Partner Feature – Pine Creek Homes

Partner Feature – Pine Creek Homes

Pine Creek Homes is one of Manitoba’s top custom home builders and we’re proud to count them as friends and quality partners. 

Brothers Glen and Josh Veenstra are second generation home builders.  In 2012 they succeeded their parents, Jasper, and Lori in running the family business.  Like so many in construction, they gained their knowledge of home building by being hands-on, from an early age.  The first tasks were not glamorous: mucking out basements, cleaning up rubbish and pulling nails from forming.  “My first work memory is cleaning a basement that was particularly challenging.  By the time Glen and I were done it seemed like there was more mud on us than anywhere else”, recalls Josh Veenstra with a chuckle.  “A nearby puddle provided the only opportunity to clean us up before we were allowed to get back into our dad’s truck!” 

Brothers Josh & Glen Veenstra, Pine Creek Homes

As they grew, Josh and Glen learned valuable skills as part of framing crews, as equipment operators and eventually lead carpenters.  For the young men, their dad, Jasper, often had the role of teacher but was also famously strict when it came to quality details.  It was his example and high standards that led Pine Creek Homes to be the highly regarded builder it is today.  

Woodworking skills run deep in the Veenstra clan.  In the mid-1990’s their uncle, John, travelled to South Carolina to take a course in timber framing.  A cabinetmaker by trade, his eye for detail and exacting measurements, made him a natural in the skills of this newly revived craft.  His know-how helped the company pivot toward building distinctive homes that featured heavy timber.  Not surprisingly the young men were drawn in, spending many hours after school cutting timbers in the Pine Creek workshop.

“Pine Creek Homes grew naturally from there.  We found that our customers were looking for a home that was distinctly theirs, met their needs and lifestyle and was built to a very high standard”, says Josh.  Today Pine Creek’s guiding philosophy reflects their experience in custom building.  There are important lessons they have taken to heart:

  • Be personally involved – always be available to clients, no matter the question or issue.
  • Provide regular and honest communication to clients – it’s the basis of all good relationships.
  • Time used in design refinement and creating detailed plans is time well spent.
  • Limit how many homes you build in a year, so every client has their spot and gets the attention they deserve.
  • Work with tradespeople who sweat the details – quality is found in a thousand small details done well.

Josh says their clients see the value of Pine Creek’s intensive design process: “We aim to have about 90% of the design decisions made before we start on a client’s foundation.  It makes for a smooth build, gives clear direction for trades, and makes an enjoyable experience for clients.”  Modern home design presents tens to hundreds of choices on every material and space.  To help in decision-making and to confirm choices, Pine Creek’s professional in-house design team provide clients with 3D walk-throughs of their soon-to-be-built homes.  Clients love it. “For many, they’re seeing their new home for the first time in a way that they can really understand.  It’s great for everyone’s confidence,” says Josh.

When asked what he and Glen see as their favourite part of the job, Josh responds, “It’s got to be possession day.  The client has seen their dream home coming together week by week and now we get to celebrate with them.  Handing the keys over is a powerful moment and can be emotional for both them and for us.”

The Beauty of Timber

The Beauty of Timber

The Missing Ingredient: Nature

Each of us is intimately linked to nature, through the air we breathe and the water and food we consume.  It goes much deeper; our ancestors, our human experience and our DNA are all infused with nature, and we can’t exist long without it.  It’s surprising then, that we spend the largest part of our lives inside buildings and away from nature.  Equally striking is that so many of these buildings are dominated by non-natural finishes (drywall, concrete, laminates and more).  In the latter half of the 20th century the exclusion of nature was embodied in an architectural style, aptly named Brutalism.  

Since human life depends on a connection to nature, one might wonder what a prolonged and daily separation from nature is doing to us.  A growing body of medical and public health research provides strong reasons for getting more nature into our lives.  Framed positively, exposure to nature improves one’s cognitive function, mood, blood pressure, mental health, sense of wellbeing, and sleep.  The benefits of simply having natural materials in the places we inhabit is linked to reductions in depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.  

The presence of wood brightens our mood, inspires creativity, and re-connects us with nature.

Big Wood to the Rescue

As with nature, our connection with wood is as deep as time.  Throughout human existence, trees provided us with shelter and warmth, supplied our first tools and in many places and times clothing and food as well.  Every individual piece of wood has its own character, which allows our eyes and minds to find the material interesting and pleasing.  Thankfully, the visible use of wood is making a comeback in modern timber frame and mass timber buildings.

A new awareness of how our indoor spaces affect us is taking hold.  Across Europe and North America new building designs are increasingly guided by considerations of mental and physical wellbeing.  Materials like wood are now understood as “biophilic” (able to connect us with nature) and this is the latest step along a path which has led to better indoor air quality, non-toxic material choices, better lighting and new levels of comfort for minds and bodies.

Cornerstone Timberframes has the privilege of participating in the design and construction of healthy, inspiring, and efficient wood buildings.  Our work is strengthened by ecologically conscious timber suppliers, architects and builders who join with us in celebrating the beauty of wood.  

Reach out to us – we’d love to hear about your ideas for using wood in your next project!

Associations between Nature Exposure and Health: A Review of the Evidence”, 2021 May, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Jimenez, et al.
Nurtured by Nature”, 2020 April, American Psychological Association.  Vol. 51, No. 3, pg 50