Tag Archives: building

Q&A with Jade

Jade and Devin are our newest soon-to-be residents at Sarilia. With two daughters (Sloan, age 2, and Neve, 5 months old) and a dog named Philly, they’re eager to start their new life in our river valley community this summer—they expect to move into their new A-frame-style home by July. We chatted with Jade to learn more about her family, what drew them to Sarilia, and how it felt to meet some of their future neighbours back in October.

How did you first hear about Sarilia?
We were looking at acreages online and we stumbled across one that was for sale at Sarilia. We drove out there and we realized how beautiful it all was, and how there was all this other property that we could look into.

I got out of my vehicle and stood there, and I was like, “Okay, we are going to be moving here.”

How would you describe your first impression?
We felt like we were at the lake. It felt like we were at the cabin—instantly relaxed and laidback and just where we wanted to be. It felt like home.

Where are you both from originally? And where are you moving from?
I grew up in Martensville and Devin grew up in a little town called Frobisher, just outside Estevan.  We live in Warman right now, so we will be moving from here.

What was it you were looking for that you found at Sarilia?
When I grew up in Martensville, it was a small town. And the community that Devin grew up in has about the same amount of people that Sarilia has. We both wanted that for our daughters.

When we moved to Warman it was a bit smaller. Now, all the sudden, grocery stores are behind our house, Dairy Queen is right there, and the highway is right there—everything was just too close. It was too city-like. We needed to get away.

Right now, we have the street lights shining in our house all night long, the grocery store lights are on 24/7 in our house—we just need to be in the dark for a little bit! (laughs)

Was there one feature at Sarilia that solidified your decision to move?
It was a number of things. We didn’t know about the river access until we met with Gwen. We just thought we’d have a view of the river and we didn’t know everything Sarilia had to offer until we met Gwen.

Our first impression would have been that we just want to be out there for the calmness and the view. Upon talking to Gwen a few days later, we realized the (little free) library, the river and the little nature reserves all around were just kind of bonuses.

Is there something you’re most excited about in regards to your new home?
It’s a little bit of everything. We’re really excited for the small-town community feel, and to feel like we can go and talk to our neighbours. Our girls can go down the street and ask a friend to hang out and we don’t have to be breathing down their necks or watching them all the time to make sure they’re safe.

And the laidback lifestyle. Because you come home from a long day at work and it would just be really nice to go down to the river and have a wiener roast—just feel like you’re at the lake every day.

Can you tell me about the style of your new home?
We’re going with an A-frame. It’s going to feel like a cabin/cottage. We’re trying to go with that mentality—so a stone mantle above the fireplace and the A-frame overlooking the river.

Why did you decide to hire Griffin Properties to build your home?
I’m good friends with Sarah (Reid, the co-owner) so I’ve known them to be extremely hard workers. I’ve seen all the houses that they’ve built for themselves and all the time and energy they put into all the little details to make the house perfect for their family.

I know when Sarah started looking at designs for our family, she was thinking about our family—not what everybody else would have wanted, but what our family needs and wants. Every little detail was thought of. They put a lot of TLC into the project.

What do you and Devin like to do in your spare time?
We like to travel a lot and we like to be outside and go to the lake. We have a cabin up at Chitek Lake with my parents, so we love to be up there all the time.

I like to snowshoe, cross-country ski and snowboard, and Devin likes to snowmobile and downhill ski, so we’re very wintery people. We like to be outside more in the winter than probably in the summer. I run too—anything to be outside really. We’re always up for trying something new.

Do you think you’ll get out on the water at Sarilia?
Oh yeah. Devin wants to buy a canoe. He wants to do that and I like to (stand-up) paddleboard. We’d like to do more of that.

My dad taught me how to fish, so I’d like to do that with the girls and teach them how to do things like that and appreciate nature.

Do you plan to get involved in the community garden?
Yes. I have two garden beds right now so I am definitely going to be doing that.

Even now, I know they’re really young, but we have raspberry bushes and in the summer Sloan likes to go pick them and eat them. That’s kind of what I want to get my girls into—just being more with nature.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We came out to Sarilia for a potluck at the beginning of October and it felt like home. We were like, “We don’t want to drive back to Warman.” (laughs)

It was really nice to meet everybody and we had a really warm welcoming. Everyone was so relaxed and laidback. I don’t know if that’s their personalities always or if being there brings it out of them, but I also felt like it was more of a family—like I could rely on some people to help out if need be and that kind of feeling. It made us more excited and we are very eager to be out there.

 

 

Q&A with Lexis Homes and Vereco Homes

This year, Lexis Homes will approach their 100th completed home. Launched in 2009, the Saskatoon-based business is a Mike Holmes approved home builder. The Holmes Group analyzed the builders in the Saskatoon market and then sourced Lexis Homes to work with them. “It’s a great partnership,” says Lexis CEO, Cam Skoropat. “They provide comprehensive inspections in all our homes and also provide technical support for us.” We recently chatted with Cam to learn more about Lexis—one of Sarilia’s suggested home builders.

A Vereco Home built by Lexis

Who are your clients?
Our clients are typically “move up” home buyers. They are already homeowners, but want to upgrade to a home that better suits their needs. This could mean a larger home or a better location (neighbourhood/lot).

Are you witnessing any trends in the home building industry lately?
Higher energy efficiency seems to be top of mind. There also seems to a desire for larger garages.

What kinds of green technology or innovation are homeowners looking for these days?
I would say insulation under the basement slab is a key area for efficiency without high costs. Upgrading wall insulation and attic insulation are also popular.

How has demand for either environmentally friendly features and materials changed throughout your time in the industry?
In the last 3-4 years energy efficiency has been top of mind for many people. When we first started building, higher energy efficiency wasn’t on the radar for home buyers.

What home building practices would you like to see more of in your industry?
I still think we could use more professionalism in the industry. There are over 200 home builders in the Saskatoon area and there is a vast range of quality and professionalism in the range of builders. There is very little in the form of regulation or licensing of homebuilders so the “buyer beware” mantra is very true in our market.

Lexis has recently partnered with Vereco Homes. Can you tell us what your collaboration is about?
Sure! We have similar mindsets in that we want to see more high quality homes in Saskatoon and area. Our focus was on quality of construction and Vereco was focused on the energy quality. It was a natural fit to combine the two. Vereco designs ultra-energy-efficient homes for their clients and we work together with them to turn the designs into reality.

We also spoke with Ronn Lepage, the founder of Vereco Homes, to get his take on working with Lexis.

We understand Vereco’s mission is to help Canadians build green homes and that you use Vereco Licensed Builders (VLB) for home construction. Vereco has a very stringent process for selecting VLBs. Why did you select Lexis?
We select our VLBs based on competitive pricing, quality, reputation and risk minimization. Lexis is a well-known brand in Saskatoon and anyone that owns a Lexis home will tell you about the quality of their homes. Many of their trades had worked with us on other Vereco homes so Lexis had no issues learning the unique features related to building our homes. They are a stable company that has consistently been growing over the last 7-8 years. As a VLB, Lexis has to compete against at least two other VLBs to win each contract so our process ensures that they are competitive.

What are the unique features of Vereco Homes?
Our homes are designed for energy efficiency, comfort, and durability.

A home uses energy for space heating, domestic hot water, lights and appliances. The key technologies used to reduce energy consumption for space heating are passive solar design (using the sun to heat the home), additional insulation (lots of additional insulation in walls, attic and foundation), better windows and ultra-efficient mechanical equipment.

For domestic hot water, our energy efficiency strategies are focused on reduction in the amount of hot water consumed but we also use some neat technologies such as drain water heat recovery.

To reduce energy used for lights in appliances, our primary strategy is using energy efficient lighting, but we are also finding very good results from phantom energy circuits and whole-house monitoring systems.

We’ve found that many people are more interested in comfort than they are in energy savings. We design comfort into our homes with five perspectives: air quality, lighting, temperature, acoustics and safety.

More and more people are starting to consider the durability of their homes. We design our homes to last at least 100 years with a focus on materials, interior and exterior moisture management and flexibility. We design open-concept homes with flex rooms (for example, an office that can become a bedroom). Wherever possible, we position rear entrances in a way to allow the future development of a granny or rental suite. All our homes are designed to accommodate future solar panels, electric vehicle chargers and grey water recycling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q&A with our new neighbours – Kayla & Chris

Kayla and ChrisKayla and Chris, along with their daughter, Wren, and their English Mastiff, Gus, are some of our newest neighbours at Sarilia. Hailing from southwest Saskatchewan, they met in high school,  were married in 2013, and baby Wren was born last May. We chatted with the busy couple to learn a little bit more about them, and how they’re planning to enjoy spring in the river valley.

What do you both do for a living?
Kayla is a social worker and Chris is a journeyman instrument technician.

How did you first hear about Sarilia?
We Googled “river lots,” and one popped up for sale on Kijiji, so we went for a drive and got the contact information for the developer (Gwen Lepage) while we were out there.

What made you decide to move to Sarilia?
We had talked about getting a cabin and were getting tired of being in the city, so Chris brought up building something on the river to live in full-time and we both felt it would be a great fit for us.

What company did you choose to build your house, and what was the experience like?
We went with D.W. Elash Enterprises, a small company out of Martensville. We had a great experience with our builder. Alanna was very agreeable to work with and she made sure we got what we wanted.

What are you most excited for about spring at Sarilia?
We are looking forward to having our first garden in the community plots!

What do you like to do in your spare time?
There’s not much spare time anymore with a little one running around, but we love to go for walks along the river and are really looking forward to enjoying the beach this summer.

Has moving to Sarilia changed your day-to-day lifestyle at all?
We are definitely more content just being at home and looking out at the amazing views. We never want to go into the city!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
We are looking forward to getting to know our neighbours once everyone is outside a little more with the warmer weather.

Q&A with Zak’s Bryant van Kuik

Zaks RTM sarilia

A Zak’s RTM

Sarilia is home to three ready-to-move (RTM) homes built with care by Zak’s, a family owned business that opened its doors in 1996. We chatted with Bryant van Kuik, residential salesman at the company, to learn about why RTMs work so well in the river valley, and what trends he’s noticed in the home building industry.

What is your role at Zak’s?
I have the pleasure of working with customers to design their home and take it right through to completion.  This includes floor plan design, architectural design, pricing, blueprints, final selections and warranty walk-throughs.

What home building trends are you noticing among your clients?
We continue to see many units going into lake country – some humble cabins and others very elaborate cottages. More and more people are asking about green alternatives – for example, we have a unit currently on site that has solar panels mounted on the roof.

In general, what were the Sarilia residents looking for in their homes?
The owners of the Sarilia units we have built seemed to have a priority on managing costs while maintaining a high build quality.  From there, they certainly all chose/developed plans that took advantage of the fantastic river views that Sarilia affords.

Interior of a Zak's RTM

Interior of a Zak’s RTM

What makes an RTM ideal for people moving to Sarilia’s river valley?
RTMs continue to be a great way for people to build homes that are not in major centres near tradespeople. We are able to manage both build cost and timelines very well since we are on site every day and tradespeople do not have extra travel time/cost.

In general, who are your clients?
Our clients tend to be a mix of age groups and life goals. At times, we are building bigger homes for people with growing families – other times we are building lake homes for people who no longer have kids living at home and require less space.

There seems to be a growing interest in tiny homes (homes between 100-400 square feet without a permanent foundation). Are you seeing some of this interest from people who are looking to build houses with a smaller footprints?
To date, the interest in tiny homes has certainly increased – but we have not seen a lot of units end up getting built. I have had conversations with people of all ages – but most do not have kids.

What we are seeing more of is what I might call a trend toward “small homes.” These customers are typically driven by cost of living and a minimal footprint. So rather than build a tiny home, they will build a smaller/more economical home that has a permanent foundation.

Most of these clients seem to be driven by the cost of living and a desire to have money for travel and other priorities – rather than being maxxed out by a mortgage.

What’s the smallest footprint Zak’s has built so far?
To date, our smallest home was a 640-square foot unit.

 

How much does a new house cost?

When we give tours of Sarilia, people often ask us how much it will cost to build a home here. There’s no straightforward answer – it depends on a number of factors, including your personal tastes and the style of home you hope to build. Our friends at Lexis Homes get the same question from their clients, so they wrote a blog post to help point people in the right direction.  With their permission, we’re happy to share their post below, written by Cam, the company’s owner. 

Lexis built homeAs a custom homebuilder in Saskatoon, we’re often asked, “What does an average house cost,” or “What is the average cost per square foot for a new home?”

Those are some tough questions to answer. I liken it to a question along the lines of “What does a car cost?” — only 100 times more complex.

In order to develop any kind of budget estimate, at least three key factors need to be determined:

1. Size of the home
This one seems obvious, right? Larger homes will generally cost more money. However, not everyone realizes that cost per square foot typically decreases as the house gets bigger. This is because there are certain fixed costs (that don’t change much with house size) that exist in every home. Some examples of fixed costs are: the land cost, heating system, plumbing, electrical, etc.).

2. Style of the home
The style of home you select will have an impact on the house price. This is because different home styles have different costs to build. For example, a two-storey home is quite an efficient design. If you consider an 1,800 sq. foot home, there would be 900 sq. feet of basement, 900 sq. feet on each of the upper levels, and 900 sq. feet for the roof to cover. When looking at the same square footage on a bungalow you would have 1,800 sq. feet of basement, 1,800 on the main, and 1,800 sq. feet of roofing.

In this example, you can see how an 1,800 sq. foot bungalow would likely cost more to build than an 1,800 sq. foot two-storey. The only caveat is that you also need to consider how much house you get in both scenarios (not just how much house above grade). If the 1,800 sq. foot bungalow was fully developed, there would be 3,600 sq. feet of living space. The 1,800 sq. foot two-storey home would provide a maximum of 2,700 sq. feet of living space when a finished basement is factored in.

3. Finishing level
The final key factor in the cost of a home is the level of finishing you prefer. Two houses can be built to the exact same size and style but have dramatically different price points due to the level of finishing. Some examples of details that need to be determined are exterior finishing (stucco, siding), flooring types (hardwood, tile, carpet), kitchen materials and the approximate size, countertop surfaces (quartz, granite, laminate), etc. The list goes on.

This should provide some insight into some of the general factors that affect the price of a custom home in Saskatoon.

Lexis Homes is one of Sarilia’s suggested home builders. If you have questions about building your home in Sarilia’s river valley, give us a call