5 On Your Side

Crews Fix Couple's Botched Remodeling Job

Posted August 20, 2007 6:23 p.m. EDT
Updated August 20, 2007 6:26 p.m. EDT

— Dozens of volunteers have donated about $90,000 in materials and labor in the past few weeks to remodel a local couple's house after an unlicensed contractor left the project in shambles.

Carol McPhaul hired John Shearer and his company, Home Remodeling Solutions, a year ago to make the home more accessible for her – she is legally blind – and her husband, George, who is recovering from a stroke and is on oxygen therapy.

Shearer received almost $125,000 from the couple, but left them with unfinished rooms, holes in the floor and live wires dangling from the ceiling.

After seeing the McPhauls' story on WRAL, Mike Marguerat of Landmark Construction began organizing an effort to fix the couple's home. More than 100 volunteers, many just walking up to lend a hand, have worked almost around the clock in recent days to complete the job.

"I 'll walk around, and I'll find people I haven't even met yet doing a job. They just drive up and jump in wherever, so it's been great," Marguerat said.

The volunteers are from area churches, large companies, small businesses – even a motorcycle group, he said.

Volunteer Ron Covert said got involved after seeing the McPhauls' story on WRAL.

"It did my heart well to come out here and lend a hand, even though it was just a very small hand. To be apart of it is truly a blessing," Colvert said.

Uneven, unfinished cabinets and nonworking appliances in the kitchen have been repaired. A 600-square-foot bedroom has been added to the house, including a handicapped-accessible closet and bathroom.

"I'm blown away, really, blown completely away," said Carol McPhaul, who has seen the renovations only from the outside.

The crews will hold an unveiling for the McPhauls on Thursday, Marguerat said.

"Now, I cry and I'm happy. Before, I was crying, and I was sad," Carol McPhaul said.

The state Attorney General's Office sued Shearer last month, accusing him of deceptive and unfair trade practices. A judge barred Shearer, who doesn't have a North Carolina contractor's license, from doing other remodeling projects.

Shearer has disputed the allegations in the state's lawsuit.