Page 1



& Lifestyles

2012 – 2013



Go green indoors and outdoors

Historic farmhouse with ranching roots


Renovate or rip down?


O e t



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Toll-free: 800.731.1103

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Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013

Elk Park

Shoppin Decking Income

& Lifestyles 2012 – 2013

Table of Contents

Everything Eco

p. 8-9

Elk Park Ranch Farmhouse

Renovate or Knock Down? p. 14

p. 10-13

Lakeside Cottage

Shopping: local treasures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 7 Decking decisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 15 Income suite reno . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 22-23

Artist Profile

p. 30

p. 19-21

The ins and outs of building permits . . . . . . p. 24-25 Organize your home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 26 Guide to local home services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 28

Columbia Valley Homes & Lifestyles is published annually by The Columbia Valley Pioneer Newspaper, Misko Publishing Limited Partnership. Publisher Editor Editorial content Art Direction Sales Associate Photography Cover photo


Rose-Marie Regitnig Kelsey Verboom Kelsey Verboom, Cheryl Willard Shawn Wernig (Eggplant Studios) Kathy Sutherland Kyla Brown, Kimberley Rae Sanderson, Kelsey Verboom Kyla Brown Photography Box 868, #8, 1008 – 8th Avenue, Invermere, BC, V0A 1K0 Phone 250-341-6299 Email:

This material, written or artistic, may not be reprinted or electronically reproduced in any way without the written consent of the publisher. The opinions and statements in articles, columns and advertising are not necessarily those of the publisher or staff of Columbia Valley Homes & Lifestyles. It is agreed by any display advertiser requesting space that the owner's responsibility, if any, for errors or omissions of any kind, is limited to the amount paid by the advertiser for that portion of the space as occupied by the incorrect item and there shall be no liability in any event greater than the amount paid for the advertisement.

ADVERTISER INDEX: 1867 Confederation Log & Timber Frame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Ashley Furniture Homestore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Bedroom Furniture Gallery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Bella Vista Estates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Bighorn Meadows Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Cheryl Willard Design Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Copper Point Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Copperside / Lakeview Meadows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Cranbrook Pest Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Earthstone Masonry & Stucco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Elk Park Ranch / Borrego Ridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 Ferrier's Water & Landscaping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Glacier Mountain Homes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Hartley Homes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Home Hardware/PlyGem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Hüberthaus Timber Frames. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 K2 Ranch Restoration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Kimberley Rae Sanderson Framing/Photography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Kootenay Builders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Kyla Brown Photography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Mortgage Alliance West . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Odyssey Restoration & Cleaning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Perrin Structures and Design / Cross Roads Collective . . . . . . . . . 6 Planscape Landscaping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Playwest Homes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Screen Solutions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Sierra Stone / Garage Solutions Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Ski Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 The Residences at Fairmont Ridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Valley Hawk Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Valley Spas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Whisper Creek / Windwood Homes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Wildlands Eco-Forestry & Wildfire Prevention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 XT Custom Tile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27

HOME SERVICES: Classic Wood Mouldings Cobblestone Creek Columbia Valley Pioneer Dehart Sewer Design Cents Fieldtree Homes

Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013

Green Leaf Tree Services Invermere Custom Woodwork Invermere Electric Taynton Bay Electrical Total Heating Systems Turf n' Timber




Personalizing your home is our passion. Our in-house design, custom carpentry and project management team allow us to offer conception to completion services. With our surroundings as the inspiration and Mother Nature as the palette, your project will offer the serene tranquility that we all adore about the Columbia Valley. Our love for the craft, commitment to excellence, and openness to client involvement ensure a positive and productive home building & renovating experience for all. We look forward to hearing your ideas and making your project our priority.


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Rick Ferrier

Cell (250) 341-1589 This natural, fully landscaped double lot features a swimming garden with a geyser and split stream. The grandchildren swim with the fish.


Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013

Local Treasures T

here's no better place to shop for the perfect accent piece for your home than right here in the Columbia Valley. Browsing through the area's many shops, you'll find big, bold style, and items made by local artists. Whether it's lighting, artwork, or a funky antique, make your next home decorating purchase a Columbia Valley one.

Metal wreath, 30” x 30” Cajsa Fredin, Matsdotter Metals 104 - 1021 7th Ave., Invermere (Black Star Studios) 250-342-6663

Custom mirrors & art framing Drymounting & laminating Canvas printing & stretching Behind Invermere Dry Cleaners Look for the Red Door! Open Wed-Sat 10-5 or by appointment

250-342-5102 Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013

custom art framing - professional photography - printing

Architectural & portrait photography

Kimberley Rae Sanderson

Every style of lighting available. Only at Mercer & Company. 733-12th Street, Invermere 250-342-0012



Everything A

dding a pop of green to your home décor or kitchen cupboards is a great way to freshen up a space. The foliage-inspired hue is typically associated with relaxation, so going green with your decorating style creates a natural-feeling environment in which to kick back and chill out. Looking locally? Here is a sampling of green items from shops in the Columbia Valley.

Bring a splash of green to your home, garden, and cleaning routine. Green ice container $37 Interior World

Felt wine sleeve $13.99 The Natural Home

Preserved plant Small $29.99 Medium $42.99 Large $49.99 3 Bears Gift Shop

16-inch bowl $109.99 3 Bears Gift Shop

Ergo Adirondack chair $24.99 Home Hardware

2.5 oz Bodum cup $6.95 Kicking Horse Coffee

Bodum French Press $29.95 Kicking Horse Coffee

Lean, green cleaning machine I

remedies have surged in popularity. This is partly because of the growing trend of ‘going green’ and also due to penny-pinching during the downturned economy. Invermere’s Robin Shmigelsky has always cleaned with green products, using homemade or plant-based remedies in her own home. “It’s healthier for the person using the


Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013

f sifting through cupboards overflowing with multiple bottles of grime-busting chemicals sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Many homeowners clean with chemical agents. The average Canadian family consumes anywhere from 20 to 40 litres of chemical cleaning products each year, according to Earth Day Canada. In recent years, homemade cleaning

product and it’s healthier for the person living in the house,” she says. “Why would I want to use something that’s bad for the environment and bad for me?” The most common misconception about green cleaning products is that they don’t clean as effectively,

grow Room to

Hybrid Landscapes


ardening is one of life's great pleasures. Don't miss out just because you're an apartmentdweller or are tight on yard space — there are plenty of clever gardening solutions for growing vertically and maximizing the square footage you do have. A smart use of space will have you eating out of your fresh herb garden and growing select fruits and veggies, instead of looking longingly at your neighbour's rows of fresh produce. Skip the store this summer and plant with purpose.

Inspiration: • Use the kind of pocket-style shoe organizer you hang on the back of a door as a space to plant. Fill the shoe pockets with soil, and plant a single bloom in each slot. Alternate flower hues for a patterned wall of colour. • Bring an old fishing tackle box to life by cleaning out the tiered trays and using the mini-beds as a starter seed garden. Or, plant tiny blooms like strawberry plants. • Think vertical: when you're tight on space, go up. Stack graduated sized plant pots full of soil in a pyramid. Hang multiple eavestroughs connected by chain or rope from a roofline for a portable wall of planters that doubles as a space separator. Build planters in deck spaces that would otherwise be forgotten — think of how to effectively use every nook and cranny. • For a cheap solution, stack perforated bricks in a linking pattern, and plant blooms in the divots. • Make use of a blank concrete or wooden wall by screwing in metal loops to hold small Terracotta pots filled with herbs to create a very vertical spice rack.

Robin says. “I think people believe that if it doesn’t smell bad and foam up when you use it, it’s not going to work.” That couldn’t be further from the truth; green products work just as effectively and cost roughly the same as chemical-

based products, she adds. Especially if you buy pre-made green cleaners in concentrate, it can actually work out to be less expensive. “I think you just have to do your research, be selective about what you’re using, and find out what works best for you.” Homemade cleaning tips • For an all-purpose cleaner: use a mixture of vinegar and water, but add a few drops of scented essential oils to

cut the acrid vinegar smell. • To eliminate scale: cut a lemon in half, pour coarse salt on it and lightly scrub the scale-affected area until it comes off. • To get rid of the ring around the bathtub: apply a paste of baking soda and lemon juice, let it sit for a few minutes, and scrub. • To de-scale your shower head: fill a plastic bag with vinegar and water, tie the top of the bag around the shower head, and leave to soak for a few hours.

Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013


The snow capped Purcell Mountains and the winding Columbia River are visible from the porch of Elk Park Ranch's 110-year-old farmhouse . Photo courtesy Schickedanz West Ltd.

The Historic

Elk Park Ranch A catalogue-order home more than a century old.


or more than 100 years, an intricate-looking green-and-white farmhouse has been a beacon for people travelling the highway between Radium and Golden. Just a few minutes north of Radium Hot Springs, the grand home is one of the oldest and best-preserved buildings in the area. Sometimes referred to as the “old Eaton house,” its wraparound porch skirts a delicately woodworked roofline that resembles part gingerbread house, part Anne of Green Gables. The home and the 600-acre working ranch it sits upon is owned by developer Schickedanz West. Schickedanz has developed and


is selling a master-planned ranching community with 16 ranches ranging in size from 38 to 480 acres across the highway from the main ranch. But the developer also keeps the agricultural tradition alive at Upper Elk Park Ranch, where horses and cattle still roam and hay is harvested each year. The story of the green-trimmed ranch house dates back more than a century, when its original owner, James Lorenzo McKay, known as the “cattle king of the Kootenays,” bought it for his young bride, Anne Elizabeth Harper. The McKays were truly a pioneering family, traversing the mountain passes with their livestock to settle in the Columbia Valley before

Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013

Photos courtesy Windermere District Historical Society

the Canadian Pacific Railway was built. After returning from service in the Army Transport during the Northwest Riel Rebellion in 1885, James Lorenzo travelled to the valley and went back to his family at their homestead in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, to report that it was a good place to settle down. So in 1886, James Lorenzo (Jim) and his father, John L. McKay, together with James Lorenzo's brothers Cham and Jock, drove their cattle from their homestead in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, across the prairies and mountains in a multi-week trek that led them to land near Radium. Then just 18 years old, Jim bought 15,000 acres of land from the B.C. government. The land spanned from Sinclair (Radium) to Luxor (Spur Valley) and was named Elk Park Ranch. Jim and his father John settled the “Upper Ranch” where the green-and-white Eaton farmhouse still stands, and Cham homesteaded the “Lower Ranch” near Spur Valley. They built log homes to live in, using horses to drag lumber from the property (see diary excerpt, page 13). Starting successful ranches was no easy feat for the tough-spirited McKays, who,

The homesteading McKays were one of the Columbia Valley's most prominent ranching families. Pictured, left: John L. McKay, who ventured to the valley with his sons in 1886 and helped settle Elk Park Ranch. Above: James Lorenzo McKay with his hunting spoils on the porch of the McKay's Athalmer home (the former Lakeside Pub). Bottom: James Lorenzo with one of his children in front of the Eaton farmhouse in the early 1900s.

like other ranchers of the time, often faced hardship after bouts of bad weather and meagre growing seasons. But a clever trick by Jim gave the family a solid head start just one year after coming to the valley. In 1887, Colonel Sam Steele, perhaps the most well-known member of the Northwest Mounted Police, was stationed to the Kootenays and charged with restoring order in the area, which had ongoing problems due to tension between First Nations and white settlers. Colonel Steele arrived with 200 horses that needed wintering. When the federal government called for tenders to house and feed the horses, Jim saw an o p -

portunity, and made a bid even though he didn't have enough hay to feed his own stock at the time. Before Colonel Steele arrived at the McKay ranch to inspect the grounds, Jim hired a number of local First Nations people to build wooden tripods in the sloughs on the ranch. They covered the tripods with slough hay to make them look like large haystacks. When Colonel Steele toured the ranch, he was carefully led a safe distance from the haystacks by Jim, lest the trick be discovered. Jim's clever rouse worked, and he won the $10,000 bid to winter the Colonel's horses. Luckily for the McKays, it was a mild winter and the horses stayed well-fed without any extra hay. Jim was able to take the $10,000 and buy livestock — his first solid start to what blossomed into a very successful ranching career. Jim was also the first person to stake the land around the famous Radium Hot Springs, although the claim is officially credited to Roland Stuart. In a book of McKay family history, Jim's sister Hallie remembers that her brother often observed First Nations travelling to the hot springs, and after realizing the springs' value, staked the land around them. 

Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013


Photos by Kelsey Verboom

The current farmhouse has been restored to its former glory, as evidenced by the welcoming sitting room (left) and a formal dining room on the upper floor (right).

Unfortunately, he was away in Winnipeg when ownership registration was required, and in his absence Roland Stuart took over the claim. In 1898, the McKays sold their ranch estate to a company known as the Elk Park Ranch Company. Jim became the manager, and in turn bought out the company to become the sole owner in 1902. That same year, he met and married Anne Elizabeth Harper from Golden, after falling in love at a skating rink while Jim was in town buying supplies. As a gift to his young bride, he ordered and built the large green-and-white farmhouse on the Upper Ranch. The home was quite grand for its time — a testament to the growing wealth of the McKay family, who by then owned 1,100 head of cattle and 300 horses, operated a sawmill, and dabbled in the mining industry. The house was ordered from an Eaton's catalogue, which was a very common way for homesteaders to buy all types of supplies. Houses could be ordered much like a piece of clothing, and varied in size, shape and colour. The McKays selected the “Gingerbread” model for a price of $10,000, and the home was shipped in pieces, first by


train from Vancouver to Golden, and then floated by paddle-wheeler along the Columbia River to Elk Park Ranch. Pieces of the house were transported from the river by teams of horses to its current location, and pieced together by the family with help from neighbours. “There was a big housewarming when they moved into the house,” local reporter and historian Winifred Weir wrote in a newspaper article from 1980. “It lasted from six at night until six in the morning and everyone from up and down the valley was there. Visitors were always welcomed.” Jim and his wife Anne had seven children while living at the Upper Ranch: Harold, William, Dorothy, Marion, Lionel, Gordon, and Marguerite. “I still have a faint recollection of the carpenters building the new frame farmhouse,” Jim's son William wrote in a family memoir. “This new house was very large and was a landmark. The finest home in the valley and for many years after.” When it became difficult to school the children from the family's sprawling estate, Jim sold the Upper Ranch to the Columbia Valley Syndicate, and moved to Athalmer. It was later owned by the Kirk Christmas Tree

Company, then a string of ranchers, before being purchased by Schickedanz. In Athalmer, the McKays continued their pioneering ways. They staked the townsite and built a $30,000 home, as well as a sawmill, butcher shops in Golden and Athalmer, and even a coalpowered electric light plant that supplied electricity to the family's home and surrounding settlements. Jim also expanded his interest in mining: he owned the Lead Queen Mine at Brisco, and the Pretty Girl Mine, and had interests in the Mineral King Mine. A few McKay family descendants still call the valley home: Sandy McKay (greatgranddaughter of James Lorenzo) and brother Shane McKay live in Invermere, as does Sandy's dad, Jim McKay, and his brother Butch McKay. The McKay's ranching prowess is still paid tribute to today at Elk Park Ranch, where ranch managers Peter and Margaret Feldmann keep the land cultivated with hay, vegetables, and fruit, and winter their cattle and horses. During summertime, Margaret sells produce from the ranch's sprawling garden on Sundays from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013


Excerpts from John McKay's diary of 1890: January 2nd – Last night frosts entered the house, killed the plants and iced the water pails. January 5th – Sunday, observed a strange phenomena in Selkirk Mountains. West about 30 miles from our home, a dense column of smoke flowed from second rate mountain and continued until night shut out our view. Such a fire could not have been started by anyone at this season at that place. January 12th, 18th, and February 9th and 10th – Same mountain on fire again. January 16th – Jim is hunting for wild sheep on the mountain. January 23rd – Cold and cloudy. Cham left for his ranch on Vermillion accompanied by Haggerty. Jim went to Windermere to buy oats and I am getting out logs for the new house. January 27th-February 2nd – All hands working on logs. February 4th – Jim and McCauley both sick with colds or the gripp and went to the hot springs. February 14th – Finished new house. February 25th – Cattle suffering from cold. Many dying up at the lake. March 1st – Sent two Bighorn sheep heads to Golden for sale, $10 each. March 10th – Contracted to put up house, shack, stable for Mr. Mills, Montreal, for $300. Sold him 2 ponies $65 each, sheep head with large horns $10 each. April 1st – Little girl Hallie & myself rode 6 miles through swampy meadow, willow brushes, searching for cattle. April 3rd – Hallie and I drove stock 9 miles down for better feed. Had a hard time fording Ross Creek. April 4th – Planting peas, carrots. April 16th – Days are warmer and the mosquitoes are just arriving. First arrival of steamboat. April 23rd – Cutting sets of potatoes for planting. Steamboat arrived at dark. Work delayed on the house as no horses could be found. May 1st – Saturday, boys went to Golden to meet their sister Jen. Cham and Jim received a shipment of 23 cows and calves at Golden and paid $136 freight. July 18th – John's 66th birthday. Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013


Renovate or knock it


Weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether to rip down or restore.


hen it comes to buildings, an oldie doesn't necessarily mean a mouldy. An aged structure can be the perfect candidate for a loving restoration. But make sure you are able to recognize when to renovate, and when it's just not worth it. Before deciding to bulldoze or refurbish a structure, start by answering the following questions: • Does the existing structure have a full 8-foot high basement or crawlspace? • Are the exterior walls framed with 2x6s or 2x4s? • Are new windows required throughout, as well as a new roof? • If doing an addition, would you be adding on in one direction only, or in several? • Are you re-configuring all the existing walls within the structure and changing the locations of doors and windows? If a combination of these factors exist, consider it a big red flag that it might simply be better to take it down, says Contractor Larry Reinhart (Reinhart Construction Ltd.) and draftsman/designer Cheryl Willard. On the other hand, if you answered 'no' to most of the questions, you may have just the structure for a renovation. “If you’re going to spend a substantial amount renovating an existing home, you need a solid base for your home in the form of a good, concrete basement,” Larry says. “You also need an energy-efficient frame.” To achieve energy-efficiency, you will likely need to buy a new window package, which is a substantial part of your budget, whether you are renovating or building new. Also consider the cost-effectiveness of re-insulating; labour costs will probably be higher to reinsulate existing 2x4 walls than to re-frame 2x6 or 2x8 walls. “Adding on in several directions is costly, especially if roof-line tieins are complicated,” Larry adds. “Also, re-configuring existing walls is very expensive as it means re-wiring throughout, moving door and window openings and probably moving plumbing as well.” Bear in mind that renovating usually costs more per square foot compared to building from scratch, Larry says. Pad your renovation budget to allow for surprises so you won't be left scrambling after an unexpected find. Aside from construction considerations, be sure to think about the eventual resale value of the home or building. Weigh the final costs of renovation or knock-down, while keeping in mind what it will mean if you want to eventually sell your home. There are several things to consider when it comes to the resale value of a restored home, says realtor Glenn Pomeroy of Maxwell Realty. “Most buyers are looking for open-concept floor plans and many older homes come with a rabbit warren of small rooms cut off from each other.”


Even if you decide to build new, you can still design a home with old-school, rustic flavour. This beautiful wood-infused living room at one of the Chalets at Eagle Ranch shows you can have the best of both old and new.

Make sure the cost of opening up a floor plan is worth it in the long run. One factor that is a sure bet when increasing resale vale is location, Glenn says. “If your home is located on a lot with a high land value, your options are open. With either a renovation or re-build, your chances to recover your costs are much greater. If this is not the case, you may not want to get too carried away.” Don't forget to think about how a renovated or new home will fit with other buildings in the immediate area. “At the end of the day, you and your neighbours will want a home that fits within the general theme of the area you live in, and that includes not only home size but exterior finishing as well,” Glenn says. Sometimes, there are aspects to the building that just can't be measured with a price tag. If the home is a historical site or has historical significance, try to preserve as much of it as possible. “Another irreplaceable factor is charm,” says Cheryl Willard, draftsman/designer. “Does your home have that elusive quality of true magic? If so, this is hard to find and definitely worth preserving. “And lastly but most importantly, what sentimental value does the home have for the family? Did you build the home? Did you raise your children there? Are the walls steeped in happy memories? Sometimes a re-build might be the better financial option, but there is no substitute for charm and happy memories. For many of my clients, these factors outweigh cost”.

Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013

Chalets at Eagle Ranch (left and right)


to hit the


ou arrive at the cottage Friday evening, dash up the steps and suddenly one foot plummets through a hole in the deck boards. The long put-off deck project immediately moves from number 56 to number one on your to-do list. Now the big question is, what sort of new deck surface should you use?

Treated wood:

One of the most popular decking choices due to its relatively low price-point is ACQ “treated” wood. Local contractor Al Semple (High Country Builders) says that if building with treated lumber, he prefers the 2x6 decking to the 5/4x6 rounded edge. None of the contractors Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyles talked to like regulardimensional framing lumber, or untreated wood, such as 2x6 spruce, pine or fir, as it doesn’t last well and staining has to be repeated almost yearly. “If you are hiring someone to build your deck, labour is a significant component of the cost so you want to use a material that will last,”Al cautions. Epoxy-coated screws and galvanized hardware must be used with treated wood, as other screws and hardware can be corroded by the treatment compound. This also might not be the material of choice for families with young children because of concerns about the chemicals involved in the treatment process.


The right decking materials set the stage for the perfect spot to build an outdoor oasis, to enjoy both daytime and nighttime.

Or has the deck become a spongy, moss-covered wreck? reviews from local builders. Some expressed concern about cracking over time, while others felt it might not be the most comfortable surface to walk on. Also, homeowners must apply a top seal coat every year. However, under the right circumstances and properly installed, concrete can be a good long-term alternative to wood decking. If you install a concrete deck, don't apply salt to the surface during the winter, or attack an icy deck with a sharp, metal shovel or spade as this will damage the concrete.


Dura-deck is a waterproof vinyl decking surface. It can be installed as either a flat, continuous membrane, or in tile form. Contractor Brooke Langdon of Burland and Langdon Construction Ltd. admits that clients are not enthusiastic about Dura-deck for aesthetic reasons, but says he's taking another look at their latest products because of Dura-deck’s guarantee of waterproofness, which is important in some circumstances.


Composite is the decking material that received the least amount of enthusiasm from the contractors we spoke with. The first generation of composite decking was introduced amid fanfare about reusing wood waste materials and lifetime guarantees. Many homeConcrete: owners jumped on board despite it being Concrete deck surfaces received mixed pricey. The reality was that many composite

products faded and warped, and companies went out of business so warranties were not honoured. “In addition to the not insignificant cost of composite decking, it’s hard to work with," says SkiHome’s Richard Unger. "Installations are more labour-intensive, workers must wear masks, and cutting it is hard on tools; we go through more saw blades with composite.” However, Kootenay Builders’ Jeff Baltrus is willing to give second generation Trex decking a try. “You have to tell clients the pros and cons of each surface and let them decide,” he says.


Cedar is the hands-down decking favourite of all the contractors surveyed. “Cedar is tried and true,” says Brooke Langdon. "It has passed the test of time. It ages naturally and if not stained or painted, requires no maintenance.” SkiHome’s Richard Unger recommends that homeowners re-coat their cedar decks every few years with water seal to slow the aging process. While nothing is more beautiful than a newly installed cedar deck, the wood will turn grey as it ages with time. Some clients don’t like the greying wood, but the many benefits of cedar are worth the trade-off, Brooke says. “Leave it alone and enjoy the fact that you don’t have to do any maintenance and you can be out on the boat or the golf course instead.”

Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013


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Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013

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Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013


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Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013


A chair and book beckon from the dock of this Lake Windermere cottage.

Photo by Kelsey Verboom

Lakeside living Homeowners give an old cabin new life.


home with personality can capture your heart before you know it. When Brian Laidlaw and his wife Pam bought their shoreline property on the east side of Lake Windermere, they didn't bother looking at the old house it came with because they planned to bulldoze it and build a new one. But once Pam and Brian opened the door to the 1950s cabin, they were charmed. The angled roof, handmade stone fireplace, and large windows with a view of Mt. Nelson were elements the couple couldn't bear to tear down, so they decided to bring the home back to its original glory. The cabin was built in the 1950s by the late Jack Leslie, former mayor of Calgary, and his wife Jean. The couple reluctantly moved to Lake Windermere after they were evicted by Parks Canada from Kootenay Crossing

in Kootenay National Park, where they owned and operated a general store and a cluster of cabins called Fay-Mar-K. “While I held the fort at Fay-Mar-K, Jack started taking truckloads of lumber, plumbing and electrical supplies down to Windermere and built our cabin almost entirely out of recycled material,” wrote Jean in a memoir she penned about her husband. The Leslies built the house mostly themselves, and enjoyed it until they moved on to other real estate ventures. In 2004, the Laidlaws bought the property and began renovations, which was no small task. They adjusted the layout of the two-storey, 2,000 square foot cabin by taking out a bedroom to add a staircase between the floors, and completely gutting and redoing the basement which was nothing but “broken concrete and junk,” Brian says. 

Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013


Photos by Kelsey Verboom

The couple also redid the bathrooms and part of the kitchen, and restored the original Douglas fir floors and pine board walls. They changed the outside colour of the house to make it more modern-looking, and added a new boathouse and sprawling, multi-level landscaped patio. Other than that, Brian and Pam tried to retain the cabin's original charm, including the uneven floor. “If you rolled a marble around the cottage, it would probably keep going for a week,” Brian says, laughing. “But I'm not a fan of the big McMansions. A cottage is a cottage.” The additions and renovations the Laidlaws made only enhance the cottage's personality. Brian has hung a framed collection of advertisements for outboard motors from 1955-59 on the walls lining the stairway, a warm wooden table in the kitchen serves as a breathtaking breakfast spot, and the gazebo atop the boathouse is strung with bulb lights for dimly lit dinner gatherings. Guests to the cabin arrive down a driveway tunnelled with yellow-flowered Caragana bushes, and lounge on Adirondack


chairs on the patio while watching the sunset across the glass-like surface of the lake. “The cottage is my peaceful spot,” Brian says. “I'm a lake person, and my wife's a mountain person, so it's a good mix. It's a wonderful place.”

Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013

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Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013

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Make your basement earn

With just $2,200 and a few weekends of work, Invermere couple Tom and Katie Niddrie turned their dated basement suite into a modern marvel.

its worth With a little elbow grease and investment, spare space in your home can be converted into an incomegenerating rental suite.


n an economy that has left some homeowners scrambling, renovating to create a livable income suite in your home is a good way to help with monthly mortgage payments. An income suite is sometimes known as a secondary or auxiliary suite. The concept: a

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renter lives in part of your residence, while you occupy the main living area. Income suites typically have their own kitchen and bathroom areas, and a separate entrance. Before you start tearing down walls, be sure to check with your local government if suites are allowed in your town, and what regulations you need to follow. As with any development there are fire and safety codes you will need to comply with. Next, evaluate the potential cost of what it will take to create an income property versus the amount of money you can expect to bring in each month. If you only need to do cosmetic repairs and install a new floor, the monthly return will be well worth it. But if you need to take down walls, rearrange plumbing, and soundproof the ceiling, make sure you are comfortable with the amount of time it will take to pay back your investment and start seeing a profit. Dress to impress: allot money to buy a few big-ticket items, like stainless steel appliances or a killer shower. Key pieces that really stand out will easily convince renters they want to live there, and will likely attract a high-quality renter who values well-kept living spaces. You can also charge a bit more if your place really shines. Shine a light: no one likes to live in a dark, cave-like dwelling, so the more light you can bring into a space, the better. Create as many windows as possible, and install lighting that makes the space feel bright and cheery. Keep it green: Install a low-flow toilet and faucets, and think about using energyefficient lightbulbs. These energy-efficient add-ons lower the utility bills, and if you're

Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013

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including the price of utilities in the overall rental price, that means more cash in your own pocket. Add it on: once you've covered the basic necessities of the suite — shower, kitchen, entrance — think about adding elements that will allow you to charge more rent and set your place above the other rental options out there. Offering a parking stall, washer and dryer, and dishwasher are a few examples of ways to boost your suite's potential. Check references: make sure you know who you are renting to. If you've invested a lot in the suite, you don't want someone untrustworthy living in it.

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Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013


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f you've been dreaming and scheming about building a new structure on your property, but aren't sure if you need a building permit, you're not alone. Before you go ahead and nail together a new guest room addition, bunkhouse, or even a yurt, make sure you know the legalities of adding on. If you build something without a permit, your local government can order the work be stopped, or even make you move the structure, which is the last thing you want if you are going to invest the time and money to construct a special project. Permits do cost a fee, but the cost varies per project and per municipality. Bank on the permit approval taking two to four weeks to go through, depending on the workload of your area's permit-issuer. Here are a few things to consider before making construction plans:

How big is it? Size matters.



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Make sure to check with your local municipality or the Regional District of East Kootenay to find out if the size of your planned structure means you need special permission. If the planned structure is more than 10 square metres, you will require a permit, says Dick Barrett, building inspector for the regional district. In addition, you will also need to follow your local government's height restrictions and setback rules (how far the structure sits from the road or property line). Something like a small slab concrete patio doesn't require a permit, but any built structure — including additions to existing buildings — with footings (or without footings but larger than 10 square metres) must have a permit. Cosmetic renovations such as new flooring and bathroom fixtures don't need special permission, but adding doors or windows to a structure does.

Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013


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What if we could provide a deck without: • Mosquitoes, wasps and other annoying pests • Leaves and debris, rain or harsh wind • Scorching heat or harmful UV Rays (Up to 80% reduction) What if we could provide a deck with:

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Better safe than sorry. If you're hiring help to make your building dreams come true, make sure you check that the contractor(s) you bring on are registered with the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB). If you aren't hiring a contractor but are using friends to help, you still need your safety coverage to be up to par. If your contractor is not registered with WCB, you need to be. Even if he or she is, you require a clearance letter from WCB. If the homeowner is registering, he or she is responsible for enacting a number of measures according to WCB standards to keep the site safe. Many homeowners overlook this very important step, which could result in hefty legal woes should something go awry on the building site.

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The benefits of a permit A building permit ensures the safety of you and your family. Going through the permit process guarantees otherwiseunknown standards are met. Even if you've hired someone to do the work for you, permit applications help make sure your contractor is building things to code. Properly built structures mean safe structures, so you can rest easy in (or on!) your new addition.

Chris Skinner (250) 341-7283

Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013





It's not as easy to enjoy a home if you can't kick back and relax in it. Don't let stacks of paper and unorganized knick-knacks rule your world; organize, minimize, and enjoy. Here are a few tips to help you reach a symphony of systematization: 1-403-861-2309


Keeping your days in order doesn't have to involve a clunky leather organizer. Buy a picture frame with seven or eight spaces, and frame scrapbook paper of your choice, adding letter stickers or funky script to spell out the days of the week. Hang the eye-catching planner in the kitchen or by the front door, and write your to-dos in erasable marker right on the glass of the picture frame to keep your week in order, and looking beautiful! 

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Don't keep stacks of old magazines. Tear out the pages you want to keep for future reference, and put them in sleeves in one binder so they're all together. Centralize the user manuals for all the gadgets in your home. Buy a plastic storage container to keep in a closet, or start a binder to avoid having manuals stashed all over the place.

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Cupboards full of loose spices? Wash out old baby-food jars and fill with spices. Store lid-side down to keep your spice collection looking sleek instead of cheap.


Sort your mail as soon as you get home, instead of letting it collect in stacks on the counter. Recycle what you don't need, and keep a mail basket as an inbox to hold mail that needs attention.


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Store cleaning products in a portable caddy, instead of letting them sit at the bottom of a chaotic cupboard. You'll save cupboard space and time when hunting for cleaning supplies.


Instead of dumping measuring cups and spoons at the bottom of a drawer, install eyehooks inside a cupboard and hang them. Label each hook, and you'll never lose a measuring cup again.

Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013




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Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013


Home Services BEFORE

Your guide to great home services in the valley:


MAKE DAMAGE DISAPPEAR ON ALMOST ANY SURFACE On-site spot repair of damage on almost any surface in minutes, without messy and expensive refinishing! Clean... Fast... Meticulous! INVERMERE CUSTOM WOODWORK FRASER SMITH • 250-342-1698 FRASER@FMSGUITARS.COM

VACATION HOMES REQUIRED TO MEET OUR GUESTS’ DEMANDS. Our vacation rental inquiries outnumber the homes we have available. Let us introduce you to our “boutique” style revenue generating management services and show you how your vacation home can help pay for itself.

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Look for The Pioneer every Friday on newsstands around the valley

Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013

Visit our show suite, open daily

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Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013


Artist profile:

Fraser Smith F

rom his workshop in Invermere, a plaid-clad Fraser Smith concentrates on a fir beam. He runs his grandfather's antique wooden hand plane along the wood in fluid strokes, causing curly tendrils of shavings to collect on the floor. Fraser is a lifelong Invermere resident who has quite unexpectedly turned his love of music into a passion for woodworking. First picking up a guitar at 7 years old, Fraser has been forever fascinated by guitars; how they look, sound, and more importantly, the mechanics of how they work. An accomplished musician who learned from his dad, Invermere musician Mike Smith, Fraser tried to turn his veneration for guitars into a career by going to school to QUIET LIVING ON COLUMBIA LAKE learn handmade guitar#32, 6800 Columbia Lake Rd. making. After learning 2-bedroom plus loft home is beautifully finished with the tricks of the trade, vaulted ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, hardwood he returned to Invermere flooring, alder cabinetry with granite countertops and woodburning fireplace. Geothermal heating and AC. Stunning lake and started FMS Guitars. views, private beach, the only waterfront lakehouse in the Raising a growing famvalley, a community hall, tennis court and more. ily of three kids with wife Asking: $519,000 Kelly, Fraser branched out from guitar-making to Contact Dave Rae 1-877-349-7575 OR Columere Park Developments Ltd. woodworking on houses,

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1/8th share in 711 - 3-bedroom, 3-bath Surrounded by the prestigious Springs Golf Course and located in the quaint Village of Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada provides owners and guests of the resort with a quiet, relaxing, rejuvenating experience. Asking:


which he found many similarities between. “I never went into guitar-making because of woodworking, but really, that's what it is,” Fraser says. He started a business, Invermere Custom Woodwork, and now operates from a shop in Invermere. Fraser does finishing work on building projects and still builds or fixes guitars on request, but has also started making custom-built art furniture. The pieces he designs are modern-looking, but full of curves, clever drawers and doors, and imagination. Inspired by his own children, he has designed a dresser shaped like a banana, a rocket ship, and a tree. He also creates custom-order stools that fit the colourful letters of a child's name like a puzzle. “What I like about detailed woodworking is making something that you are really going to see when it's finished. For me, that's all that matters; people getting enjoyment out of it.” Fraser takes a similar approach when it comes to his tools. Despite sometimes being scoffed at on the job site, he uses as many old tools as possible, like chisels and planes, because he says the old craftsmanship is irreplaceable. “It's just so much more enjoyable than loud equipment,” he says. “They feel old, but they are far superior to the new ones. They just don't make them like that anymore.”

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Columbia Valley Homes and Lifestyle • Vol 2: 2012/2013

For more information:

ation: com.

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Profile for Shawn Wernig

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