Hancock Lumber has worked with Ken Bartow for over three decades. Ken is one of the most knowledgeable, dependable and professional contractors you will ever find. Ken is one of the great professionals in the industry and I would recommend him to anyone in need of home repair, home improvement or construction planning services. In fact, Ken has worked personally with my mom at her home on Thompson Lake for nearly two decades. I know that she has always been so appreciative of Ken and his work.
Kevin Hancock, Hancock Lumber
I would unquestioningly recommend Ken for any building project. In the over ten years I have known and worked with Ken, his integrity, knowledge, attention to detail and sense of humor have always resulted in beautiful homes and extremely happy clients. Your project is in the best hands with Ken Bartow.
Anne Murphy, MCSL
Director of Landscape Design
We entrusted Ken to completely redo our 1820 home which has been in our family for 100 years. The home needed the expertise of a highly qualified builder who could make the house fully functioning while maintaining the integrity and authenticity of a house built in the 1800's. Original windows needed to be saved, staircases to be restored, rounded walls needed to be preserved, fireplaces built from the bottom up, doors, molding and fixtures needed to be remade and repaired to their original authentic style. Ken, in addition to masterfully renovating an antique house, seamlessly added three bathrooms, a fully modern eat in kitchen, laundry room, dining area, three porches, and a basement. Ken added all of this, and more, without any sacrifice to the flow or appearance of the house. In fact, Ken's additions to the house only improved its charm, beauty and functionality. This house has become the centerpiece of our family together time. Without Ken life might not be as great as it is !
Ken has stayed with us and the house since the day he handed over the keys. He is so responsive to our needs and calls. Ken's work is without question top quality. You absolutely get what you pay for.
Kate Gilmore Brooks
We bought a small piece of a former summer camp in 1975. Ken Bartow did the much needed repairs and maintenance on the 3 buildings on the property from the time we bought it until he retired and moved away in 2015. He also did substantial remodeling for us, including a kitchen and 2 bathrooms, skylights, etc. His work was so consistently outstanding that, in addition to recommending him to anyone we knew who needed to build or remodel, we decided, in 2000, to have him build a year around house on the property. He had one of our original cabins moved to a different location and then worked with a very avant guarde architect to build a unique house for us. There were many design and serious engineering challenges for this new house, including having to rework the sloped property run- off to the wetland below by creating culverts and other waterways, all of which are not visible from the house. (And we haven’t had a drop of water in the basement in the 15 yrs. since he did this!) There is also a room that is 35’ long, with a ceiling height of over 20’, and that has a wall of windows along one of the long sides. He thought to put in supplemental heat that the architect didn’t consider, with the result that room is cozy, in spite of all those windows, on even on the coldest winter days. There were a number of other anticipated and unanticipated challenges, all of which Ken handled with aplomb, and despite which he came in on schedule and on budget. He has, since then, also designed and built a gazebo for us that we use as a sort of getaway office during the summer. (It has phone, electricity, and Internet.)Ken is simply amazing, and is, in addition to being the best building contractor ever, a truly wonderful, generous, thoughtful, and kind person. Anyone who hires Ken is very fortunate, indeed, to have such an amazing person on board!
- Mark and Nancy Ratner
I first met Ken Bartow in the fall of 1982. My wife, Connie, and I had bought a parcel of land on Pleasant Lake in Otisfield, Maine earlier that year and we were exploring the options of building a vacation home on that site. At that time, Bartow and his small crew were in the remodeling business, but Bartow felt confident of their ability to move into new home construction. We examined the quality of his work on a previous project and Connie and I agreed that Bartow and crew would be the builders of the first new home for either them or us.What a great decision that turned out to be. Our original handshake led to a 33-year long-term relationship with Ken, Ken’s crew and family. Our original home was a modest 40x32 floor plan with two bunkrooms and a bath upstairs; a bedroom, bath, galley kitchen and living/dining room on the ground floor and a bedroom, bath and utility area in the unfinished basement.This home was expanded over time to support our growing family: a screen porch that was eventually closed in, a new master bedroom, an expanded living room with cathedral ceiling, a garage with a finished studio for Connie, cabins in the woods for each of our four children, a large post-and-beam barn in our meadow, a finished basement with a TV room, exercise space and an office for me, a completely new and expanded kitchen, an additional bedroom and a half-bath on the first floor.Almost each of these additions was a separate project. We undertook a major project every two or three years. Only once did we hire an architect and I’m still not convinced of the value we received. Connie and Ken, later with the help of my engineering son, designed each addition. One of Ken’s long-time employees drew up the plans. We never ever considered getting bids from other contractors. We knew the work would be done right at a reasonable cost. We trusted Ken and his crew. Most of the work was done in the off-season. Connie and Ken would talk over the phone to resolve issues that arose. Connie and I might drive up from the Boston area on occasion to see the progress on a particular project. Ken always provided us with completion dates that were met. Unfortunately, that is not often the case in the construction business.Ken was not only our builder, but he was our house doctor. If anything went wrong—an alarm from the security company, water damage from an ice-dam, problem with the septic system, he was our GP. He knew the best specialists in the area. Over time, I observed Ken’s business grow. But he never over-extended himself. He even reduced the number of his crews when he felt that he couldn’t properly oversee all the projects and because he felt the pressure to take on projects to keep all his crews busy. Last year Ken announced that he was selling his firm to one of his trusted lieutenants. Now, Ken the House Doctor can get back to working single-handedly on projects that help home owners fix many of those items on their “get it done” list.With Ken Bartow, you will be assured that, if he says he can get it done, it will be done right and in a timely fashion. You will be dealing with a man of the highest integrity. You will be dealing with the best.
Earl & Connie Sasser