Monday, February 06, 2017

A Smooth Landing

Bruce Durrer has had his share of smooth landings over the course of his career as an Air Canada pilot but possibly none could have been smoother than building his dream home with Beaver Homes and Cottages. Bruce and his wife Sally said the task was the most rewarding experience of their life. “We were building our dream home and it was a dream to build,” said Sally. “The whole experience actually brought us even closer together!”

Bruce and Sally started their journey back in November of 2015 when they knew they wanted to tear down their old cottage in favour of a new home. While going through many design books and not finding the plan of their dreams, they stumbled across the Beaver Homes and Cottages catalogue while shopping at their local Home Hardware Building Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario. Blown away with the quality and the amount of home plans within the catalogue and website (, Bruce and Sally zeroed in on the Beauport II model. “The home was the perfect size” said Sally, “It was big enough to host our kids and grandkids when visiting but not too big where it’s too tough to keep up”. Although it was the perfect size and feel, they just wished they could make a couple of little changes. That’s where their Beaver Homes and Cottages Consultant, Jim Lewis, came into help.

“The common perception with 99% of the clients who I see believe that the plan is the plan” says Lewis. “That couldn’t be the further from the truth and I want to make sure the Durrers understood that this is their dream home, and we want to make sure it’s perfect for them…so, if you want something changed from the original plan, just ask.” Armed with this new found flexibility, the Durrers added a substantial amount of windows to the back of the Beauport II so that they could enjoy their beautiful view of Lake Huron and their backyard. As Bruce points out, “Flexibility is a key word when building any Beaver Home and Cottage. Flexible on design, flexible on product, flexible on the contractors…that’s what made working with this program so appealing”.

Wanting to be heavily involved with the project, the Durrers decided to become the general contractor for this build and hired a local contractor/close friend to help administer and facilitate the hiring of local trades. Never shying away from work themselves, Bruce and Sally decided to pour in a little of their own sweat equity into their home. Knowing that tradespeople do great work and are expensive talent, they instructed their trades to purely just do their work and that they would clean up the worksite at the end of the day to ensure a safe working environment the next day. “This kept them doing what they are paid to do and stay productive…this would help us keep on schedule” says Bruce. “Whether it was painting trim or running to the store for extra supplies, we did it to keep the project moving and on time”. Bruce also acknowledged another key factor that kept production on schedule was that Beaver Homes and Cottages program guarantees that product is sent in stages so that there is no “down” time.

The Durrers also paid heavy attention as to what product was included in the standard home package purchased and decided to upgrade some of the products. “We switched out the standard batt insulation in favour of spray foam and upgraded the standard vinyl siding to Mabec wood siding. We also upgraded the stairs and trim, and what a difference this has made to the personality of our house,” says Bruce. “What really blew my mind is how we were able to incorporate a piece of driftwood that Sally and I found on the beach one day and use this as our mantel on the stone fireplace…that meant a lot to us,” Bruce added.

The wide range of products available through Port Elgin Home Hardware Building Centre was also an asset for the couple. “I would say around 95% of the products in this home came from Home Hardware! From the paint to bathroom vanities to our beautiful kitchen! Lori from the kitchen department was fantastic!” said an excited Bruce. The Durrers comment on how they felt like family with all the staff at the store and particularly their Home Consultant Jim Lewis. Sighting a delay in production with a window manufacturer, Jim kept production rolling by tarping and applying plywood in the open areas (at no cost) so that they could begin to put up the dry wall. “Jim went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure our project went smoothly. He was amazing and we now consider him a friend…he’s been back several times since we took occupancy.”

The Durrers can hardly believe that two very ordinary people like themselves could accomplish such a feat as building their own home. But with expert advice of the Beaver Homes and Cottages program, it was one of the easiest things they had ever done. “We have an even stronger attachment to our home because WE did it” said Sally. Bruce added, “to have a smooth landing, you first have to take flight…and we are so glad we took that flight with Beaver Homes and Cottages.”

“I would say around 95% of the products in this home came from Home Hardware! From the paint to bathroom vanities to our beautiful kitchen! Lori from the kitchen department was fantastic!”