Homeowner gets a turnkey home in the Laurentians
Winter 2015-2016, Montreal HOME
Lorne Schecter was worried. The foundation for his new country home, being built by BONE Structure on Lake Ouareau, had been laid, and it seemed too small.
Lorne admits that he’s not one for understanding blueprints, so he’d already had one site visit from Michelle Tremblay, vice-president (and co-founder with her husband) of BONE Structure. Tremblay walked the site with Lorne before construction began and laid out sticks along the ground to show him where each wall would be, so he could visualize the rooms.
Lorne’s anxiety was assuaged then, but now it was back. “When the foundation was poured, it seemed very small to me,” he recalls. “Michelle actually came to the site and, on the foundation, showed me where each room would be to make me feel comfortable that I had adequate space. Where the master bedroom was I said ‘I can’t even fit a cot, never mind a king-size bed.’ She proved to me that I can fit my king-size bed; I can fit my end tables; I can walk out onto my patio and there’s no problem. We laugh about it today.” When asked about this, Tremblay says simply, “This is what we do. If something happens, we’ll be there for the client.” That approach is indicative of the care that BONE Structure, a Quebec company that specializes in building custom homes, puts into the homes it builds and its commitment to keeping clients happy.
Lorne didn’t know this when he first sought a builder, but happenstance seemed to lead him to BONE Structure. “I read a magazine and saw a picture of one of their homes,” he says. It was love at first sight. “I like ultramodern style, and I wanted an all-glass house because my property is on a lake,” he says. “A week later, I was at a client’s home. She and her husband were rebuilding their cottage and her husband, who is an engineer, recommended BONE Structure. They showed me their site, and I called BONE Structure the next day.”
The appeal of BONE Structure homes is that they are pre-engineered and then erected on-site. Because all the components arrive together, already made, there is no need to do wholesale clearing of the site to allow heavy machinery to manoeuvre. The ground where the foundation will be laid is cleared, but the surrounding trees and other elements of the landscape remain as undisturbed as the homeowner wishes.
Another advantage is that there’s no waiting around for the various tradespeople to come and work on one element, such as plumbing, and then wait while, say, the floorers come in, and then wait for the millwork to be cut and installed. In an ordinary build, the stairs are delivered near the end, but BONE Structure delivers the stairs the same day as the rest of the parts. Marc-André Bovet, Tremblay’s husband and the president of BONE Structure, likens it to building a giant Meccano house.
“Everything is decided beforehand,” Tremblay explains. “All the pieces are pre-measured, and it’s easy to work within the structure. The trades won’t fight because everyone has room to work without compromising. We can schedule the trades accurately.” As a result, building is quick. In fact, says Tremblay, “Lorne’s home was delivered more than three weeks early.”
“They started the teardown of the existing house in October 2014, and the house was finished in May 2015,” Lorne says. “It was a turnkey operation; BONE Structure did everything, from getting permits to helping me find furniture. They really held my hand, made the process idiot-proof. Hugo Beauregard, the construction foreman, was great.”
Lorne is president of L.E.S. Financial Services, a company that provides life and disability insurance to doctors across Canada. He’s a busy man with little time to fuss over building details. He also needs a place to entertain clients, and a cottage on the lake would be the perfect place. “Not only is it a great place to entertain clients,” he says.
“The bedrooms are at opposite ends of the house so there’s maximum privacy when my kids, who are now older, come to visit.”
That perfect place is now reality. He has a 2,350-square-foot country home with an open floor plan and all the windows he could desire to enjoy the view of the lake and surrounding mountains. He has the bright, ultramodern house he wanted that reflects his personal style.
It all happened more easily than Lorne expected. “Once the interior walls were up, I could start visualizing what the rooms would look like,” he says. “I worked with Nadine Rodrigue, BONE Structure’s director of interior design. She gave me ideas, she provided samples, she was very accommodating.
“The whole place was custom-made: while the interior was being finished, we changed a few things. Nadine suggested the wine cellar. She came up with some ideas to make the house look even better – for instance, we made a change midway through to the railing for the stairs, making it all glass. Nadine presented everything in pictures on the computer so I could understand.
“Nadine also helped with the furniture. I’d see something I liked and brought Nadine with me. She had the measurements and could tell me if a piece would work. She helped tremendously.
“I entertain here on the weekends, and friends, clients, family – everyone is amazed. The whole place looks even nicer than I anticipated.”
BY PHILLIPA RISPIN
PHOTOGRAPHY: ULYSSE LEMERISE
STYLING: NADINE RODRIGUE
Winter 2015-2016, Montreal HOME | Read the article