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1516 105th Avenue, Dawson Creek, BC


Blog by Kevin Kurjata | November 8th, 2013


We just finished uploading this single family detached for sale, 1516 105th Avenue, Dawson Creek, BC

I constructed this custom designed home 3 years ago. I am a registered, certified builder and carry 10 year new home warranty. This home received a number 1 rating from my home warranty insurance provider (National Home Warranty) My home was custom designed by Lukas Armstrong Design (now a partner of "Cover Architecture Collaborative"). Lukas has his bachelors of industrial design, masters of architecture, and is trained in passive house design. This home is 1000 sq ft up and a 1000 sq ft down, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, large theatre/recreation room, rootcellar/cold room, storage/sewing room, laundry room and 700 sq ft of covered/enclosed solarium on three sides. It is built with a double stud frame wall (2x6 structural, 2" insulated gap, and a 2x4 inner wall) that has twice the insulation value required by code. With very little air leakage (tests showed less than .8 air changes per hour compared to most houses at 2 or 3 air changes per hour), an insulation r-value of 44 in the walls, r-76 in the ceiling, and a waterproof styrospan thermal break under the concrete slab, it requires very little heat energy to keep warm and is naturally cool in the hot summer months. This home is heated with an on demand hotwater heater and has a heat recovery ventilator which keeps the home healthy with plenty of fresh air and very little heat loss. The ventilation system has touch pads in the kitchen and both bathrooms to actuate an elevated venting time. This is to be used during showering, cooking, and when entertaining many people. The wrap around solarium adds another layer of energy efficiency (another r-4) by keeping the wind off the insulated wall of the house (very similar to wearing a windproof jacket). The glass and polycarbonate panels are easy to clean (as they are all at ground level) and give the homeowner the feeling of being outside but with the added benefit of no wind, rain, or snow. There are 7 sliding doors exiting the solarium. They are all lockable from the inside with foot actuated dead bolts at the floor, and the slider directly across from the back door is also lockable from the outside with a regular keyed deadbolt. The solarium captures heat from the sun and latent heat escaping through the envelope and from doors/windows being opened. It also adds 700 sq ft (for a total of 2700 sq ft) of indoor living in the spring, summer, and fall. The wood decks and siding in the solarium are oiled 3 coats and due to protection from the elements will need no further maintenance. The thick walls, enclosed solarium, and triple pane windows supply a high level of privacy and deaden all of the city noise one normally hears when living in town. 9 foot ceilings upstairs, custom built birch cabinets, site finished wood flooring (7 coats of low VOC water based gym floor finish), through body porcelain tile (same color throughout so even when chipped it still looks good), and polished concrete floors give this home a robust, welcoming, high end feel with no maintenance. The interior and exterior doors are 36". Combined with the optional laundry on the main floor (off the kitchen), decks and interior floor built on an even plane, and a wide enough stairway to accept a chairlift, this home is disability and wheelchair friendly. The design of the south east solarium corner allows for a wheelchair lift to be installed at ground level and rise to the deck surface. This home is easy to keep clean with a built in central vaccuum and includes Jenn Air fridge, dishwasher, gas stove with downdraft exhaust vent, and curtains. All interior partition walls, and the floor are insulated as well to reduce noise travel. There is a monitored alarm system installed which includes motion sensors, fire alarms, water leak sensors, and freeze sensors. 2 types of lighting are used throughout the interior of this home. Dimmable incandescent as mood lighting, and indirect flourescent lighting to provide a "daylight" feel with an added level of energy efficiency. In the solarium there are dimmable pot lights throughout and motion sensored dimmable pot lights over the front and back doors. Outside the home, near the front and back doors, are motion sensored lights and there are two lites on a 3 way switch on the east side of the home. There are also plenty of exterior plugs for vehicles etc., and an RV plug. There is a back up generator panel and transfer switch installed. This requires the homeowner to have a small gas generator that they can then plug the home into during a power outage if they so choose. The wood on the outside of the home is finished with an all natural, no VOC lifetime wood preserver which requires no maintenance. The steel on the roof and siding is galvalume. It is used all over the world as an environmentally friendly, long lasting finish material. Its sine wave shape and thickness give it an extremely strong profile when compared to most steel roofing. Its color reflects the sun in the summer to keep the attic cool and it has no baked on finish to fade or wear over time due to sun, wind, and precipitation. It is also acceptable to collect potable water off a Galvalume roof. It requires no maintenance. The backyard is accessible from the alley or the side street and has been stripped of soil and a compacted pad of shale with a washed rock layer on top. With sewer available just below the lawn it is ready for a future shop, coach house, and/or RV dump. With the paved driveway in the front and the lot in the back there is parking for 8 vehicles. I built this home initially to sell but by the time I had completed it I realized I wanted to live in it to experience all its gifts! It is meant to be versatile and fit all types of people from small families to couples and retirees. It will last for many generations and age with grace. After living in the home for two years I had the opportunity to build a 3600 sq ft triplex in Nelson BC. Using this home (1516 105 ave) as a model Lukas and I applied for and received a partial grant from the BC government and Fortis BC to build another super energy efficient and environmentally friendly multifamily dwelling. We were one of only 10 builder/architect teams chosen in all of BC. We chose to build it for ourselves (my mom is owner of the third suite)! The triplex is going to be one of the first passivehouse certified multifamily dwellings in Canada. This requires triple stud frame walls, certified passivehouse windows and doors with multipoint locking hardware, and an even tighter air seal (maximum allowed is .6 air changes per hour, and initial tests have ours at .2 ACH!) With careful design of the building envelope, orientation, window placement, air and mechanical systems, and with attention to detail during the building process, our triplex will operate with 90 % less energy than a building of the same size built to BC building code only. It is now very close to completion (we have conditional occupancy with just a few things left to do). Please check out our blog at lukasarmstrong.com to view the triplex. I am now faced with having to part with my home in Dawson Creek as I will be expanding my business to the Kootenays. I am grateful for the experience and the time spent with this home and am now excited to pass it on for others to enjoy!