Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Picture Perfect Package

“At first we were looking to buy an existing home,” Connie Nickerson explains about her plans with husband Barry Cole. “But we didn’t see anything we liked. Then we started thinking, why buy someone else’s home. We’re just going to tear it apart and rebuild it anyway. Let’s build our own right from the start.”

Connie and Barry knew this from experience. The home they wanted to move out of was modular and, in the time they lived there, they had modified it extensively - practically rebuilding it - to suit their specific desires.

Once the decision to build was made “things just fell into place,” says Connie. They were suddenly given an offer too good to turn down. “The piece of land next door to us was put up for sale and the real estate agent contacted us to see if we were interested.” Since oceanfront property in the area never lasts long, Connie and Barry jumped at the opportunity. The wedge-shaped, heavily wooded, five-acre lot was the perfect location for a new home, situated on a hill with a majestic view down to the Atlantic. Plus, it was convenient for Connie and Barry to live in their old house next door and supervise the construction.

Then the search for a suitable home plan began. After an extensive search through numerous magazines and brochures, the couple found their way to Buck’s Home Building Centre in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.

It was there that Connie and Barry found the right home for them: the 2300 square foot, one-storey Sinclair in Home Hardware’s Beaver Homes & Cottages Design Book. “The Sinclair had everything we wanted in terms of space and layout,” says Connie. At Buck’s, the couple also found Peter Biddle, who helped them plan and price their project and who also helped with the modifications Connie and Barry wanted.

“Peter helped us out tremendously,” Connie says. “He’s the one we leaned on the most. The three of us put our heads together and there was a lot of talking and a lot of thought put into revising the plans.” Numerous modifications and upgrades came out of these brainstorming sessions. The wall between the master bedroom and the second bedroom was removed, creating a wonderfully spacious master suite. The en suite bathroom was extended by two feet. Interior doors through the house were changed to French doors to let in more sunlight. Exterior French doors also replaced the sliding patio doors leading outside from both the Master bedroom and the dinette. Pocket French doors now separate the family room from the rest of the house.

In order to maximize the home’s stunning ocean view, the great room window was replaced with a much larger 151-inch plate glass window with sidelights that open. Connie and Barry even added a patio that, while not included in the original plans, was also a Home Hardware design.

Peter made a significant contribution as well when Connie and Barry’s previous house didn’t sell as quickly as they’d hoped. The foundation for the new home had already been poured, but Peter suggested the couple put a hold on construction to relieve the pressure until a buyer had been found.

The foundation was covered using traditional methods, but this proved insufficient in the face of coastal wind and rain. “At first, water was getting in to the basement,” Peter says, “but then we came up with an idea that worked.” Being beside the Atlantic Ocean inspired an innovative solution. “We decided to try a boat covering. We put that over the foundation and it worked perfectly.”

Soon after, Connie and Barry’s old house sold. The closing date meant that construction timelines on the new home were tight. Construction began on May 15, and Connie and Barry had to be out of their old home by July 30.

Once again, Peter Biddle proved a strong asset. “I always recommend a few different contractors,” Peter says, “so that customers can interview them and pick the one they feel they can work with best.” Connie and Barry chose Darrell Wentzell Carpentry and couldn’t have been happier.

“The carpenter was excellent,” Connie says with enthusiasm. “We’d recommend him to anyone. In fact, from our front window we can see him working on his next job, building a lighthouse museum.” Barry concurs with Connie’s assessment. As a retired electrician, he has been on countless construction projects and has seen everything that can go wrong on job sites. He found nothing to worry about through the entire process. “It was the cat’s meow, like they say. The home is well planned and designed and everything just fell together like a jigsaw puzzle,” Barry says. “We’re very proud of this home.”

“It’s lovely and quiet, “Connie adds. “You can’t even hear the rain when it’s raining. It’s a really well built house.”

For Peter Biddle and Buck’s Home Building Centre, such customer satisfaction is the ideal outcome. “Our job is to take the stress away from the customer,” Peter says. “All they have to do is pick up the phone and call us and ask to have the job done. My greatest satisfaction at the end of a job is shaking hands with the customer and asking if they got everything they wanted.”

In the case of Connie Nickerson and Barry Cole, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”