City Garden Studio

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Website | (415) 638-7198
1680 Oxford St, Berkeley, CA 94709, USA

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Within 4 miles (6.4km) of 1680 Oxford St, Berkeley, CA 94709, USA
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Google Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (6 total ratings)

Ayodeji Akintilo
5 Star
My family came to Helmina with our hopes and dreams of creating a self-sustaining small farm and vacation property. We didn't know where to begin or how to navigate land use processes. Helmina went the extra mile to connect with local officials and neighbors in our out-of-state land proposal. She researched and listened to our frequently conflicting goals to position our LLC properly and land development vision for long-term financial progress (and family harmony). Helmina created a Feasibility Report which included a clear summary of all the key factors for development, to include all regulatory requirements, process and forms along with site/climate/ geographic info. Since we were interested in sustainable development and universal design, she also included research on local resources for renewable energy and organic agriculture, as well as basic site design requirements for accessibility. This was all included at a reasonable rate. Our family thoroughly enjoyed working with Helmina on the project.
Friday 29th April 2022
Lorraine S
5 Star
In June of 2020, Helmina helped me on a backyard landscaping project that she co-desined with my son. Helmina made the plans, the installation of heavy groundwork was done and completed by the workers of my son. Helmina made the choices on the plants, professionally trimmed the trees and designed the Japanese rock garden. My son commented that Helmina's plans were easy to read and helped him to ensure that the installations were done correctly and professionally. He really liked her professionalism and commented to me that she has an eye for the details that were important to ensure that the back yard turned out so very nice! Not mention it very easy to maintain. Helmina even brought some of her own plants for my garden that was very much appreciated. I now have a beautiful backyard that my friends from my Gin Club to my fellow League of Women Voters thoroughly enjoy. It is now the most comfortable area on my property.
Friday 29th April 2022
Taylor West
5 Star
We (Humble Sea Brewing Co.) have worked with Helmina over the years and value her completeness with all of our questions and projects. Helmina is professional and makes a point to go above and beyond and research challenging topics on our behalf. Working with Helmina has been a win for the company, and we look forward to a growing working partnership.
Thursday 5th May 2022
Grace Lean
1 Star
Inexperienced and unprofessional Through the recommendation of our contractor, we hired Helmina to help us with design and landscape work, however, she ended up putting herself in the role of doing builds even though she knew we had our contractor lined up. Further to that, the contractor wouldn't provide estimates on the items she has quoted which gave her a monopoly on the pricing on the project. We were placed in a very awkward situation as it almost appeared as if the designer and contractor had been colluding. Further to that, working with Helmina has been the epitome of hidden surcharges. She overthinks everything and pays attention to detail that doesn't matter or add value. She went out of her way to ask questions with the contractor, however, she subsequently surprised us with an additional bill without any previous communication that she was going to charge us for each and every phone call, email and text message she sends to either us or the contractor. She did the same for asking questions to the City of Berkeley. Considering she's based in Berkeley, which I thought was the benefit to hiring someone local, she should be more familiar with city policy and even if she didn't, we shouldn't be charged for her to learn on the job. It was quite incredible to see that Helmina was not willing to accept there's a cost to doing business. The time for her to complete phase one, which is to design the overall schematic, was done in a rather timely fashion. However, when it came time for phase two, it took her 5 months to complete the finishing details and drawings we needed for the build. Aside from being frustrated over how long it took to complete phase 2, I received the final deliverable and invoice on a Friday. I acknowledged receipt of the completed work and asked a question about the invoice the day after. On the following Monday, she then harassed me for payment and wrote this ridiculously long email explaining how much unpaid time she spent in providing us with proposals (not even the designs themselves!), a matter which completely came out of the blue considering it was less than a business day since I had been invoiced. Apparently Helmina spent all her unpaid time pulling together proposals and overthinking things so when it came time to actually reviewing her work, we were already working at a time deficit. At almost every stage in working with her, she kept badgering us on how we've technically run out of hours before we were even able to provide feedback for the first round of reviews. If you're willing to be patient in working with someone who likes to overthink the details and be told what your design should be without you providing much input, perhaps Helmina can do the job for you, but be careful of all the hidden charges she'll likely spring on you. Make sure to have pricing sorted out upfront!
Monday 28th February 2022
Elizabeth Johnson
5 Star
Helmina did designs to remodel my SF apt and worked with SF Building Dept for permit approval. She did design and provided all the architecture diagrams to my contractor for opening up 4 rooms to a large open kitchen and living room space and also designs for adding a full bathroom. She did a great job and was wonderful to work with.
Wednesday 1st June 2022