Modern Home Builder - Winter 2018 - 93
ing, which creates a very dramatic look. Unlike traditional sliding
doors, where one panel slides in front of the other panel, these fold
entirely out of the way. It creates the feeling of an indoor-outdoor
space without materially impacting the budget."
The home has four bedrooms and bathrooms, and features a
butler's pantry, theater room, floating staircase, and red oak floors
throughout. "All the floors used to be a deep cherry wood color,"
Ratcliffe says, adding Alair Homes stripped the floors to a natural,
"The top and front of each tread of the stairs was finished in a
natural stain so it's light on top, while the underside of each tread
was painted a dark brown," she says. "It's a bit more playful because
if you're walking up the stairs it looks dark and as you're walking
down it looks bright."
Alair Homes also incorporated a 10-foot-long window to replace five windows on the west side of the floor. "Each window had
a very thick frame around it and they weren't as operable as they
once were," Ratcliffe explains. "The new window is unobstructed
glass and has no curtains, so you can see the forest in the backyard."
demanding clients; my husband," she says. "If I didn't have the Alair
process I'm not sure if I would have been able to do this project. It
was very helpful because I was able to tell him exactly how much
everything would cost, how long it would take, and provide a list of
vendors we needed to choose from. It put him at ease, which put
me at ease."
Ratcliffe says she and Black are most proud that they have been able
to build a team that they can call family. "It has been a big part of
our success," she says. "That is why we are careful about who we
hire. We want to find people who are not only passionate about
what they do, but also life and helping others."
Alair Homes' philosophy is "living better starts here." "We want
to ensure that's true not only for our clients, but also for our team
in the office," Ratcliffe concludes. "Working better starts with us,
but living better does as well. I'm really happy about the team
we've built, and the trades, designers and architects we can call
partners. We're really proud about the network of people we've
been able to pull together because it makes coming into the office
that much more enjoyable." )
Working with the subcontractors during the project "was fantastic," Ratcliffe notes. "It's been wonderful working with the trades
because these are people we trust and have worked with for nearly
10 years. If I don't trust a trade enough to bring them into my
home, how could I ever suggest them to one of our clients?"
Due to Ratcliffe's career as a contractor, she notes that she
looked at the renovation through a different lens from a typical
customer. "I looked at it from the perspective of what would make
the most sense in terms of return on investment if we ever sell,"
she explains. "However, I also wanted to ensure the home is usable
while my family and I are here."
When choosing the trades she wanted to work with, Ratcliffe
sought those with high quality standards, including quality of finishes. "I'm only planning to renovate this space once, so I want it to
last," she says. "That's why I chose Velux for my skylights, for example. Windows was another category where I wanted best in class.
There were a number of different window companies I could've
went with. However, Pella offers the best warranty in the business,
which is why I chose them."
Ratcliffe also chose AyA Kitchens because of their responsiveness and value. "Our family couldn't afford handmade kitchen cabinets, but we wanted a customized look," she explains. "AyA allows
for customization and makes it affordable."
Ultimately, Ratcliffe's family home went through the same client control process as any other Alair Homes project. Ratcliffe says
she appreciates the experience because as a homeowner she can
positively attest to the process firsthand.
"Even though I'm building for myself, this was one of my most
Winter 2018 www.mhb-magazine.com