will introduce James Warden, whom I have known since the early 1960s, when
my family had a summer house near his family farm in Vermont. He has principled
character and an inquiring mind, and is a person of deep concerns for the
welfare of others and of our environment.
James is among the dwindling number of all-around craftsmen
who can fix anything in a building and its furnishings, whether by
carpentry, plumbing, painting, hardware, appliances or electrical systems.
We have recently found that he has an uncanny gift for persuading those of
our doors and windows that either have not closed or have not opened for
years to behave as they were made to do. I have recommended him to a number
of friends whose response to his work has been somewhere in the range
between pleased and ecstatic.
you have chosen to commit to either a new slate roof for your home or the
repair of an existing one, congratulations - first for your presumed
ability to pay for the project, but more importantly for choosing long-term
quality, durability, and subtle beauty over quick-fix and, in the
not-so-long-term, wasteful alterations.
A properly done slate roof requires patience and a commitment
to craft that, though these terms are very saleable, are in fact
increasingly rare. This past year (2001) I hired James Warden to roof my
home with new Vermont slate. I am, myself, a general contractor of more
than 30 years experience in the Boston area, and I spent considerable time
searching for a roofing contractor compatible with my needs, budget, and
philosophy. I have observed or subcontracted a number of roofing
contractors over the years and, typically, the setup is one of talented,
hardworking, and underpaid laborers scrambling to meet a deadline imposed
and coordinated by snazzy truck and cell phone-overburdened schedules and
James, like myself, is a hands-on
contractor - directly involved with the bulk of the work himself. My home
is a typical contractor's house, with half-finished projects and plain
neglect, like the proverbial shoemaker's unshod child. My deal with James
was that we'd work in tandem, with him in charge of slate and copper and myself doing long overdue repairs to sheathing, gutters,
fascias, etc. Despite the typical, inevitable delays and surprises, we came
through with a result that not only he and I, but, it seems, the whole neighborhood is proud of.
I did not know James personally, though he came recommended by
friends before the job began, but I came to know him over many weeks
through his work. First of all, he knows his craft, the materials he works
with, and how to assemble them properly. He keeps his word, both on the
larger scale, and from day to day. Most important of all, he is
uncompromising in his commitment to the job being done right.
A slate roof represents a belief in the future - a significant
investment of time, sweat, skill and cash by the contractor and the
customer. James Warden is a Vermont Yankee with the integrity that is
traditionally associated, like the slate itself, with that part of the
country. I highly recommend his work.
is easy to write a letter of reference for James Warden (of Milligan
Construction) because his work is consistently of the highest quality, and
he is a pleasure to work with. I would not willingly have any one else work
on our roof.
On our house he repaired a one hundred year old slate
roof and formed and soldered numerous copper pieces of complex shapes to
cover dormers, flash joints, retard snow slides, and make sound a large
access port. He was also able to get the slate portions of our roof to
integrate with the flatter areas that are covered by other materials.
I was most impressed by how he handled the unexpected:
rotted wood underlayment, carpenter ants, and the like. Nothing seemed
beyond his capabilities, and his pricing for these unforeseeable
complications was fair. Another contractor might well have seen the open roof
as an opportunity for presenting exorbitant charges.
James' pride in his work and his honesty are most
reassuring for the homeowner. I recommend him without reservation.