September 29, 2004

A Home with a Difference

Al and Sandra McLellan
live among the rolling hills north of Cobourg, Ontario with their two young children. Seven years ago, they purchased a rural acreage to build their dream home and relocate from Toronto. Plans for their 3,745 sq.ft. home were developed with Brad Culver and Cynthia Henderson of Culver & Henderson Building Design. In 1998, John Maguire Construction of Cobourg built their home. They moved in during the summer of 1999.

In developing plans for their home, Al and Sandra placed considerable importance on incorporating environmental features. The wood flooring in the home was re-sawn from old pine beams salvaged from a derelict industrial building. Their stone flooring comes from a quarry near Tobermory, Ontario. And many of the home's unique light fixtures were hand-made by Toronto designer Jeff Coussin of Lucidity Design Corp. using recycled industrial materials.
The McLellan's also wanted their home to be highly energy efficient. Exterior walls were built using the Blue Maxx TM ICF system. Radiant infloor heating is powered by an energy-efficient boiler and high-performance windows feature low-E gas fill and insulating spacers. The home is certified to the R-2000 TM Standard.

After living in their new home for six months, Al and Sandra McLellan offered these comments:

Why did you decide to build an ICF home?

"We first heard about this way of building homes about two years ago from a business client of Al's who had built a Blue Maxx home and was raving about it. We went to the Blue Maxx web site, checked it out and requested more information. After we read everything over, we were sold on the system. We'd been looking for an energy-efficient home and researching different options. With the Blue Maxx system, energy efficiency was a real draw."

"We talked with a number of builders and decided to go with John Maguire because he has a lot of experience with ICF. John actually trains other builders to use the Blue Maxx system."

"We were very involved in the construction process, on site just about every day. With the ICF walls, the whole building process seemed smoother and more efficient. It's amazing how quickly the home went up."

What's it like living in this home?

"Our old house was really drafty and cold. When the wind blew, you could hear it whistling through the cracks. The quietness in this home is really amazing. Compared with our old house, there's a world of difference. Before, even with the windows closed, you could hear the trucks going down the highway in the distance. Now, we don't hear anything."

"The radiant heating is also wonderful. We walk around in socks and the boys are always warm playing on the floor. The way this home is built, we also get a lot more living space because the basement is just as comfortable as the rest of the house. It's true living area, the same temperature as the rest of the house, dry and with fresh air. It's the first basement we've ever had that we can actually live in  we have the home entertainment centre downstairs as well as Al's office. It's really comfortable."

"In the summer, this home stays cooler on hot days. We don't like air conditioning, and even on hot, hot days, this house really doesn't heat up."