(This is Part 1 of a two-part series. See Part 2: Homeowners create hell for contractors.) "I can't recommend anyone," an acquaintance who had been living in her house during a remodel for much of the past year told me when I asked her to name a good contractor. She shuddered. "I really can't." The look on her face said, "Don't go there," and so I didn't. Later, with a little prodding, she told me about how her once-beloved dream home had become a disaster zone: "My friends say it's like we're living in Beirut." A single mom who raised a teenage son and daughter as a fitness instructor and a preschool teacher working double shifts in San Francisco's hard-bitten Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, Melissa Carrington is hardly a leisure-class homeowner who arrogantly complains about "those...
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