TightLines Designs recently collaborated with client Steve Orlesky on an exciting project in the City of Thunder Bay– an area of northern Ontario, Canada.  Our team worked closely with Steve to develop a modern variation of the standard Nash— a two-story Craftsman style home in our single family portfolio.

After locating two residential lots listed on MLS and purchasing them sight unseen, Steve discovered TightLines on the internet while searching for architectural design services.  Passionate about modern residential architecture and infill housing, Steve expressed an interest in locating an existing residential design that could be used for both lots in his hometown.  “Designing a structure from scratch just wasn’t in the budget,” Steve said.

After some discussion with Project Manager Craig Bethel, it was determined the Nash would be a great option for the project.  At only 16′ wide, the design is an ideal choice for narrow infill housing projects and could be quickly modified to allow for a modern exterior.  Floor plan modifications included creating a side entry foyer and adding a porch off the back bedroom on the second floor.  A basement was added and the exterior walls were modified to 2×6 framing to allow for thicker insulation.  Once the 1196 sf interior design was finalized, elevations were completed.  Elevations were based on a few images Steve provided of contemporary homes he liked as well as handmade sketches.  After receiving the full set of completed construction drawings electronically, Steve took the plans to a local architect to certify them to local code.  He recollects that process as much simpler than expected.  The final result was a design that was sized appropriately for the property, in code compliance and consistent with his taste.

Steve describes the area where his property is located as “one of the roughest parts of town” with high crime and scarce building activity.  With an economy that was mostly resource-based throughout the 1980s and 90s in the form of grain handling, lumber and paper mill industries, Thunder Bay suffered an extreme economic downturn.  Residents began leaving the city and the population became stagnant.  However, a number of new facilities constructed in recent years including a medical school and large regional hospital have led to substantial growth and employment opportunities.  Steve is optimistic that a planned municipal building with a $200 million construction budget in close proximity to his own property will spur renewed interest in the area.

Construction on Steve’s residential lots is planned for the spring of 2014.  Roof trusses will be made by a local company that takes climate conditions into consideration including a 63 psf snow load.  By code, ceiling insulation needs to be R50.  Exterior materials will include corrugated metal with cedar siding highlights and natural, green products are planned for the interior.  Flooring will consist of bamboo and porcelain tiles. High efficiency natural gas is planned for the heating system and toilets will be dual flush.  Given the area’s severe climate and the home’s enhanced insulation, no AC unit it planned for the structure.

Steve presently works in eastern Europe but hopes to return to Thunder Bay and engage full-time in building and marketing unique, environmentally friendly, urban infill housing.  He is committed to revitalization efforts in the area and also embodies a philanthropic spirit.  Steve plans to offer the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate a single-use license for the modern Nash design.  The affiliate recently acquired a lot just down the street from Steve’s property.