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A Custom Home On A Golf Course Completes

By Scott A.Sumner
    The finishing touches are under way on our house.  This is an exciting time as you get to see the real outcome of all your choices.  I think it must be a nice part of the job for the subtrades as well as they are seeing the finished product.
    Heikki Rajamaki has been in the exterior siding business for 10 years on his own and 20 years in total.  He and his staff are applying the James hardy board exterior finish.  "James Hardy board is a solid product, made of concrete originally for the California area with the forest fire situation there.  It is quite a bit more work putting the material up, but we are getting usedit,' states Heikki.  "It is tougher to cut than vinyl.  We have done about 6 to 12 houses in James Hardy board so far in Thunder Bay.  Building is good in Thunder Bay and we have 6 or 7 guys in the company."
      I think a security alarm is important in your home for many reasons.  Dennis LeBlanc is President of Bay Lock & Security.  "You can take a proactive approach to protecting your assets and not a reactive approach, waiting until a breech of security happens.  Systems today basically come in two types.  You have the more common designed for when you are not at home interior with the motion detection devices which pick up movement in the home.  They can cover a large area so one sensor can cover a computer room, a master bedroom or an entire living area.  By strategically locating a small quantity of sensors you can cover the home in its entirety."  states Dennis LeBlanc.
    The other systems are preentry systems where the alarm goes off before someone goes into the home which means protecting every window and door, along with the use of motion detectors.  The costs are sometimes double or triple the initial system.  You are also still susceptable to the glass unless you protecting all the glass which means your costs are often five times that of a regular system.
     "Most people want systems for when they are not at home to protect your asset when you are not there.  The other systems are designed for when you are at home and you can turn the system on at night,' notes LeBlanc.  "One of the other things that is becoming very complimentary to the alarm is monitoring the smoke detectors, the change in temperature and sump pumps."  The sump pump alarm will detect if water levels rise to where they shouldn't be and the monitoring station will report we have a sump pump alarm, at which time you can have qualified contractors on your call list to be contacted.  So when you are away for a winter vacation you can call in your plumber or heating contractor.  Insurance may cover a lot of these things but you are taking a pro active approach of identifying the problem before it turns into a potentially large insurance claim as well as hassle.
        "The last thing you want to be doing, especially in a new home, is re gut it and replace drywall and plumbing.  It is a mess.  All systems now a days are capable of being monitored through the internet with cameras being integrated.  High speed is imperative with web based video as you are looking at live images of your home.  You can be at the office and see what is happening at you home with the cameras.  The systems are a little bit more money, but the prices have come down phenomenally,' states LeBlanc.  "We have done many systems like this in the city.  You can see the live activity going on at any time.  It has come a long way with the cost dropping 30% in the last 12 months.  You are able to give the tools to a person to monitor what is happening at their home or business.  The images are recorded on a hard drive so you can go back up to 6 months and see the images at a set time on a set camera.  At night the camera is infrared so it allows some vision and at day light it changes to colour.  You can have several hard drives and be able to keep a lot of data for months.  If you have a cash register for example you can record with a camera what happens at your till with the money or a credit card.  In business there is a lot of trust with numbers.  If you were missing some funds out of the till you can see all the days activities recorded."
    Much else is happening now as the home construction is coming to an end.  We had Emilio who works quite often for Bruno's do all the trim which involves hanging the doors as well.  He is a craftsman and it is an important part to the overall look of your home.  The baseboard trim is painted and left to apply once the flooring is down.  Painter Bob of Piero's Painting began his work which involved a primer and then 2 or more coats of paint.  Designer Lori had chosen earth tone colours and coded it on the floor plan for the painter to follow.  There is really a skill involved in painting well and I'm glad we had Bob of Piero's on the job.  Lori had the ceiling a light look, the dining and kitchen area darker with a matching tint to the kitchen granite counter top.  The master bedroom was a little darker and the remaining walls slightly lighter with a even lighter doors and trim.  It looks very good to me.  Alexander's Carpet installed our two bedrooms with rug.  Alexander's staff member Robyn, Lori and myself choose a nice looking carmel colour with a textured pattern which gives a richness and matches well with the hardwood and ceramic tile.  Intercity Ceramic Tile staff installed the two bathrooms, laundry room and entrance off the garage with a great looking ceramic tile.  Again colours are everything here so you have to select wisely.  Lastly Ron Ventrudo and his staff at Lockwood installed a great looking birch hardwood.  We choose to do the main entrance way, hallways, living room, kitchen and dining area as well as den.  I had seen the exact hardwood installed in one of the town house display units at Whitewater and it looked great there.  I think it will give a clean, modern look and is really the trend of the future in new home construction.  It took quite a bit of effort to finally choose this wood and stain but it will be rich.  We will use 850 square feet of hardwood in the home.  The cabinets are installed by Rizzo's and look great.  The maple clear stain gives a modern IKEA kind of look and with the stainless steel appliances and hardware look very nice.  Our GE appliances from Reid's Countrywide had been here in Thunder Bay in storage for quite some time and found their home.  Rizzo's were able to custom fit their cabinets to the exact appliance and the end result is you get a great look.
  The plumbing fixture as are installed and  finished by Geralomi.  Electrical outlets are completed and wired up and covers placed.  We chose our electrical fixtures and this is one of the last decisions to make I guess.  A learning point here is to pick them earlier in the process as some for our house will not come in to January 31/06!  Exterior wise the garage door has finally arrived after a two month wait.  It was a custom order because of the 9 foot ceilings, colour and embedded windows.  The James Hardy board exterior was finished by Heikki Siding and Darren and Chris.  This was quite an involved job and we decided the look of the taupe exterior which matched exactly to the window covers looked rich against the light soffit and fascia.  No further trim would be required so the home looks good.  My contract to build this house was signed July 19, 2005 and some five months later we are almost finished.  The outside landscaping and air conditioner installation will have to wait to the spring.  The exterior entrance doors will be painted a darker taupe as well when the spring time comes along.  There will be lots of little things to clean up, interior wise, but we have a great home to live in just before Christmas.  I would like to thank all the suppliers and subtrades who worked on the project.  They number over 20 and Bruno's Contracting have assembled a great team that work on some 20 homes a year together.  My designer Lori helped make the end result so good with some great decisions along the way.  She especially made the task less daunting for me providing good advice all along the way.  I have to thank Silvio DiGregorio for starting the project along with me at the planning stage and providing such a great location for an avid golfer like myself to build a home.  The Whitewater Golf Course is truely a world class place.  I can tell from playing so many great courses in North America recently.  It being in Thunder Bay is amazing and took foresight, guts and a lot of money to accomplish.  Lastly I would like to thank John Simperel of Bruno's.  He did an amazing job, especially knowing he had over 20 homes on the go this summer.  John is always calm, cool and collected going about his business in a fun way.  He made the process much easier and the end result excellent.
 I hope you have picked up some good information on building your own home starting from a blank sheet of paper.  I recommend the process and know you will learn as much as I did along the way.  In the end you will get a home in which you can be proud!

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