Tuesday, February 19, 2019

New Home, New Baby, New Beginning



The Hartland plan was perfect, not only for their growing family but for their future. As a farming family they wanted this to be where they would raise their family and they knew they would be here for years to come.

From Andrew and Heather Towns’ kitchen window, the neighboring dairy farm is in view while the land they farm and nearby fields spread as far as the eye can see. They’ve just said good-bye to family and friends who gathered here for the holidays and Christmas dinner. This is their dream home where they love holding family gatherings... but it was only two years ago that the family farmhouse standing on this very spot and everything they owned was lost in a fire.

It’s been a whirlwind of changes for this young family who have come full circle in 24 months from the fire, to the birth of their son Landon, to the rebuilding of their home and their lives.

Heather and Andrew lived in the family farmhouse in Norwood when fire struck taking almost everything they owned. Everything, except the support of family and friends and a whole community.

Norwood is a small rural farming town just northeast of Peterborough, where everyone knows each other by name. In the spirit of a barn-raising from decades past, the community banded together to help this family in need bringing everything from food and blankets to toothbrushes. “One neighbor even offered their farmhouse to us to live in... we received unbelievable support. It was such a humbling experience”, explains Heather.

When the smoke settled they knew it was time to rebuild. Andrew, a long-time fan of Beaver Homes & Cottages, knew where to find the plans for their home. Almost instantly, their hearts settled on the Hartland. It was so similar to their lost farmhouse that there was no question this would be their new home. Even the artist’s rendering setting it in farmland, surrounded by pastures, reflected their own property in the countryside of east-central Ontario in Peterborough County.

Their first and only call was to Chemong Home Hardware Building Centre in Peterborough where the Beaver Homes & Cottages Program is offered. Consultant Wayne Sellars was there to answer their questions and walk them through the home building process.

They developed an immediate rapport and a bond of trust with Wayne. He put together the package with one price, which was especially helpful with budgeting and when dealing with insurance issues. Standard features were impressive and considerably upgraded from what was expected, making them perfect for their needs. They customized their home by adding pine trim for a rustic look and Chemong Home Hardware Building Centre designed the kitchen as well. By May, construction had begun.

With decades of experience building homes and working with families under many different circumstances, Wayne remembers the Towns’ very well. “They’d lost everything right before Christmas and yet they had such a positive attitude and just wanted to move forward. They were a breath of fresh air.”

The Towns’ hired all their construction trades from the local area. “We wanted to give back to the community for being so supportive of us.” The entire process was seamless. Supplies were delivered by Chemong Home Hardware Building Centre as needed. The Beaver Homes & Cottages’ capability to send product in stages was key so there was no downtime and no storage issues, ensuring construction remained on schedule.

“We work with the same suppliers and know their lead times so we’ve got our finger on the pulse when it comes to ordering supplies. That keeps everything right on time,” explains Wayne.

Heather and Andrew agree that building their home themselves through Beaver Homes & Cottages and Home Hardware Building Centre was one of the best experiences of their lives. Another past customer of Wayne’s passionately agrees that building with Beaver Homes and Cottages is as stress-free as it comes.

The Hartland plan was perfect, not only for their growing family but for their future. As a farming family, they wanted this to be where they would raise their family and they knew they would be here for years to come. With this in mind, the main floor master suite and laundry were ideal. “We can age in the house so it can accommodate our needs years down the road,” says Heather.

Tough decisions along the way? Not a one. “Wayne, Beaver Homes & Cottages and Home Hardware Building Centre made it so easy for us.” Andrew’s parents live and farm from the neighboring property where they stayed during construction, making it convenient for Heather to take on the role of general contractor. She had a great vantage point and was always accessible for instant decision-making.

“We loved the plan as it was so we didn’t have too many changes,” says Heather. One request was for a walkout basement. “Wayne said it was ‘not a problem’ and drew in the change within five minutes.” Since it changed the elevation of the back of the house, he suggested adding a porch to the master bedroom and a new balance was achieved. Other minor changes were also made, something that is frequently done and is included as part of a Beaver Homes & Cottages Package.

The Towns’ now enjoy this modern re-creation of the home they lost but without the creaks and squeaks of their previous farmhouse. This is where the Towns family have farmed the land for decades past and will continue on for years to come. Giving her stamp of approval is Andrew’s grandmother, matriarch of the family and of the home that was lost. “She loves it, and that says a lot,” says Andrew.

By the end of the year, every special occasion had been hosted by Andrew and Heather, with plenty of space for overnight guests. “It gives us a great feeling to be able to host all these family dinners in this wonderful home,” says Heather. “Most family members talk about moving in or building their own Beaver Home. In fact, Andrew’s parents are looking through plans right now, with talk of moving in with the ‘neighbors’ while it’s being built.”

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