One of Denny Sturgis’s most favorite recent projects was a real plum. His design-build firm, Denny Sturgis Construction, garnered an assignment to build a showplace home on Michigan’s Lake Templene for an award-winning kitchen and bath designer. The assignment provided Sturgis, who handles the architectural as well as the construction duties, a chance to leverage both outstanding design creativity and also to try out a different exterior cladding product.
The Lake Templene Custom Home, as it is called, is a Craftsman-style home built on a peninsula with lake views on three sides. The three-bedroom, four-bath home features a great room carefully crafted to give occupants water views front, left and right. “Every bedroom, the office and the exercise room, is designed around that view, and incorporates it into a plan that makes for quality living,” said Sturgis, whose firm is in Colon, Mich., about 25 miles south of Battle Creek, and about 13 miles from Centreville, where the custom home is located.
“What makes it unique is we worked together to optimize all the views.” Recognizing those views were meant to be savored, Sturgis was careful to design the home with a low-maintenance exterior, which included low-maintenance siding, windows and trim. This allowed the owner greater freedom and more time to enjoy the lake views and relish the fun of waterfront living.
Cladding the home
In the past, Denny Sturgis Construction had used just about every sheet cladding product on the market. This had resulted in varying problems, Sturgis recalls.
For instance, fiber cement cladding brought with it warranty issues, while the other products proved hard to install and generated large amounts of waste. “Also, for minor repairs, a lot of these products prevent you from unzipping the bottom piece and doing the repair,” Sturgis said. “You have to take the entire area of siding down.”
On this custom home project, Sturgis chose to use Foundry Specialty Siding. Denny Sturgis Construction buys its cladding products from a lumberyard known for genial and attentive personal service, Tomlinson in Colon, Mich. “They stock a lot of Foundry too, so it makes it really easy to get. There’s just a ton of grassroots support that you will not get in a “big box” store. At Tomlinson, you’ll find a guy behind the counter who’s been selling lumber for decades. We became interested in Foundry because of its ease of installation and less waste. ”
The use of Foundry was a game changer for Sturgis. “After that, Foundry was all my employees wanted to work with,” he reported. “The interior designer was really into appearances, and he liked the idea that it had a flat finish and not a fake shiny sheen. He also liked the idea that there was a whole bunch of different textures to choose from as well. There are split shakes, the weathered collection, and a lot of variety.”
Denny Sturgis chose to use the Foundry shake product, which he said prevents seams from being seen. “We used a 10-inch staggered shake on the lake house,” he recalls. “It’s a tall house with 10-foot ceilings. Once the owners decided on the product, they wanted a taller shake, and the 10-inch gave a better look to that house.”
Benefits of choosing Foundry
“Foundry is easy to install. It’s a really stable product, and not sensitive to warping or looking wavy,” Sturgis said. “We use it now a lot on re-dos of old lake cottages that don’t have straight walls, because they were crooked to begin with. Look down the length of regular horizontal siding, and you can see it waving in and out. It actually accentuates the problem. But with the texture of this product, it conceals any imperfection in terms of the wall’s straightness.”
Sturgis also noted that with other panel shake siding products, “The waste factor is huge. In a gable, about a third of the product is thrown away. With Foundry, the waste is minimal, so it’s more cost-effective, better for the environment and definitely easier to install.”
Denny Sturgis Construction has now used Foundry Specialty Siding in a number of custom home projects, often in gables or accessory panels, or in porches. The Lake Templene Custom Home is the biggest project to date that Sturgis has competed using Foundry. The owner of the home has had two other custom new homes built, and Foundry is his favorite.
Sturgis has benefited from the complete absence of callbacks on any of its Foundry projects. “That’s huge, because when you have to go back, it’s on you—it’s not charged to the homeowner and it’s unbillable hours for us,” Sturgis says.