Building a home has always been a dream of ours. We knew that we’d eventually get around to it. But now that we have two wonderful girls, it has become a priority. Children are a great motivator. We want a healthy, well-designed space for our little family to grow in and around.
Our dream to build a home is shared with countless others; others who don’t believe this kind of thing is in the realm of possibility. We hope our trials and tribulations will shed some light on the process and be immensely helpful and/or interesting for others to follow.
We blogged our way around the world a few years ago with wewander.ca and thought we ought to do it again! Both of us will be contributing to the writing of this blog, but more often than not it will be me (Meghan) with Mark chiming in with his expert opinion. Hopefully through my eyes (and mediocre writing) it will give readers a sense of what this process is like for the tenderfooted, such as myself.
By trade, Mark is a licensed Architect and building scientist. But his true identity is Renaissance Man. Full of inspiration and optimism, he’s always contemplating ways to improve. Be it an elaborate camping tarp setup, ways to fold a shirt, trim a genoa, pull the perfect espresso or insulating a wall. He is extremely competent and capable of anything he decides to take on, which is why I know this process will all work out in the end. There is no one more qualified to build our home.
I, the matriarch of the fam, am a graphic designer who grew up with a very influential role model – my father, Bruce Gough. Ever the entrepreneur, he spearheaded many of the green building programs found in Canada today, including R-2000 and EnergyStar, and worked tirelessly to help Canada build better homes. Building a home of his own was something he never got the chance to do. He passed away in 2011. In many ways, we are carrying on his legacy by building our home.
plotnonplot is an exciting young firm with three brilliant, complementary partners and over 25 years combined experience. An obvious choice – especially considering Mark is one of the aforementioned partners.
Building Energy is the expert on Passivhaus principles. They ensure that the performance of the house meets comfort and sustainability targets. Mark is also the principle. Nice overlap, wouldn’t you say? This is a huge advantage because a successful build, in our minds, will integrate both building science and design principles seamlessly. Having a deep understanding of both is Mark's differentiator. Designing sustainable buildings is not an 'add-on', it's entirely integral throughout the design phase — a harmonious marriage.
Us. This will be a self-build. Wish us luck!
The main crew that built our shell belonged to the company formerly known as Cornelis Grey construction. Owner Casey, built himself a Passive House a couple years ago. They've since rebranded themselves as the Conscious Builders.
We've got a great crew of carpenters working on the siding and finishing jobs on our house. They go by the name of Vessel Woods and are fronted by Graham Dorey. Mark met them on his Chelsea Passive House project, which meant they were already well-versed on all things Passive House.
A neighbour and excellent electrician, Yves from Portage Electric.
Another local and plumbing perfectionist, Nathan from Ackland Plumbing.