Retirement to a custom-built cottage country home is a beautiful dream, and an incredibly smooth experience when you work with Beaver Homes & Cottages, according to Mary Ann and Randy. The couple began retirement planning back in 2015, and always knew they wanted to spend their golden years in Ontario’s cottage country.

“We had options to renovate, demolish, and rebuild on an existing family cottage near Washago, or look for suitable real estate.”

A sentimental connection to the pie-shaped family property, and a friendship with local builder Charles Chartrand of Chartrand Carpentry, made the decision easy, and by spring 2017, plans were set in place to build from scratch. “Charles had worked with a few of Home Building Centre’s clients before, and spoke highly of their customer service, along with their one-stop design and quality materials package approach,” says Randy. And while the couple interviewed two other home builder / materials package suppliers, they ultimately chose Beaver Homes & Cottages after their first in-store meeting.

“Our Beaver Design Consultant at the Gravenhurst Home Building Centre, Jim McMillan, was clearly well-informed,” says Randy, adding that they left the store with a thorough understanding of the process and the latest Beaver Homes & Cottages Design Book. Just two days later, they’d already chosen two designs, and they’d accompanied Jim on tours of a couple of construction projects underway in the Gravenhurst area. “It’s not always easy to visualize plans, and visiting the homes under construction was invaluable and helped to add scale, perspective, and realism compared to just looking at photos and drawings. The on-site visit was the determining factor in our design selection.”

Randy and Mary Ann wanted a design that ultimately made the most of the waterfront view. They chose the standard model Rideau, and Jim helped them to modify it by adding a lower level to the bungalow, along with wings on either side that showcase the view of the nearby river while offering expanded space for a sitting room and the master bedroom. “He also gave us a great idea about building out the deck between the wings so that it had a covered portion.”

“While we made extensive design modifications,” adds Randy, “Jim was always very positive, enthusiastic, and confident Home Hardware’s Architectural Solutions Group (ASG) would be able to meet our requirements.” Despite the unique lot shape and side-yard set-back restrictions, McMillan says that ASG was indeed able to make the plan work and maximize the footprint. They were also able to position the home in such a manner that beloved trees didn’t have to come down.

“Since we’re novices in home building design, Jim’s building construction experience and personal knowledge was extremely helpful in setting design parameters and keeping our expectations realistic,” adds Randy, who also valued, in addition to Beaver’s price guarantee, the strong communication throughout design iterations with their builder, Chartrand. “On several occasions, Charles would speak directly to Jim on our behalf to clarify items on our wish list. It was reassuring to have consensus from both the design and construction side of the process.”

The design was finalized on time by August 30, and picking the finishing products was simple and straightforward with Jim’s help, including meeting specific requests from Mary Ann for areas such as the cathedral ceiling, trim, and interior doors. The only real challenge proved to be with nature, as the builders encountered unexpected rocks that required a lot of blasting work. Combined with delays in the permitting and surveying process, the start day was pushed out a month to November 1st. “But in the end, Jim worked with Charles to adjust the delivery schedule, and it worked out seamlessly. In fact, they still finished on the original schedule,” says Randy.

The couple felt comfortable taking a winter vacation, and they appreciated the regular updates that came from both Jim and Charles. “When we returned in April, it was remarkable to see how far the home had come along,” says Randy. The couple was wowed by the nearly finished home and loved how it suited their needs and style. “We love how the front is very subtle and blends into our treed lot, but when you see the back, and the gorgeous windows and deck, it’s really breathtaking.”

Randy adds that Charles spoke highly of the quality materials supplied in a Beaver Homes & Cottages package. “He told me how he was impressed with the consistently high-quality supplies, specifically lumber. He was also impressed with how positive and pleasant the Home Building Centre team was during the winter months, and their coordination of materials allowed him to focus on other important work such as coordinating sub trades and the execution of the building process,” says Randy.

Beyond the final project, Randy and Mary Ann are most pleased with the personal relationship they developed with their Beaver design consultant, Jim McMillan, as he guided the design-build experience. “That trust, combined with The Beaver Homes & Cottages Material Package Guarantee—that the materials package price does not change over the construction period, there are no shortages, and that design and engineering meet or exceed building codes—really allowed Mary Ann and me to focus on many other activities in such a major project, says Randy. “I would recommend Home Hardware’s Beaver Homes & Cottages to anyone who wants a truly positive, secure, and smooth home-build experience.”

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