How a high-flying couple moved
to the country in modern style

It’s been more than a year since Scott and Rita moved into their dream home just outside of Shelburne, Ont., and they still can’t help smiling every time they walk through the door.
From the stately fireplace in the great room to the airy open-concept kitchen, every part of the house feels like a feature that they carefully chose for themselves.

Because that’s exactly what they did.

Their spacious single-story house—a modern design that blends in perfectly with its country lot—wasn’t a chance discovery on the market. It was the product of a specific vision they’d been honing for years. “My dad’s family’s from the area, and I spent a lot of time here in the summers,” says Scott, whose career takes him far and wide as a corporate pilot for a private charter company. “I decided to buy property up here years ago with my father, and we divided the lot.”

Scott’s dad built a home on his portion of the property in 2004, and for years, the other half sat vacant as an investment. But as his father began to age, the couple felt it was time to be closer. Not only could they be nearby when he needed help, but since they were both in the city, they knew he’d love pitching in with the project when they couldn’t be on site. “We started building right after Covid hit,” Scott says. “And just when we finished a year later, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. So it was almost like I had a feeling that it was time to do something before he was gone.”

“Let’s just do it,” Scott says. “And I’m glad we did, because a month later the prices of everything just went crazy.”

Creating family memories was important to the couple, but their timing also had a practical benefit. With Covid cases on the rise, the prices of building materials would soon follow suit. “We were about to build, but when Covid hit, we delayed for a couple of months. And then we thought, ‘Let’s just do it,’” Scott says. “And I’m glad we did, because a month later the prices of everything just went crazy.”

Luckily for the couple, price increases were never a concern, even as costs skyrocketed with supply chains in disarray.

Thanks to Beaver Homes & Cottages’ Exclusive Material Package Guarantee, they knew their costs were locked in at 
pre-Covid rates, and they could trust that there would be no surprises. “The package program is really great because it guarantees people a price, which takes a lot of stress away from the build right from the start,” says Beaver Homes & Cottages Design Consultant Katie Reinelt. “It also guarantees the materials, and it’s versatile. It’s not like you look at the 
book and you have to buy that home as-is.”

Of course, rising costs weren’t the only concern for anyone building a new home during the past few years. Those shortages also meant that building schedules went way off kilter, leading to delays and extra costs. That’s where Katie’s expertise really came in handy. “With all the chaos in the world, I’ve been able to sit at my desk and confidently tell people that I’ve had no supply chain issues,” Katie says. “I can get them their materials on time.”

And since Scott and Rita had bought nearly all of their supplies through the Shelburne HomeHardware Building Centre, they could rely on Katie to act as their control tower, ensuring that everything landed smoothly. “She was totally on top of it. She knew what was arriving and when, and she made sure everything was on schedule,” Rita says. Thanks to Katie and the rest of the team, they knew they had to order certain things way ahead of time. “In any other scenario, we would have ordered our windows shortly before we needed them,” Scott adds. “But with Katie’s help, we knew we had to order them before we even broke ground, and we had them at exactly the right time to install them.”

The other plus of working with Katie and crew was the ability to choose a model and then customize it to the couple’s liking. After picking up the Beaver Homes & Cottages Design Book during a visit to Home Hardware, they quickly landed on the Bellevue model for its modern feel and single-story convenience. But they also had a clear view of the changes they wanted to make. For Rita, whose career in purchasing was tethered to Toronto, making full use of the backyard was crucial. “You don’t really get to do that in the city,” she says. “So we added a full-size deck that goes right across the back of the house. And we added an outdoor fireplace with a TV to enjoy the outdoors.”

They also added a fireplace and heated floors in the bathroom, while structural upgrades included building a walk-out basement and moving an entire wall at one end of the home. “The original design of the house had a ‘bump out’ on one side. But we gave the whole house an extra foot on that side to make the space more practical,” Scott explains.

For Rita, the main concern was adding a bigger kitchen. “I have a small kitchen in the city, so I wanted something big and open-concept with lots of room to move around,” she says. “Having a seven-foot island was a definite must, and we customized it so there’s a built-in microwave underneath. We also made the wine rack face out so you can see it when you walk in.”

Throughout the design process, Scott and Rita used the Virtual Design Centre on the Beaver Homes & Cottages website to see how their vision would come to life. “Being able to flip the design and add elements was so helpful,” Rita says. 
But even though they had a clear idea of what they wanted, Katie often found ways to elevate their ideas. “The way that Katie designed everything was a perfect fit for what we hoped to accomplish,” Rita says. “She knew what we wanted, and if she knew there was something we had in mind, she would add her expertise and find a way to make it even better,”

The couple also loved having the freedom to be involved in the actual building process. “When I wasn’t on the road, I helped out as much as I could, because I wanted to learn how to do that stuff,” says Scott, who did a lot of the work with the help of a contractor friend. “After working in the city all week, I’d come up on the weekends and see all the changes as it came together,”Rita adds. “It was so exciting to picture where I’d put things when the building was done.”

And when Rita was stuck in the city and Scott was in the air, they knew they could count on Katie as a copilot to keep things running smoothly—especially since she and her team knew the area so well. “The communication is totally different with Beaver Homes,” Scott says. “It’s not like going into a big box store. Whenever we walked in, the staff knew who we were. They promised a hometown experience, and that’s absolutely what they delivered.”

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