Bonny Weil Case Study

Bonny Weil didn’t set out to become a contractor. In fact, she headed to UCLA in the late 1970s as a psychology major. But soon after discovering that the path wasn’t the right one for her, a career-fair booth on women in the trades sparked a realization in Weil that working with her hands was where she needed to be.

And so began a career that wound from construction technology classes at Santa Monica College to an apprenticeship as a union carpenter in San Francisco to working her way through ever-more-challenging remodeling and reconstruction projects. Throughout that time, Weil continued to expand her skillset through both education and experience. “When I first started working in the contracting industry, my biggest challenge was education—battling my fears came a close second,” she recalls.

Like other female contractors, Weil was frequently mistaken for a homeowner on the jobsite, but she continued to push forward and break through barriers, operating under the mantra of “No limits, no compromises.” Today, her award-winning Martinez, Calif.-based firm specializes in remodeling projects ranging from kitchens and baths to exterior overhauls to full additions. With each, Weil applies a combination of technical expertise, commitment to quality, and a true passion for her craft that has earned the respect and word-of-mouth reputation from members of the community.

Weil’s “no compromises” attitude is reaping other tangible rewards. Among her accomplishments are awards from the California Redwood Association and the Berkeley (Calif.) Architectural Heritage Association, as well as project features in books and magazines. And, perhaps most important of all, abounding accolades from customers.

“Bonny is a quality contractor and a master communicator,” says one former homeowner. “She uses high-quality materials, is thorough, stays on calendar and budget, and has high expectations for her workers.”

Refurbished Ranch
One of Weil’s latest projects was the full exterior remodel of a ’70s-era ranch home in Orinda, Calif. Nestled in a wooded, hilly suburb, the home’s dated T-1-11 siding and uninviting entryway stuck out in a neighborhood of recently refurbished houses. Worse, its three decks were crumbling and the single-pane windows were far from efficient.

Weil embarked on a complete overhaul, including a major upgrade to the entry that shifted the oppressive shed roof to a Craftsman-inspired, post-and-beam gable, lined underneath with redwood, and new lighting. The three decks, along the front entrance and each side, were replaced with wood-look composite decking and upgraded decorative railings.

For the cladding, the contractor introduced the homeowners to Nichiha fiber cement Sierra Premium Shake as a low-maintenance, more affordable alternative to wood shingles. “Not only did I like putting it up, my carpenters liked it,” Weil says. “It looks good, it’s easy to install.”

Indeed, with its deep grooves and keyways and eye-popping shadows, the Nichiha fiber cement shakes offered the wood look the homeowner’s craved yet provided the durability to stand up to the daily direct hits of California sun.

A quick trip to a four-year-old installation, still looking as good as the day Weil installed it, was all it took to convince the clients it was the right choice. “We often have neighbors approach us just to talk about our siding because they just can’t believe how immaculate it looks,” says homeowner Roger Pettey. “The neighbors are really impressed with the minimal maintenance and are now interested in Nichiha’s fiber cement siding for their own homes.”

The resulting changes throughout the exterior can be felt both aesthetically and functionally, from the tremendous improvement in curb appeal to the safe, expansive decks worthy of entertaining to improved overall efficiency. And for Weil, it’s one more showcase of a three-decade commitment to quality, excellence, and a love of the craft.


Not only are the homeowners pleased with the revitalized facade, their neighbors are equally impressed and have expressed interest in cladding their homes with Nichiha.


Sierra Premium Shake offered the wood look the homeowners wanted. A quick trip to a previous project allowed them to see the product's authenticity and durability in action.


In upgrading the exterior of their '70s-era ranch house, the homeowners desired a cedar-like exterior that would blend with the existing neighborhood and wooded surroundings.

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