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    • Scotch Creek Framing Begins

      February 24, 2017
      Crawlspace subfloor is now complete and main floor framing is in progress. 2x8 floor plates are being installed beneath 2x6 exterior wall plates as guides for future radiant floor heating and concrete preparation. Just waiting for mother nature to turn the dial up a bit before adding basement rebar and concrete.

      Structural engineering prescriptions for lakeside twin steel H beam structures are in the manufacturing stage, as are exterior Fir timber frame assemblies (see attached). A production slot has been reserved for custom metal clad windows which are just waiting for final confirmation once all steel assemblies are in place.

      Appliances have finalized and in time for kitchen wall adjustments.

      Custom elevator is ordered and structural engineering discussions are on-going to improve elevator assembly rear wall framing. Always looking to improve.

      Interior stairway design discussions are taking place, to be confirmed with scale CAD drawings. Hardwood flooring selections are finalizing, with the finish influencing stairway stain color.

      Interior and exterior finishing selections are progressing nicely and well within schedule. Hats off to Bill and Ina for their outstanding commitment.

      Custom stone for the interior and exterior is ordered with production time frames upwards of 6 months. Its getting busy out there! Siding material options are being explored. 

    • Eagle Bay Exterior Transformation

      February 24, 2017
      Before and after photos illustrate the powers of re-design and renovation. What a transformation!

      Roofers are completing installation of prolock metal roofing and will be finished this week. Windows are installed. Exterior doors remain off site, warm and dry, waiting for finish stain coats.

      Plumbers have completed their rough-in and, after today's client walk thru, electricians are putting their finishing touches on rough-in wiring. Insulation, drywall, flooring, painting and cabinets are all scheduled.

      Finishing selections are complete with Fir shaker doors, trims and beam finish materials ordering this week. The team was rewarded with client smiles after Steve and Kathy had an opportunity to walk through their new cabin and comment on looking forward to the new memories the next 25 years will bring.

      Waiting for mother nature to come to her senses before removing the existing fiberglass deck and replacing with Fir 5/8 T & G Select plywood and 60 mil Duradek vinyl.

      Siding is progressing nicely with soffits, fascia and most window trims installed. Siding and exterior beam finishing is on-going. Just waiting for warmer weather before installing the new septic field and driveway.

      Swimming off the dock. Just around the corner.

    • North Shore Lot Clearing

      February 08, 2017

      Survey crews have been on site staking out both house and garage corners for future excavation, as well as identifying the lake-side riparian zone for protective fencing.

      In preparation for future excavation, danger trees including Cottonwoods and dying Birch are being removed to ensure both personal and property safety.

      A Ministry of Environment Burning Permit was obtained after confirmation of positive Venting Indexes, which helps ensure proper conditions for burning and smoke dispersal. Tomorrow's anticipated 15 cm snowfall should cool any remaining embers down nicely.

      Foundation crews are standing by for final Building Permit and 100 m Lakes Development Permit approvals.

    • Copper Island Wins Gold

      February 05, 2017


      February 4, 2017, Kamloops, BC - Canadian Home Builders’ Association Central Interior announced 24 winning entries in its 12th Annual Keystone Home Builders Awards of Excellence. The black tie gala was held at the Thompson River University Grand Hall where everyone gathered to honor the best in their industry.

      Local builder, Copper Island Fine Homes Inc. of Blind Bay, BC captured the prestigious Gold Award for Best Single Family Detached home, plus Silver for Customer Choice.

      Greg Vistisen, owner and President of Copper Island Fine Homes stated, “…Nigel and Margaret are a fantastic couple and it was very much a pleasure working with them on their new home. This award would not have been possible without their support or that of our suppliers, sub-trades and outstanding team members. Accomplishments like this truly require a team effort”.  

      “9 years ago, we accepted our first Keystone award. We were a much smaller company back then, having recently incorporated in 2004. Fast forward 9 years, we have tripled in size, built over 60 new homes, renovated more than a dozen, most being whole house renovations and, in the process, been honored with 10 Gold Keystone awards”.

      “It brings me great satisfaction watching both the personal and professional development of each of our team members over that span of time. Their sense of ownership, pride of workmanship and commitment to client respect and service are outstanding. Our team has now become the face of Copper Island Fine Homes”.

      “I am so very proud of our team and would like to recognize Heidi Friesen, Dean Friesen, Chuck Beaton, Tim Lukashuck, Kyla Widdicombe, Rob Burt, Kathy Moore, Melody Thomson, Tammy Packer, Dee Baillee, Danielle Fauteux and Tracy Vistisen for their outstanding commitment to supporting our clients and building quality homes”.

      CHBA CI President Rob Lemire said, "The continued passion shown for housing by builders, trades and suppliers in the Kamloops region, has once again delivered some of the best homes in Canada over the past year. Tonight's awards have showcased these talents yet again."

      CHBA Central Interior is a vibrant active association of 200 members, the voice of residential construction in this region.

    • St. Ives Mechanical & Backframing

      February 03, 2017
      On site crews are remaining positive and in good spirits in spite of -12 temperatures. That yellow globe was almost visible but was eventually overshadowed by a persistent afternoon snow fall.

      Careful attention to weather trends enabled the crews to install 60 mil Duradek vinyl which looks fantastic. Consultations between framing and gas piping allowed for concealed steel gas piping within select partially hollow deck posts.

      Basement heating duct and plumbing pipe runs are being framed in for future drywall. Ladders are certainly required in this spacious 10' basement. Heating and ventilation is finalizing, as is plumbing rough-in. A plumbing air pressure test is scheduled, to be recorded for posterity.

      Electricians are finalizing their wiring rough-ins inside and digging their underground wiring for switch-over to main house power from temporary power pole service. Ground frost is relatively shallow at 8" and easily overcome with a hydraulic jackhammer.

      Backframing is in place for all bath fixtures (towel bars, toilet paper holders, etc.), not to mention stair hand rails and kitchen cabinets. Always nice securing fixtures into real wood as opposed to relying solely on drywall for support. Ceiling back-framing is also in place for drywall truss lift prevention, a common occurrence in the Shuswap due to extreme fluctuations in both temperature and humidity.

      Cabinets and counter tops are in production. Flooring and lighting has been selected and scheduled. Drywaller's and painters are standing by. Finishing trims and stairway railing selections have been confirmed.

      Edward and June are to be commended for their outstanding commitment and hands-on approach. Immediate feedback is always nice for the crews.

      Crews are working diligently to make up for a couple of lost weeks due to inclement weather. A challenge gladly accepted.

    • North Shore Waterfront Start

      February 02, 2017
      -11 C today with sunny sky's with Spring just around the corner. A good time to start a new foundation. Foundation corners have been survey staked in preparation for an early dig in advance of upcoming Spring road bans.

      Agent forms have been submitted allowing us to work with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) on behalf of our wonderful USA clients, Don and Vivian.

      CSRD zoning and bylaws require a Building Permit and 100 m Lakes Development Permit, both of which have been submitted. Permitting required significant on site assessments and reporting by specialists involving hydrology (septic & drainage), riparian (fisheries protection), septic design and geotechnical (Ross Creek flood & debris flow assessment plus foundation soils) and surveying. Archaeology database reviews are favorable.

      On site discussions last summer with Don and Vivian, local friends and a plan designer, allowed for a creative exchange of ideas which resulted in a wonderful plan for this 1761 SF walk-up rancher with 1032 SF upper floor and loft. Surveying and plan design also enabled the retention of numerous mature Douglas Fir trees for both shade and privacy, while removing select aging Cottonwoods for safety; a good practice considering the hurricane winds and associated property damage experienced on the North Shore in 2016.

      Timber frame details are being reviewed by structural engineering. Douglas Fir timber materials have been ordered and a production slot has been reserved with our timber frame supplier. Designs look fantastic.

      Email and telephone design and selection conversations have been taking place nicely, even at a distance, since the Fall with the majority of key decisions having already been confirmed. Looking forward to meeting again with Don and Vivian when they return late Spring.

      Power is on site and energized and the crew is ready to roll.

    • Slingin' Stones Shuswap Style

      February 01, 2017
      Extra crews were on hand this past week stripping forms and removing insulated concrete blankets on this Scotch Creek waterfront foundation working to get ahead of the upcoming snow. Foundation walls have been cleaned, tarred and sealed.

      Trucks have also been stockpiling 3/4" crush on site since Monday on the off chance the Ministry of Transportation initiates road bans due to the recent warming trend. Although most side roads are 70%, we do our best to minimize large vehicle traffic when road frost is coming out of the roads. Small efforts that help protect our roads.

      Side access is challenging for this foundation backfill due to tight setbacks. The pictured Stoneslinger is a cost saving measure. It improves efficiencies by eliminating the need for expensive bobcat machine time.

      The use of 3/4" crushed rock, as opposed to traditional pitt run, eliminates the need for expensive manpower and machine compaction. A useful combination when confronted with challenging time frames. The cherry on top: our home owners are saving both time and money and we like both!

      Backfill will be complete this week. Floor joists have been ordered. Custom timber frame posts, beams and connections are in production. Custom interior stair CAD drawings are in progress for future design discussions and layouts.

      Interior and exterior design meetings are on-going and progressing nicely which include numerous plan design suggestions to enhance home owner livability, fantastic design drawings and detailed element design boards.

      Discussions are in progress with local suppliers to source upgraded J-Grade or Premium Grade lumber to enhance drywall finishing and reduce the occurrence of lumber twists and drywall screw pops.

      Looking forward to the start of framing! It should coincide nicely with upcoming Spring weather.

    • Kicker Copper Island History

      January 17, 2017

      In 2004, long-time Blind Bay residents and good friends Greg Vistisen and Cliff Bridges spotted an opportunity to capitalize on the strong housing market in the Shuswap. The pair both had full-time jobs. Greg was managing construction of a retirement home community in Salmon Arm, and Cliff was juggling two successful businesses, including the Blind Bay Car Wash. As a result, their original goals for their new company, Copper Island Fine Homes, were modest—build one or two spec houses a year as market conditions allowed.

      By the company’s second year, the pair had completed and sold three houses. Meanwhile, demand for custom houses was making them reconsider their goals and realize that their new company desperately needed full-time commitments. Cliff was unable to make that commitment given his other business interests, and the two reached an agreement where Greg and his wife Tracy would take over the company.

      Based on his experience as a project manager and early successes with Copper Island Fine Homes, Greg realized that the way forward required a fresh approach.

      “At that time, Tracy and I began to see that, while there were some reputable builders in the area, lack of building inspections and other factors had led to a pretty old-fashioned approach to building,” explains Greg. “We saw the same style of house being built over and over. We saw little of the innovation that was becoming more and more common in the construction industry in different, more populated areas. We knew that, because of lack of building inspections, many houses weren’t even being built to code. And we also knew that it was very common for new home buyers to be paying significantly more in extra, unbudgeted costs at the end of the construction process. We were determined to change all of this.”

      To address the lack of innovation and quality standards, Greg used a multi-pronged approach. He hired top quality journeymen carpenters, began building relationships with the area’s most capable trades, and committed himself and his staff to the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) voluntary education courses. When these education requirements became mandatory in 2015, Copper Island had already received all the certifications. Today, Copper Island is the only Shuswap builder certified by the CHBA through their two-year Registered Home Professional, Licensed Residential Builder, Renovator and Built Green Builder programs and is a Certified Energy Star Builder.

      Greg also signed on to a state-of-the-art, cloud-based construction management application that allows him, his clients, and his staff and sub-trades to monitor every aspect of the construction process in real time. And he made the decision that every client should have the opportunity to learn about and make decisions about all aspects of their project, with the goal of developing a firm budget, well before any dirt is turned.

      “We like to spend a lot of time before we build, doing research with the client,” explains Greg. “Everything is online and we can create accurate estimates for clients and revise them over time to make sure we meet their budget and minimize the number of cost overruns.”

      All of this effort has paid dividends. The company has built more than 60 houses (and completed many whole-home renovations) in the last ten years. Along the way, they’ve won numerous accolades—in fact, they are the only Shuswap builder to have been recognized for excellence at the annual Central Interior CHBA Keystone Home Builder Awards (they’ve actually won 15). Most recently, during the 2016 Keystone Awards, they were awarded Gold for Best Single Family Detached Home valued between $750,000 to $1.5 million.

      Perhaps more importantly, the company’s website has a page that is chock full of glowing testimonials from satisfied clients.

      “The success of our business is very much related to the support we receive from our subtrades and suppliers, and our clients have been fantastic,” says Greg. “It’s been a really good relationship. Obviously, our staff is the core of our business.”

      Copper Island specializes in building homes ranging from $350,000 to $2,000,000 throughout the South and North Shuswap and Salmon Arm. Greg and his staff help their clients find a house plan to take advantage of their lot’s features and terrain, do the permitting and regulation compliance, develop comprehensive budgeting, and provide assistance with interior design selections and landscaping options. The company looks after every detail, including 10-year home warranty, construction insurance, and WCB.

      The Kicker appreciates the advertising support from Greg and Tracy Vistisen at Copper Island Fine Homes and wish them continued success. For more information, visit

    • Eagle Bay Renovation

      January 16, 2017
      The team is nearing completion on an interior renovation for the Pullman residence in Eagle Bay. A stunning home and fantastic clients to work with.

      Interior finishing includes re-building interior floors, drywall, flooring, wood stair finishing, finishing trims, cabinet built-ins, custom showers, fireplace masonry and mantle, painting and general finishing carpentry.

      Looking forward to handing the home over to Janet in the very near future.


    • St. Ives Roofing

      January 13, 2017
      Stronger winds, unusual colder temperatures and heaving than normal snow falls have created some interesting challenges for the crews. They have persevered admirably. Scheduling has been pushed back approximately 2 weeks as a result of the weather, but slack has been provided in future scheduling which will allow us to bring the project back on track.

      Roofing started last week only to be interrupted by a nice downfall of snow which, although enjoyed by North Shore sledders, left a few of the roofing crew wondering why they relocated from rainy Vancouver.

      Windows and doors arrived today and are being installed, along with specialty corner caps and peel and stick membranes.

      Cabinets are laying out for mechanical and lighting placements.

      Mechanical rough-ins start early next week including plumbing and heating with electrical rough-ins scheduled for the early part of February. Insulation and drywall have been scheduled for early Spring.