrence

Where are you from and how long have you been in construction?

I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio and have been in and out of construction all of my life. My father was in the trade, and my grandfather was an architect.

How did you get into this industry?

My father was a union painter for 20+ years. When I was young, I helped him on side jobs. I got into carpentry and the construction side of the industry when I was in high school.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love working with clients and helping them put their inner thoughts and ideas on paper. It’s great making them come to life. Clients become so happy with their new bathroom. It’s personal for them. They’ll always remember my team and what we all created together. 

What is the biggest challenge about renovating in New Jersey?

The biggest challenge is controlling expectations, timelines, and the unforeseen. As a contractor, we only have so much control. We rely on our workers and subcontractors to show up. It’s our job to make the process as seamless as possible for the clients.

What do you think is the biggest misconception that homeowners have when starting a renovation project?

Typically, the biggest misconception homeowners have when renovating is budget. There are a lot of moving parts and materials they don’t realize are required. Since we only use high-performance materials, items can cost much more than what’s seen on HGTV.

What do you want all of your clients to know before you work with them?

Follow your gut! Dealing with a general contractor is a business relationship, so work with those you instinctually get along with and trust. Make sure you like who you are dealing with. It makes the process much more manageable.

What’s the number one thing clients should know before starting a renovation?

Do your research on design first. Figure out what you like, what you need, and then a dream list of what you want. Next, calculate how much money you can, or are willing to, allocate towards that project. The initial meeting will be smoother if you have a bit of that information ready.

If clients have questions or concerns, how would you like them to address them?

I ask homeowners to make a list so we can talk through it.

What is your favorite project that you’ve done and why?

We did a full renovation for a designer from Paris in midtown Manhattan. It was highly detailed with high expectations and stress. The end result was gorgeous.

What is one piece of advice you would give to new general contractors?

In my opinion, general contractors should know how to perform the work they expect their subcontractors to execute. I feel a huge advantage when I can jump into any trade. I can help them if they require assistance, at any time.

What is your favorite building?

Picking a favorite building is near impossible. I have a deep love of architecture and old pre-war buildings. The buildings in Paris are mind-boggling to me. I love to sit and look at all of the details. I just imagine how they were executed at such a high level with minimal tools on hand.

What is your favorite city?


What is your favorite restaurant?

This question for me is a little unfair as I was a chef all around the U.S. for many years. Some that are staples for me would be Ippudo, Le Bernardin, Los Tacos, Marea, Le Coucou. The list could go on.



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