Tuesday, December 02, 2014

A Perfect Eastern Ontario Escape

When a couple decides to leave the hectic pace of Toronto and return to their rural roots in Eastern Ontario, it's only natural that they would buy land in an idyllic setting. With a view of a gorgeous, clear lake to one side and acres of undisturbed forest to the other, that's exactly the spot that one couple found for themselves. The key was finding the right home to build there. It was by chance that they found the inspiration for that home at the Atkinson Home Building Centre, with locations in Kingston and Hartington, Ontario.

"We had no idea that Home Building Centre dealers sold houses," they said. Then, while in the store to make some routine purchases, the couple noticed a sign advertising the Home & Cottages Design Book. "We bought the book, took it home, went through it in detail and found the home we liked."

Their chosen model, the Rosseau, appealed to them as a home "that suited the environment in which we were building. We didn't want something that would look too urban, or modern or in any way out of place in such a beautiful setting." With its stone fa├žade, expansive wooden deck, hardwood floors, vaulted living room ceiling and stunning fireplace, the home is very much the picture of a relaxing, rustic retreat.


Close as the Rosseau was to their ideal vision, there were still modifications to the plans that could be made to suit the specific situation. "We had built houses before," the couple points out, "and we already had our own design done but it was going to be too expensive to finish the way we wanted." By comparison, building a home through Home Building Centre was very affordable.

"Once we had the design picked, we called the store and inquired about the details. The man we spoke with, Wayne Sayeau, was very polite and courteous, and the price was quite reasonable."

Even though the couple felt the house design was the right one for their future and their property, there was one significant adjustment that had to be made before anything else could happen.

"We turned the house around," they say. "We reversed it so that the dormers and all the windows in the house are looking out over the lake. That's actually the front of the house, but the style is such that you could use either side as the front. It just made sense to us that, beautiful as the forest is, the view over the lake is spectacular and we didn't want to give that up."

In addition to turning the house in the direction of their choosing, a larger window was added to the parlour to enhance the lake view further still.

Although many people choose to have their homes built through their local Home dealers, using Home-approved contractors and craftspeople, this couple wanted to do the work themselves. Using their previous experiences in home building, they made numerous changes to take maximum advantage of the lakefront location, and also to modify the interior to suit their lifestyle to the greatest advantage.

"The plan called for a ground floor laundry room that backed on to the den. We prefer a laundry room on the second floor. So we expanded the den to take over much of the laundry room space, and converted the rest of the laundry room space into a small powder room.

"On the second floor, we took space that was planned to be used for a linen closet and also a small nook from one of the bedrooms and created a laundry room."

In addition, closet sizes were altered to create more space in the bedrooms and other smaller modifications were made allowing two people to find their perfect escape in Eastern Ontario.


Since they were living in Toronto while building their house in the country, construction could only take place on weekends. That posed specific problems for people undertaking such a complex and difficult task. For example, what do you do with the building materials from one week to the next?

"Wayne is just such a wonderful person," the home builders say about Atkinson Home Building Centre's Wayne Sayeau. "He worked with us. He understood that our situation was unique in that we could work only a couple of days a week. So Wayne held the material for us and delivered it to our job site on an as-needed basis." The couple was quick to point out that, while what was done for them was specific to their needs, they're not the only people who benefited from such creative assistance. "They work with all their customers to accommodate different circumstances and that just made it so much better for us." This system helped ease the tension of the construction process which, under less ideal conditions, can be fraught with stress and aggravation.

Would this couple, with their lakeside refuge now complete, recommend to other people that they, too, build their home or cottage with Home Building Centre's plans, materials and assistance. The two are unanimous and emphatic, "Yes, we would."

Looking at their beautiful home, nestled in the sunshine between trees and lake, it's easy to understand why.