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    • Flexibility: The Key to Renovations

      May 26, 2023

      Here at Copper Island Fine Homes, we don't just specialize in building our clients' new dream homes. Since inception, we've also been committed to renovating existing homes to modern standards.

      Renovating older homes in an area like the Shuswap comes with its share of challenges. Prior to building inspections, many homes in our part of the province were originally constructed without much thought to future changes and improvements. So we've always found that flexibility and creativity are important tools when we work on renovations.

      Case in point: we just started a renovation project in Sorrento, where we’re converting a small garage into a new shop with bathroom. To accommodate this, we needed to improve the existing septic system -- and then connect the new shop to it. There’s a  wide driveway between the new shop and the house which will now share the same tank. The problem was, how to connect them with new piping without doing damage to the existing pavement driveway?

      We decided to call in Iron Man Drilling out of Salmon Arm. Iron Man has a Ditch Witch track-mounted directional drill to bore under roadways. The company uses a two-man team, with one running the drill and the other using a sensor that detects a radio beacon on the drill head to guide the drill head on the correct path.

      The drill set up on the shop side and drilled five feet below the driveway to a target location on the house side. Once the drill bit had reached a hole that our excavator had previously dug, the Iron Man crew attached a hole reamer to widen the hole and then pulled a 6” utility sleeve pipe through the new tunnel. Our plumber can now run a new sewer line in the sleeve (and the same sleeve can now be used for new electrical and water supply lines).

      We think it's an ingenious solution that retains the integrity of the driveway. Our thanks to Iron Man Drilling for the great work. If you've got questions about renovations, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss your project.

    • Finished...But Not Forgotten

      May 14, 2023

      Once a Copper Island Fine Homes customer, always a Copper Island Fine Homes customer.

      Long after we complete building every Copper Island Fine Home, we remain committed to customer satisfaction. Regular post-sale inspections are scheduled from the moment our customers take possession of their Shuswap dream home. These inspections – which take place one, two, five and ten years after the possession date – give our valued customers peace of mind that their investment is in good hands. And in the rare event that these inspections turn up a problem, we’re committed to resolving them in a timely fashion to our customers’ complete satisfaction.

      Recently, Copper Island Fine Homes co-owner Sylvia Picton completed a five year inspection of the Dunn lakefront residence in Scotch Creek. The results? Sylvia’s exhaustive inspection turned up no issues or problems. The owners are very happy with their home, and also had no issues to report. In fact, they were so pleased with their home they volunteered to show their home to potential new Copper Island Fine Home clients.

      Below are some photos of the Dunn residence. We’re pleased to have an opportunity again to thank them for entrusting us with building their Shuswap dream home!

    • Secondary Suites Are Coming

      May 05, 2023

      In 2024, Copper Island Fine Homes will celebrate its 20th year of home construction here in the Shuswap. Throughout our two decades of business, a growing number of clients have asked if we can be contracted to build secondary housing units on their properties – either additions to their existing house or a suite in a separate building – that can be used as homes for aging parents or young adult children, or as a way of providing rental income.

      For the most part, we’ve had to inform them that it’s not possible because the Columbia Shuswap Regional Districit (CSRD) has never allowed these types of secondary suites. But that’s now changing, as the CSRD has acknowledged the increasing shortage of rental units and is now moving forward with policy changes to allow construction of these suites.

      In fact, the CSRD has launched a public survey inviting input as it works on proposed zoning amendments to permit secondary dwelling units, or SDUs, in Electoral Areas B through G (Copper Island Fine Homes work primarily in areas C, F and G). These amendments are a response to a housing needs assessment, conducted between 2018 and 2021, that concluded that “rental accommodation is scarce and unaffordable in all our CSRD communities, and home ownership is unaffordable for many people.”

      Specifically, the CSRD has proposed allowing SDUs of up to 1,500 square feet in most rural and residential zones. A SDU is defined as having its own private bathroom, kitchen, living and sleeping areas, and can be a self-contained rental apartment that’s part of an existing home, or a detached unit such as a carriage house or garage. Any garage space in a detached unit is not included in the 1,500 square foot restriction.

      The survey is asking for public input on the proposed size of SDUs, particularly as they relate to the size of the existing property.

      In addition to amending zoning rules to support secondary dwelling units, the CSRD is also looking at zoning bylaw changes that would accommodate increasing the size of accessory buildings like garages, and workshops so that they may incorporate an SDU.

      The CSRD has also made it clear that SDUs will not be allowed to be used as short-term vacation rentals. For more information or to contribute to the survey, visit and look for the section Secondary Dwelling Units.

    • Stairmasters

      April 29, 2023

      Custom stair railings are the norm for almost every Copper Island Fine Home these days. And when we need custom stair railings and finishing of any description, we often turn to one of our most trusted sub-trades, Rick's Woodworking out of Salmon Arm. The principals of Rick's Woodworking are the father and son team of Rick and Craig Enns, and we love their work. It's a safe bet that our clients do as well.

      Below are some photos of Rick and Craig's latest work for us at a beautiful 2,500 square foot walkup rancher that we're getting close to completion with over in Anglemont Estates on the North Shore. Our thanks to Craig for taking these images of their work. Craig and Rick will be finishing these gorgeous stair railings over the coming week.

      Also underway with this home are other finishing items. The tile is currently being installed, and we're also about to have our sub-trades start their electrical, plumbing and HVAC finishing. Watch for more photos of this stunning home as we bring it to completion in time for its new owners to enjoy this summer.

    • Another Highlands Handoff

      April 22, 2023

      We're just days away from completing yet another beautiful custom build in the Highlands subdivision of Shuswap Lake Estates. The spacious daylight basement home features outstanding views of the golf course, Copper Island, and the Shuswap Lake.

      Below are a few photos of the finished project as we get prepared to hand over the keys to the new owners. As you can see, the stunning kitchen features a contrasting colour island and floor to ceiling cabinetry. We'd also point out the unique diningroom light fixture in the photos. The owners sourced this gorgeous fixture in Israel, and somehow it made the trip to the Shuswap completely unscathed in just four days!

      This home has been a pleasure to work on, and as always we'd like to acknowledge the excellent work done by our staff and trusted sub-trades from right here in the Shuswap. And our sincere thanks to the owners, for entrusting us to build their Shuswap dream.

      We hope to have some more photos from this home next week. And just down the road in the Highlands, we're hard at work on two more homes which we'll be bringing to completion later this year.

    • The Extra Mile

      April 15, 2023

      Here's another update from the whole home renovation that we're getting close to wrapping up over in Celista. Increasingly, our clients are focusing on the details that make their house a home, and that's certainly the case with this project. And we're more than happy to help.

      The clients have some land on the other side of the Squilax Anglemont Road from their house. Years ago, just after purchsing the property, they removed some fir trees to make room for an RV. The wood did not go to to waste, with most of the bigger fir trees being cut into wood slabs and left to cure.

      Our clients really wanted to use some of this wood somehow in their renovation. They approached us during the project with the idea of creating a wooden fireplace mantle from the fir. So after some discussion with the interior designer Kyla Widdicombe and our Project Manager Doug Mann, the clients decided to proceed. Doug carved off a section with his chainsaw and took it to run it through a planer. It was then prepped using a wire brush and ultimately finished with varathane. The end result, which you can see in the photos below, is a custom mantle created from a tree which grew only a few yards away.

      The tile surround is also of note. Our stonemason/tilesetter, Marcus Buhrig, was entrusted with installing huge 2' X 4' tiles. Not only did he have to handle these large, heavy tile with care, he had to run the corner tiles through his beam saw to create the mitre joint. This is not something most other tilesetters could do, and it definitely made the difference!

      Here at Copper Island Fine Homes, we're always happy to go extra mile for a client -- we really do care, and we'll go to great lengths to make our clients happy.

    • Kitchen Reno: Before & After

      April 07, 2023

      Here at Copper Island Fine Homes, we do a lot of extensive, whole-home renovations. And experience tells us that one of the main outcomes desired by our renovation clients is a modern, spacious kitchen. In fact, it's one of the most cited reasons our clients give us for undertaking these types of makeovers.

      That's certainly been the case on a whole-home renovation that we're currently in the final stages of in Celista. The original 2,600 square foot home was built in the early 90s, and the kitchen was typical for the day -- small, cramped, and dark, with inexpensive cabinetry and millwork. Needless to say, the owners envisioned something much more modern and luxurious, and that's exactly what we've given them.

      Check out the dramatic before and after photos below. Gone are the sunshine ceiling lighting, the small and dark cabinets, the cramped layout, and the dated appliances. We knocked down a wall at the rear of the old kitchen and utilized space from a small utility area and hallway to create this impressive culinary space. The gleaming white cabinets (installed by Renaissance from Salmon Arm) and quartz countertops are complemented by new stainless appliances and a huge contrasting-colour island which offers a focal area. New engineer flooring completes the room.

      We're handing over the project next week to our clients, and we couldn't be happier with how this renovation has been done -- particularly the kitchen! Our thanks to our clients for their vision, our trusted sub-trades, and our staff.

    • Exterior Finishing in the Highlands

      April 01, 2023

      We're bringing yet another beautiful project to completion in the Highlands subdivision of Shuswap Lake Estates. As we work towards our April 25th date to hand over this home to its new owners, exterior finishing is front and center.

      The finish features a combination of stone, acrylic stucco and siding. That's our stonemason for this project, Blind Bay's Marcus Buhrig, in the photo below, installing the stone on the chimney. Meanwhile, Terry Corbett of Kelowna's TC Stucco has two scratch coats on the house and is working on his final coat and colour this coming week. Terry has also installed some Lux siding for us around the front office window, which you can also see in the photo below.

      Meanwhile, inside, flooring will be completed this week, along with electrical and plumbing finishing. In the coming weeks, final painting is scheduled, as are fireplace startup and any last minute finishing details such as passage sets, door stops and bath accessories.

      Stop back to see some photos of the finished product later this month. 

    • Eagle Bay Hall Update

      March 24, 2023

      In January, we told you about our work leading the renovation of the Eagle Bay Community Hall. The regional district and many private and corporate donors came together to fund a much-needed update of the venerable old building, which dates back to the 1950s. The goal was to modernize, enlarge and equip the facility so that it could meet the ever-increasing demand from community members.

      Since then, Project Manager Doug Mann and Construction Client Liaison Nancy Costerton have been pushing hard to keep this project on schedule. Last week, as you can see in the photos below, new stainless steel countertops were installed in the new kitchen addition. That's Steven and Benjamin Neufeld of Madera Contracting, one of our most-trusted subcontractors, doing the work. As well, new hand wash vanities were installed. Meanwhile, the new flooring is complete, as is installation of interior doors and trim. This week, we've had our painting and drywall crews working hard to finish touchups.

      Next week, we'll have all hands on deck to wrap up plumbing, electrical, HVAC, appliance installs, and commercial bathroom fixtures. The community hopes to have the grand old hall ready for a soft opening sometime later in April. 

      "This has been an amazing project to work on," says Mann. "It's not often we get to work on a project like this and contribute directly to fabric of our Shuswap community. This lovely old hall has created so many memories for Eagle Bay residents and visitors over the last seven decades, and with the work of our dedicated staff and sub-trades, it will soon be ready to create even more memories in the decades to come."

    • Breaking Rock

      March 17, 2023

      Rock outcroppings have always been a reality here in the Shuswap, and we've done our fair share of rock breaking (and even blasting) to prepare ideal house locations on various building sites. That's exactly what we're doing this week over in the North Shore as we prep a site for a beautiful new West Coast rancher.

      Prior to starting this project, we knew that we'd have to break some rock to maximize the home's location, but as it turned out, the situation wasn't quite as bad as we initially believed it would be. Our excavation contractor for this project, Spooner Excavating, has been making much better progress than expected, as the site's rock has been fracturing quite easily. So instead of two weeks of work for this stage, we'll be wrapping it up in approximately one week and moving forward with cribbing for the foundation.

      This type of work can add significant expense given the reliance on heavy equipment, but there's often a silver lining, as the fractured boulders can be utitlized for landscaping and rock retaining walls, while the smaller shale makes for excellent backfill material.

      More photos of this exciting new project will be coming in the next few months.