Jan Bach believes in families. And he proves it with every house he builds. Arriving in Canada from Europe 16 years ago, Jan brought two critical assets with him: his extensive experience as a carpenter in Germany, and his ambition to build Luxury Custom Homes of the highest possible quality.
After establishing himself and Prestige Custom Homes in the Oakville/Port Credit area, Jan’s son Karl assumed a major role in the company. “I worked with Dad during my summer vacations while in high school and university,” Karl says, “and every day it seemed I learned something new from him. Shortly after graduating from university I joined my Dad full-time.”
Karl’s participation was just the beginning in Jan’s plans. Soon Jan’s daughter Anita added her extensive experience in real estate to the team contributing to the company’s success by sourcing out ideal and well-priced building lots for the firm’s clients. Wrapping things up neatly, Anita’s husband Mike Walker is a qualified mortgage broker who can assist clients with financing and provide private construction loans. This “all in the family” approach to business is reflected in Jan’s philosophy toward building custom homes. “When I am building a house, I am thinking of the people who will live there, the family and all the children,” he says, “and I think, ‘This will be their home and this is where they want to have good memories,’ and that is what I am building for them. I am building good memories of the future for them.” He makes his point with total sincerity. Then, with a sly grin, he adds: “Of course, I put much so of me into a home that sometimes, long after it’s built, I drive by the same home and look at it and think, ‘That’s my baby!’” Jan Bach brought more than his family with him when he arrived in Canada.
He also brought the concept of settling for nothing less than perfectionism. “Some people,” he says, holding a thumb and forefinger slightly apart, “they think that this much difference is okay when they are fitting materials for the house.” Then, bringing the fingers even closer together, he says: “Me, I say it has to be better. It has to be perfect.” Tradespeople employed by Prestige Custom Homes represent another family approach to Jan’s thinking. Almost without exception, they have been with Jan and his company for many years. “They’re all good people, the best in the business,” Jan’s son Karl explains. “And they all know each other, so we get terrific teamwork. Best of all, they are as passionate about what they do and how they do it as my Dad is. They have to be. Because if you’re the kind of tradesman who thinks, ‘That’s good enough,’ you’re not going to get along with Dad. You have to care as much about the job as he does.” The approach is not restricted to on-site work. For example, nothing says style and perfection in a custom-built home more immediately than millwork. The sight of elegant, perfectly-fitted baseboards, cornices and crown mouldings conveys a sense of craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Instead of purchasing these finishing touches from the usual sources, Jan and Karl insist on their millwork being sculpted according to their own design and specifications by a custom millworker. “We work so closely with them that they are practically our in-house supplier,” Karl says. Building a home of the highest quality also involves paying attention to the invisible evidence of perfection, such as work hidden beneath the ground and within the walls. Every poured concrete foundation that passes the Bachs’ scrutiny receives an exterior layer of rubber, creating an impermeable wall against water that can be expected to last for the life of the building.
There’s more. Prestige Custom Homes feature two-by-six wall studs that are 50 percent stronger than the two-by-fours used in most other homes. And the Bachs insist on using insulated ductwork made of heavier-gauge metal in the heating and air-conditioning systems. It’s part of Jan’s stubborn insistence on perfection, even when it’s not immediately apparent. No new homeowner can be expected to measure the thickness of the metal used in the ductwork of their new home, or inspect it for insulation. They’ll notice the effect, however, each time the heating or air conditioning unit begins operation. What they’ll notice is… almost nothing. No noise of lighter-gauge metal ductwork expanding and contracting, and much less noise of air flowing through the system. Silence may indeed be golden; in a Oakville Custom Homes, however, it’s standard. Sometimes the differences are subtle, but the payoff is enormous in the long run. You may never give a thought –why should you? – to the lintels over the doors and windows of your home. Lintels carry the weight above the door or window opening, and are usually constructed of the same materials used elsewhere in the walls. That’s the “good enough” attitude that Jan Bach rejects.
He insists on using structural lumber for lintels in every home he builds. Comparing a standard piece of lumber with a length of structural-quality wood may not reveal much difference to you,but Jan and Karl would recognize the difference immediately. Structural lumber is stronger to the door and window opening, bringing the finished house that much closer to perfection.
Striving for perfection generates rich appreciation from the clients of Prestige Homes, who value the uncompromising standards set and maintained by Jan and Karl. But it creates much more than confidence in their ability to produce Toronto Custom Homes of remarkable excellence. “My client is my family,” Karl says, and while he is a man of good humor, in this case he is quite serious. “Four years ago, we built a home for a client who liked our work so much that now we are building homes for his son and his daughter. That’s what happens when you treat your clients like they are family, when you tell them, ‘Nothing is too good for me to do when I am building your house, and nothing is too small for me to take care of after you move in. I will always be here for you.’ That’s what I tell them, because that’s what good families do. They’re always there when you need them.” It works both ways: One family felt so close to Jan and Karl that they invited both to the son’s wedding. How’s that for becoming part of the family by building a home to house its memories?
Prestige Custom Homes