James and Morris Carey have put their energies into growing their business -- Carey Bros. Remodeling -- for nearly 40 years.
James said though some things have not changed for the Pittsburg natives – Morris still creates designs, while James prefers meeting with clients to take measurements and gather information – other things have changed a great deal.
“There were three tools we always had when we would go to an appointment,” said James. “The first thing we needed was a Thomas Guide to tell us how to get where we were going. The second thing we had was a pager, and if we were contacted, we could go to a pay phone or ask the client to use their phone. The third thing was a Polaroid camera, with lots of film.”
In addition to building their remodel business, the brothers also embarked on media careers in 1987 that included a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program, “On the House;” a nationally syndicated newspaper column published by the Associated Press; and a local and network television show entitled “Home and Family.” They also wrote “Home Remodeling for Dummies” and the first and second editions of “Home Maintenance for Dummies.”
“Although we don’t have the time and energy to devote to the media that we once did, we still do the radio program and podcast,” said James. “We tape it from the state-of-the-art broadcast studio in my home, and my sister-in-law, Carol, is the producer.”
In their show, the brothers discuss dealing with construction professionals, tips to find the right contractor, evaluating a construction bid and contract, and managing expectations. Morris said Carol’s work as producer on the show is invaluable.
“We don’t say a word she hasn’t scripted for us.” Morris laughed. “She does all the research and hard work, and we come in and look like we know everything.”
Over their nearly 40 years in business, Carey Bros. Remodeling has worked on many East County Homes. James and Morris have both worn many hats, though Morris still prefers designing and drafting, while James enjoys helping their clients develop their home improvement dreams.
James said their team makes their work stand out the way it has.
“We have a competent team of designers, and we have, of course, a very well qualified crew in the field that performs the work,” he said. “We have a marvelous team of people who are the best in their field. We are just a part of something bigger and I think my brother and I both feel very honored and fortunate to be surrounded by so many talented people who share our passion and love what they do. We love what we do, we love our clients and we love seeing and experiencing the transformation.”
The brothers have grown their business in East County since its establishment in 1984, and spend their days loving their work.
“The interesting thing about our business is that we are a design, build, remodeling contractor,” James said. “That means we design, and we conceptualize, everything that we build.”
James and Morris both grew up in downtown Pittsburg in their grandmother’s house, built by their grandfather in 1911. They lived there with their grandmother – affectionately referred to as Nana – their parents and two sisters. Morris, the eldest, learned the basics of design and architecture at Pittsburg High and Los Medanos College and entered the construction field in the 1970s. James, younger than Morris by 12 years, joined him in his work in 1981.
As the pair began to accept more and more remodeling contracts, they decided to go into the business officially and together formed Carey Bros. Remodeling, launching their business Jan. 1, 1984.
“When we began, our office was in a bedroom in my brother’s home in Pittsburg,” James recalled. “Things began to grow, the demand for our services increased, so my brother’s wife said she wanted us out of the bedroom, so we looked for a new home for our office.”
That new home ended up being the Liberty Hotel, also in Pittsburg, and built by their grandfather in 1921.
Business was good, and they soon moved into larger rooms at the front of the hotel, then increased their space again. In 1987, they moved into a light industrial area of Pittsburg where they created an office, showroom and warehouse that would be their home for three decades, until they moved the company to its present location in Brentwood. James and Morris had both moved to Brentwood by that time, so bringing the business made sense.
For more information on Carey Bros. Remodeling, or to book an estimate, call 877-734-6404 or visit https://careybros.com/.