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Bi-Fold Door from La Cantina Through Hudson Street Designs- pt 1

8 years ago

Thank God I used a dealer as recommended, Hudson St. Designs, to buy this door system- they had to intervene to get La Cantina to fix mistakes.

I was looking to replacing a 10-foot wide bay-window that looked out onto my new deck with some sort of door system. I was looking towards a bi-fold door or a very large French door system with functioning sidelights. There was lots of choices out there, and I went to lots of websites to get a feel for what was available. What I soon found out was this was not a standard purchase and could not compare each product equally, due to the differences in engineering (French doors with sidelights are supported by the door-frame vs. bi-fold doors are primarily suspended from above the top of the frame and require a super-rigid header like a thick laminate or even steel, along with supports that go down to the floor) This is not a weekender project, and most contractors in my area aren�t that familiar with the bi-fold experience. My contractor is a master carpenter, and I had a second master carpenter who would team up with primary guy when the door delivered. Due to the complexity of choices here (I�m not a slouch in researching , coordinating, communicating, and purchasing the proper materials, with careers in commercial fishing military Spec Ops, two stints at Stanford and currently practicing medicine)), I decided to go through a middleman door and window group to purchase this product, with the expectation that I had other doors and windows that needed to be replaced and this door and window specialty group would extend beyond this project. Also they would have samples that would help me make my decisions.
Enter Hudson Street Designs (HSD). I made an inquiry and was directed to Heather D at the Healdsburg Store, who helped me tremendously by listening to my parameters, giving me suggestions on brands and styles, making inquiries to different companies that my parameters. There were so many considerations, including which materials to have doors made in, type and UV protection with the glass, hardware,

I bought a $15K three-panel bi-fold door and screen/blind system that was manufactured by La Cantina Doors in San Diego, CA (screen system was made by Centor, out of Australia). As I did my research, Heather and I were communicating a few-times a week by phone, email, and text, as there was a lot to consider in this project. I even made a special trip to see Amy in the Napa store since they had a different style La-Cantina Door that was very similar to the one I would order. Amy stayed late to accommodate my work-schedule. They also mailed me samples of the screen and blind material so I could order it to match me home�s color scheme.

After many different iterations, I plunged in to pay $12K for a 10 foot, three panel bi-fold door (Man-door on the right, left two doors bi-folding) from La Cantina Door through Hudson Street, along with a $3K Centor interior mount screen/blind combination product. (pull from the right side it is a screen, and from the left side it is a blind that is somewhat able to allow air to flow through). Heather gets the order in, and the delivery date per La Cantina is slated as 20 August- a little less than two-months from the order.

As you can well guess, this is a complex operation, as the weight of the door I largely supported yb the header, requiring replacement of the header with a glue-laminate product, and support posts needed to be robust enough to support this new header plus the doors. As I learned, there is always te uneasy feeling for a contractor to order the new Glue-laminate material until the product arrives, to insure exact fit of the door, as the glue-laminate manufacturers don�t like to take back custom-made materials that will be replaced by an item that is a new size due to another company�s mis-calculation.

So, Heather from HSD queries La Cantina in the early part of August, lets me know that the door will be late by at least a week, and with contractors that means re-scheduling, and pushing out jobs on all fronts and probably is going to cost them money.

The doors arrive with the frame and the screen unit on August 27, and the doors and screen is correct, but the frame is someone else�s. Immediately have my contractor reach out to La Cantina, who was less than helpful (see my post regarding my dealings with La Cantina Door for more detail, to follow). La Cantina said this was a warranty issue, and tried to palm it off. Heather had to go up the chain of command for close to a week to get the correct frame built and sent. Needless to say, I had a hole in my house ten-feet-wide that my contractor built a temporary cover for, costing me more time and materials, and him a delay in starting his next job. The second door was missing a specialized hinge-which took another 4-days to receive from La Cantina Door.

When there were problems, Hudson Street Design jumped in and leveraged the solution, got me the right frame, and the missing hinge from La Cantina. There was NO mis-communication or issues with Hudson Street, and Heather deserve to be applauded for a superior job from start to finish, and I will be doing my window and other doors through them. This is not Big Box Store service where you better do most of your homework, and don�t get eyes-on the product until delivery- it is world�s better. Then again, there is a premium you pay for this type of service, but I can honestly say that Heather and Hudson Street insured that all materials finally installed were exactly built to spec, and followed up as expected. The 2-week delay due to

I have yet to review La Cantina Door, but I promise to put this out on Gardenweb, Yelp, and Angie�s, as this review is also landing there, too.

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