National Register of Historic Places Project Sites
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Chicago, IL (Edgewater)
Chicago, IL (Near South Side), Glessner House
Chicago, IL, (Old Town), Old Town Triangle
Evanston, IL, Hubert Burnham Residence
Evanston, IL, Sheridan Square Apartments
Glencoe, IL, Benjamin E. Bensinger House
Hinsdale, IL, Orland P. Bassett House (“American Rose”)
Oak Brook, IL, Mayslake Peabody Estate
Oak Park, IL, Harry C. Goodrich House
Testimonial List
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Chicago, IL (Hyde Park)
Chicago, IL (Hyde Park)
Chicago, IL (Hyde Park)
Chicago, IL (Lakeview)
Chicago, IL (Norwood Park)
Chicago, IL (Ravenswood)
Chicago, IL (Rogers Park)
Chicago, IL (Rogers Park)
Oak Park, IL
Testimonials
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"It is with pleasure and sincere conviction that I write in appreciation for the restoration work of Oak Brothers!"


It is with pleasure and sincere conviction that I write in appreciation for the restoration work of Oak Brothers!  Our Parish Church of the Atonement is a historical structure with aged oak doors that are now irreplaceable.  Through the years they had received repair work that had eventually done more damage to the doors than the century aging and use.

Oak Brothers offered us the research to accompany their excellence in craftsmanship which lead to the full restoration and repair of our beautiful doors.  They are, indeed, our legacy of the generosity of those who gave us this incredible landmark and gift.  Oak Brothers not only restored our doors but offered the instruction and inspiration for the stewardship of the doors for yet the next generation.  Thank you Oak Brothers!


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"I am extremely pleased with the work that Jeff Ediger did in rehabbing my 85-year-old French doors."


I am extremely pleased with the work that Jeff Ediger did in rehabbing my 85-year-old French doors. The wood and weather stripping were badly deteriorated; wind and snow came through the cracks; and the doors blew open in strong winds (most dramatically during the blizzard of February 2011.) Nevertheless, I wanted to save them and I am delighted that Jeff was able to restore the doors and modernize the weather stripping. It is so much warmer in my apartment now, and as an extra bonus, it is quieter. This week, when the wind was gusting up to 50 mph, it was wonderful to know that there was no danger that the doors would blow open. I highly recommend Jeff Ediger for any project requiring skilled craftsmanship and careful attention to detail.


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"…the restored wood just dances…"


After a trial run with a set of dining room windows, I have had Oak Brothers restore several doors and bathroom windows, reconstruct a front window according to an old pattern, and build anew all the windows of the sunroom to match the flame birch of the living room. There are nine more windows, several doorframes, and some molding they’ll eventually bring back to their original state. What sold me on Jeff Ediger was first of all the high quality of craftsmanship – the restored wood just dances – but equally important is the ease of communication. Not everyone has my passion for restoration, but he listens, is interested in the conversation, and makes recommendations based on my design aesthetic. He knew not to polish up the old brass fixtures on a door, because I like the patina. Sometimes it takes a while to figure a problem out (air conditioners nailed into windows), but I enjoy the back and forth, so by the time we reach a decision, I have full confidence in the plan. (The air conditioners will be replaced with standing portable units that can be put in the closet ten months of the year.) An additional blessing is the clarity of the invoices. This is slow food for wood.


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"We’ll definitely use Jeff when we restore the rest of our windows and our vintage woodwork."


Description of Work

Complete restoration of eight large, double-hung old-growth wood windows original to our 1910 apartment. Also two stained-glass casement windows. The sashes were all inoperable; they’d either been painted or caulked shut and/or were missing their counterweights, pulleys, and hardware. Most of the beautiful old wavy glass was on brink of falling out. Same for the stained glass in the casement windows.

Comments

Excellent! Jeff and Rory removed all the windows to their shop, restored them completely, and reinstalled them. Now they’re good for another 100 years. The sashes glide up and down like silk and fit so snugly that they insulate the way they’re intended. The best part about working with Oak Brothers is what I learned along the way. I’m not familiar with windows or all that handy around the house, but at every stage Jeff took the time to walk me through the process and explain what they’d do in detail; his proposals and contract were very detailed and well-written. Whenever anything unexpected arose he took the time to write, call, and send photos if necessary to explain what had come up, what our options were, and what a fair cost adjustment would be. I get the impression he can’t bear for anything to be less than perfect. He’s a true craftsman. I should also add that he and his assistant, Rory, had to work here at our home every weekday until the job was done and were respectful and pleasant. They couldn’t have been better about keeping the workspaces–and thus our home–as clean, tidy, and quiet as possible. The job did take a little longer than planned but that’s because they took the extra time to do it right, to the highest standard. Their work was not cheap but the price was always fair–more than fair, actually. Restoring old-growth wood windows may cost more than buying new ones, but in the long run it’s far cheaper. We’ll definitely use Jeff when we restore the rest of our windows and our vintage woodwork.


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"If you are looking for an artisan, who will take the time to coax the best out of old and damaged wood. this is the contractor for you."


Description Of Work

Contractor stripped off old finish (paint and varnish) from 3 exterior doors on our condo building.  Two of the doors had side-lights.  Bleached the wood, installed new wood to replace damaged wood, applied a light stain and a finish coat of varnish.  Also sent brass escutcheons to be re-plated.

Comments

The project went well.  If you are looking for an artisan, who will take the time to coax the best out of old and damaged wood. this is the contractor for you.   We talked to contractors who would show up with a heat gun and putty knife and a bucket of acrylic finish and decided we wanted someone who would take more time to do the refinishing project the ‘right’ way.  Jeff is patient and a perfectionist.  Project took longer than anticipated and the damage to the wood under all the layers of paint was significant.  We authorized a change order for the additional work, after the scope was thoroughly explained to us.  Jeff kept us in the loop the entire time and presented options whenever a decision point was reached.  The mill work required to make custom trim pieces that needed to be replaced was of good quality.  You’ll pay a bit more for this kind of attention to detail.  But, if you are serious about your refinishing project, suggest you give Oak Brothers a call.


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"…you could easily market yourselves as the “Wood Whisperers.”"


Dear Jeff,

Just a quick follow-up note to thank you for the wonderful work you did on restoring our front door. I can’t tell you how pleased Diane and I are with the finished product. Your most precise maintenance instructions, your timely and dependable customer service, and your detailed knowledge of wood (and preservation techniques) were most impressive and greatly valued. One thing I especially noted was the additional technical resources you were able to provide. I don’t remember the gentlemen’s name, but the two of you could easily market yourselves as the “Wood Whisperers.” Actually, this is the second major project you have completed in our 120 year old home. The dining room window restoration project has been a big hit too. Besides functioning properly for the first time in 30+ years, the reduction in heat loss, lowered utility bills and improvement in comfort have been quite impressive. If Oak Brothers ever needs a telephone reference you are most welcome to give out my name and phone number. Kind regards, Randy Rollinson 773-774-0240


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"It was kind of a pricey project, but the Oak Brothers quote was comparable to other quotes we got, and I doubt the other companies would have included as much teaching and explaining as we got from Jeff."


Description Of Work

Complete restoration of three multi-lite double-hung windows, including weatherstripping. Complete restoration of one casement window and interior of two fixed windows. Stripping and restaining stairs and window casing. Painting staircase spindles. Repairing or replacing staircase parts when needed. Our house was built c. 1914.

Comments

Jeff came to our house for a quote and immediately impressed us with his commitment to his craft and knowledge about wood restoration. While the other companies we obtained quotes from seemed to be competent, Jeff appeared passionate. Being big fans of old houses and quality restorations, we went with him. The process took a couple of weeks longer than we originally were hoping for, but Jeff was generally prompt and kept us up-to-date with how things were progressing. He also taught us a *ton* about how to care for our windows and woodwork, and even gave us advice and materials for refinishing a coffee table I’ve been wanting to fix for more than a year.  The stripping was a bit tough because of the old red aniline dye soaked into all of our wood, but Jeff was able to even it out for the most part and our birch staircase and window casing came out looking gorgeous. The windows work perfectly (top and bottom open easily) and look like new, and no longer rattle due to the weather-stripping. It was kind of a pricey project, but the Oak Brothers quote was comparable to other quotes we got, and I doubt the other companies would have included as much teaching and explaining as we got from Jeff. He is clearly a true craftsman who appreciates the beauty and function of original windows and woodwork. We are very pleased with the results, and the experience overall.


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"What I liked most about working with Jeff was his honesty and pride in his work…"


Description Of Work

Removed, restored, primed, painted, and reinstalled original wood trim, and also custom-made new shoe molding, in two rooms.  Plaster repair and painting of four rooms.  Restoration of casement windows, including hardware stripped clean and realigned, and weather stripping installed.

Comments

After a fire on the roof of our condo building (including water damage from putting the fire out), we had a number of projects that needed attention, including all of the original trim in our living room and foyer.  Those rooms had to be gutted and re-plastered.  But we really wanted to preserve the original integrity of these spaces. So we hired Oak Brothers to carefully remove all the old trim (baseboard, picture moldings, and crown moldings), strip it down to bare wood, repair it, then prime and paint and reinstall it. They did a stunning job!  They even had a special knife made so we could reproduce the original shape of the shoe molding.  (It was too fragile to be removed without breaking and was cheaper to reproduce than to strip and repaint.)  You could never tell, by looking at it, that the trim had been removed…except that it was in pristine condition!  Given the fact that our building has a rotunda, thus translating into half of our living room being circular in form, this was no small task.  And many problem areas that had existed from prior to the fire (where the trim had pulled away from the wall, especially in the rounded areas) were corrected.  So the trim looked like new—new-old, that is.  It looked new, but like it belonged there.  It just looked like someone had done a really good job of maintaining it (which they hadn’t)!  Oak Brothers truly brought out the vintage beauty and elegance of these rooms. We also then hired Oak  Brothers to do plaster repair and painting of four rooms besides the living room and foyer, the bathroom and a bedroom.  Jeff was careful to select high quality materials and helped me choose colors that were perfect for what we needed in these rooms. Oak Brothers has done a lot of work in our building, including the restoration of all the 10-light casement windows on the facade of our building (a total of 53 windows).  While this project is ongoing, the five sets of casement windows in our apartment (10 sashes) are finished.  As with the trim, they look like new windows, except that they are the original windows!  And they actually close and open freely now!  Having the hardware stripped clean and realigned, and weather stripping installed on the exterior side of the jamb also makes them feel secure and be airtight.  The result is both functional and absolutely gorgeous. What I liked most about working with Jeff was his honesty and pride in his work, which meant I could feel at ease letting Oak Brothers take care of the project while I was out-of-town on business trips or simply too busy at work to check up on things every day.   There were a number of times when I received calls from Jeff to inform me of issues that needed attention for which he wanted my direction (rather than just doing what was expedient and later telling me he had to keep moving on the job), or to provide suggestions about how to resolve a problem that had arisen.  He made many thoughtful decisions which gave me confidence that he had my best interests at heart.  Jeff even dissuaded me from a few projects that he felt were not necessary to achieve my goals, even though that meant reducing his own profit — that’s integrity. Oak Brothers is trustworthy, skillful, detail-oriented, and thoughtful in their approach to their craft.  And craftsmen they are — while they don’t do things on the cheap, they have long-term investment in mind in the quality of the work they do.  And boy, does that quality ever show in the final product.


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"I have worked with a number of contractors/vendors over the last several years and Oak Brothers has impressed me the most."


Description Of Work

Restored trim in 3 rooms including 8 doorways with special features on 3 of them.  One room is exceptionally large and the pieces of trim were quite long.  Another room is decorated with crown molding which consists of 3 separate pieces.

Comments

I have worked with a number of contractors/vendors over the last several years and Oak Brothers has impressed me the most.  I employed the services of Jeff Ediger of Oak Brothers to restore the trim in my condo after the roof above my condo had caught on fire.  Because the walls in 3 rooms were to be removed, Jeff could not restore the trim in place.   He carefully and methodically removed all of the trim and catalogued it to be certain it was returned to its original location.   Because I have half circle transom windows, this required the removal and reinstallation of specific pieces of wood.   Thus, this step was critical and then also it should be noted this required a particular level of skill to reinstall the wood in a specific way.    Overall, I was thrilled with the level of detail Jeff and his Oak Brothers put into their work, the consistency in their work and the quality of the products which they used.   If you hire Oak Brothers you should be aware that you are hiring a  careered craftsman or artisan as other reviewers indicate.   And there are benefits to this like the quality of the work which I have already mentioned but I would also like to also mention that  the very best benefit is the piece of mind that comes with knowing you’ve hired the very best person for the job and it will be completed in the very best possible way.  Yes, as the other reviewer indicated it might be a bit more expensive than other quotes but the time saved by not having to chase up after anyone will make it completely worth it!!! I should also mention that our building association hired Jeff/Oak Brother to restore 27 casement windows and 7 half circle transom windows and he did a fabulous job at that.   He resuscitated windows which were withering under years of neglect.    They are so beautiful now.


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"We are very happy with the finished product and will definitely be consulting Jeff on our next project."


Oak Brothers was one of six firms that we considered for our window project. While we initially considered replacement, Jeff did a great job educating us on why restoration was something we should consider, not only for preserving the architectural significance of our building, but also in terms of reviving the original functionality and craftsmanship.  Oak Brothers was extremely easy to work with and the project was completed on-time at a comparable cost to replacement windows. We are very happy with the finished product and will definitely be consulting Jeff on our next project.


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"Your attention to architectural detail and talent for color matching has made it (literally) shine."


We can’t thank you enough for the magic that you performed on our ancient [but beloved) front door. It was sun damaged, tired and possibly rotting, but you brought it back to life with your painstaking work. We were so impressed with the level of service, professionalism and artistry that we have seen over the last few weeks. It’s intense work, with all the stripping, sanding, color mixing and varnishing, but the final product is better than we had even hoped for. Your attention to architectural detail and talent for color matching has made it (literally) shine. It is truly a restoration; we imagine that it looks much the same as it did in 1915 when Hubert Burnham put his key in the lock and opened it for the first time. Now we can be proud that the beauty of the front door matches that of our landmark home. Many thanks to you and Cameron. We will be happy to recommend you to anyone looking for door restoration.


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"Oak Brothers has a true appreciation and enthusiasm for historical details…"


We purchased a home in Glencoe built by Howard van Doren Shaw in 1908 with an interior that had been updated by another famous architect, Samuel Marx, in the 1930s. The house was in disrepair & scheduled for the demolition ball. The roof was leaking & water was pouring in every time it rained. Needless to say, everything had to be touched. Oak Brothers took on the job of repairing three sets of French doors and some of the larger windows. The larger windows included a large sunroom with windows that literally disappear into the wall when raised. Oak Brothers did a fantastic job of getting the windows to work & look almost new again. We were very pleased. In addition, Oak Brothers helped us choose colors for some of the historical rooms, stripped & repaired our historical entryway sconces, and ended up deciding to do the entire entryway which has amazing detail on the Samuel Marx plaster molding and light fixtures. Oak Brothers has a true appreciation and enthusiasm for historical details and we are grateful we had their assistance in the extensive renovation of our home.


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"Their attention to detail and precision in their workmanship is more than we were hoping for."


Description Of Work
Restored and refurbished 12 double-hung windows and 1 casement window. Our house, built in 1920, still has its original windows. In fact, all the woodwork, stained glass, etc., is original to the house. Our windows have been in sore need of attention but we couldn’t bring ourselves to put in replacement windows, even a product as good as Andersen renewal. We went with Oak Brothers to do the restoration. They not only refurbished the windows, including restoring the finish on the sashes and re-glazing the windows (using the original wavy glass when possible), but also put in bronze guides and weather stripping (which you can’t really see) to improve the performance and function of the windows. They also bleached and restored the window stools and stripped and painted the sills. Finally, they replaced some missing hardware and made adjustments to other hardware.

Comments
We couldn’t be happier with the results. The windows look and work wonderfully. They move easily, both up and down, and have no play in their motion. The weather stripping is as advertised. It’s not really visible but seals well. The finishes are excellent. Their attention to detail and precision in their workmanship is more than we were hoping for. For example, they hand applied the glazing compound and painted it and it precisely matches the reveal of the wood on the inside. The paint overlaps the glazing by about 1/32″ of the glaze and is consistent all around. It’s a remarkable level of precision for work done by hand. As another example, we decided not to fully strip the window finish but instead to do a partial stripping of the finish with the application of more shellac so that its appearance continued to match that of the casings (which still have their original finish). They restored the finish while keeping the original look. It takes experience to know how much or how little to do. Jeff was always easy to work with and was more than happy to explain the process. All changes were well documented and communication was very easy. He took the sashes to his shop to refurbish. There were a few bits of work that required additional work. For example, some patterned glass in the bathroom window couldn’t be salvaged as it was cracked. Jeff emailed pictures of the windows and found us replacement glass that matched the pattern exactly. All other minor repairs that went beyond the contract were discussed, pictures emailed when appropriate, and the changes approved prior to the work proceeding. Jeff is obviously experienced and the one other employee who was also on site, Rory, did meticulous and quality work. We would have no problem hiring Oak Brothers again.


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"Jeff is a skilled craftsman. He also does a great job in creating a look and feel to the work that fits the place where it’s located."


Description Of Work

Jeff has done 4 projects for us, most recently refinishing and restoring our outer front door. We live in an old Victorian, so we wanted the door to be restored in keeping with the way it was originally. Not only did the door need refinishing, but the door has a large piece of plate glass that needed to be replaced.

Comments

We highly recommend Jeff and Oak Brothers Trim. We’ve hired him to repair and repaint a damaged plaster ceiling, paint three rooms, restore several windows and now he refinished our front door. The job went well. He had to do a lot of work and we are very happy with how the door looks. The door originally had a large plate of beveled glass that was cracked and needed replacing. Jeff found replacement glass that looks almost exactly like the original. The difference is that the new glass is tempered, which is weighs less and is much safer if it ever breaks. We would have kept the original if it wasn’t cracked, but you have to look very closely and know what you are looking for to tell it’s not original. Jeff also rebuilt the molding to hold the glass tightly. We had tried a number of make-shift fixes before this, but we finally decided to find a more lasting solution.   Jeff is a skilled craftsman. He also does a great job in creating a look and feel to the work that fits the place where it’s located. He did more than restore an old door. He presented several options and helped us choose the best way to create a door that makes a great impression for the whole house.   We plan to work with Jeff on our future restoration work. The cost was very reasonable given the quality we wanted to achieve. We didn’t want the cheapest refinishing because it’s much more expensive to go back later and re-do it right. We’ve done that with other contractors and it’s just not worth it. We are very happy to have found him.


National Register of Historic Places Project Sites
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Design by Steve Ediger Associates