Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Mike Holmes Touch On A Couple's Dream Home

Who wouldn't want their dream home to be built by Mike Holmes? One Calgary couple did, and with a little persistence, they turned their dream into a reality. Wanting only the best in energy efficiency and environmentally friendly technology, they sought out the tradesmen working on the up-and-coming Windwalk community, which is Mike Holmes' pet building project. “I wondered if there was an opportunity to use the same trades down there as here and maybe use this as a testing ground, a proving ground, before they get into the larger community,” said homeowner and mechanical engineer Jon Conquergood in this article from the Calgary Herald. The home that they ended up creating was designed from the ground up as a Holmes Home. Visit the Calgary Herald website to see pictures of this truly impressive home!
From the Calgary Herald:

Dream gets Mike Holmes touch

The great room of the house of Jon and Jennifer Conquergood. It was designed using the standards of TV celebrity renovator Mike Holmes (click on the photo for our nine-picture tour).

Photograph by: Claire Young, Calgary Herald

Most infills in Calgary replace a single home with two homes.
Jon and Jennifer Conquergood and their neighbours went the other way, turning three 50-foot wide lots into two 75-foot wide lots when they decided to rebuild on their properties in the southwest community of Elboya.
Bordering the Elbow River, the Conquergoods lived in a modest bungalow built in the 1950s. The property had a gorgeous view of the river and boulevard across the street, and they wanted to make the most of it for their three children, two cats and dog.
But Jon Conquergood didn’t want to build his new home until Mike Holmes was available.
A big fan of the Canadian contractor-cum-homebuilding icon — he’s seen every episode of Holmes on Homes — Conquergood was determined to avoid the various horror stories of building and renovating that many of his friends had endured.
A mechanical engineer, Jon has seen what can go wrong if building isn’t done correctly.
“We always had plans to build our dream home here,” says Jon, who has memories of hanging out in the basement as a youth, when it was the house of his best friend’s mom.
“I said, ‘I’m never going to build a house unless Mike Holmes does it.’ My wife just laughed at me.”
Jon had heard about the Windwalk community near Okotoks that Holmes is developing and decided to see if he could tap into the tradespeople who would be working there.
“I wondered if there was an opportunity to use the same trades down there as here and maybe use this as a testing ground, a proving ground, before they get into the larger community,” says Jon.
He pitched his idea in an e-mail and was taken up on the concept.
It was designed from the ground up to be a Mike Holmes home — plenty of concrete, steel, materials that won’t degrade over time. The house encompasses Holmes’ philosophy on building — durability and quality from the ground up.
Seth Atkins, director of the Holmes Approved Homes program, is the architect who designed the Conquergoods’ house, the first and only custom designed and built Holmes Custom Home in Calgary.
The three-storey home is 4,200 square feet with five bedrooms up and one bedroom down. The basement includes a further 2,500 square feet of developed space.
Holmes Approved Homes selected Taradar Fine Homes to construct the house.
“It took a lot of the research and worry out of my hands and put it in the Holmes group, because they had already vetted the contractor and figured out who are the quality people,” says Jon.
The house is built to maximum Holmes’ standards. The entire house uses BluWood, which is moisture, mould and pest-resistant.
Precast concrete slabs for the main floor were craned in and hurricane ties clamp the storeys together. The large expanses of windows are supported by steel frames.
The exterior is waterproofed and rain-screened, with the exterior cladding set out from the house by a few centimetres.
Parklex — a resin-impregnated, maintenance-free wood that won’t mould, fade or stain — is a feature of the exterior. It’s starting to make an appearance in Calgary, seen on the exterior of the Hotel Le Germain and is in the works on the Glencoe Club redesign.
The double-thick exterior walls of the home have offset interior and exterior studs filled with spray foam insulation. The windows are all triple-pane glass, and the extra-efficient air exchange system has ultraviolet and regular filters.
The house is heated with radiant in-floor heating, zoned for comfort. All areas, such as bathrooms and the laundry room, that may come in contact with water are wrapped with Schulter Ditra Underlayment system, a waterproof membrane installed under tiling.
The lighting is all LED for energy efficiency. None of the three fireplaces require a chimney — they use clean-burning denatured alcohol. And of course, there is a home automation system for controlling things, such as heat, security, lighting and audio.
The home contains a stunning living wall — an art piece made of living plants — that stretches up the four-storey stairwell. Green walls, in addition to being beautiful, also help oxygenate a home’s air.
These are all things the Conquergoods sought in a home.
“Quality in terms of durability. I wanted it to be maintenance free as possible. Also very green and environmentally friendly,” says Jon.
The two elements seem to go hand-in-hand.
“Lots of light, open spaces. I wanted the warmness of the modern style,” says Jennifer.
“I wanted a lot of natural products, so that’s why we went with the granite in the kitchen and the real stone on the exterior and inside. I really wanted the natural elements so that it feels earthy, which goes with the environmentally friendly.”
The home has solar panels to offset electrical bills, as well as solar hot water, to help reduce the amount of energy needed to heat the water tank.
The flat-topped garage has a green roof, planted with grasses and wildflowers that don’t brown over the warmer seasons.
Holmes became a big fan of Jon’s over the span of the project, and offered him a place on the team. Now Jon is a business development officer for the Holmes Approved Homes program.
The experience was such that, although this was his family’s dream home, “we enjoyed the homebuilding process and would do it again,” says Jon.
The Holmes Approved Homes program works with reputable local builders to ensure that high-quality, durable and sustainable homes are built, exceeding industry standards.
The program includes eight individual site visits from Mike Holmes’ team throughout the building process.
The Holmes Custom Homes program allows individuals to build the house of their dreams to Holmes’ exacting standards.
See some of the custom homes projects at
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1 comment:

  1. I know that HGTV now has a show called "Rescue My Renovation" with John DeSilvia, but it's not the same as the Mike Holmes series of shows. The US needs a comprehensive show that addresses the same issues the Holmes series does.