Like thousands of people in this market, Dan Stanton and Brooke Cation were struggling to buy a new home.
But after a frustrating search for the perfect house in a tight real estate market, the couple decided to switch gears. They purchased a piece of property and contacted Royal Homes to see about building something that included all their needs and wants.
“We just threw it out there and emailed Royal Homes,” says Brooke. “The designer got back to us quite quickly, and everything unfolded fast after that.”
They began discussing plans with the designer and learning about prefab construction. And just over a year after the initial contact, the couple was in their home.
“The turnaround was very quick,” says Brooke. “A 1,600 square foot home can’t be done that fast with normal construction … It was pretty impressive to watch.”
Buying land and building – or tearing down and rebuilding – is trending throughout Ontario. Part of the appeal is that it lets the homeowners decide exactly what they want their new home to look like. “But we did it before it was cool; we made it cool,” jokes Dan. “It was quite the transition to go from shopping for a home to building a home.”
When they first contacted Royal Homes, Dan says they thought they were only able to choose from the designs on the website. They started their process by asking about pricing for those designs.
But they were surprised to find that their new home could be completely customized.
The models were a great starting point, though, helping them to refine their desires and see other options. Brooke leaned toward the Oxford model, while Dan preferred the Hudson.
“We asked the designer how we could mix and match, and he showed us a blueprint of a home he had designed previously. From there we tweaked it to suit our property and our needs,” says Brooke. “We didn’t realize that was even an option.”
Brooke’s favourite feature is the vaulted ceiling in the great room, which allows for large windows looking eastward over the rolling hills, providing stunning sunrise views.
Dan, on the other hand, felt it was essential to have plenty of openings in the walkout basement, with oversized sliding glass doors and adjacent windows. The brightness gives it a warm, welcoming feel, not like a basement at all.
“We ended up increasing the height of the basement by a foot. There is a ton of natural light that comes in to that room,” he says.
Notes Brooke: “When anyone comes through the house, they remark on what a bright and big space the basement is. With the big windows and the walkout, it doesn’t feel like a dark basement.”
Both Dan and Brooke are delighted with the way their kitchen functions. From various access points to an island featuring abundant storage, they have everything they wanted.
They were also impressed at how their Royal Homes designer took even the smallest detail into consideration. When Brooke suggested moving their small wine fridge out of the island and off to the side of the kitchen, she received a different and eye-opening perspective.
“Having it in the island makes it accessible to the back door and the deck that we’ll be putting in there,” recalls Brooke. “He said, ‘you’re going to want to have quick access to grab a drink.’ And he was absolutely right.”
Like everyone who purchases a Royal Homes build, Dan and Brooke were invited to visit the manufacturing facility.
Dan, who has a background in construction, says he was fascinated by the process – so much so that they went back for a second tour before their build was complete.
“The coolest thing about Royal Homes is how they build the home,” says Dan. “When we got to see our home on the assembly line split in two, it was impressive. The fact they built it in their factory, which removes all the effects of the elements from the construction, is huge.”
Adds Brooke: “Everything is so well-designed and organized, even down to the way they do the electrical.”
Now Dan and Brooke are enjoying their Royal Homes build to the fullest, and it is made just the way they want it.
“The whole experience was amazing,” says Dan. “From start to finish, the whole team was excellent to work with and they really made the vision come true.”
TEXT CHRIS OCCHIUZZI | PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN