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Montana Remodeler Goes the Distance

One remodeler solves the tricky problem of working on a project located in the remote wilderness.

April 30, 1999

Running a remodeling business in the vast state of Montana has presented many challenges for Greg Bain. A recent project posed not only design challenges but logistical obstacles as well.

Three years ago, Chuck and Brenda Koker acquired a 1-acre parcel of land in Deborgia, Mont., a remote part of the state. Because of the location of the property, the couple carefully considered their options and decided that building a triple-wide modular home would be the most cost-effective and efficient solution.

The Kokers upgraded the already-loaded home with hardwood floors and other amenities but soon determined they had outgrown the space. In addition, the Kokers were concerned that the roof, though designed for heavier snow loads, would not hold up through its third Montana winter. It was time to look into other options.

Greg Bain and Co. had recently completed a remodeling job for Brenda’s sister, who recommended the Kalispell, Mont., remodeler. Though the Kokers were willing to consider building a new house on the property, the investment of purchasing and upgrading the modular home was fresh on their minds.

"They would have had to take quite a hit monetarily," Bain says. Instead, the remodeler suggested concealing the modular home within a Georgian Colonial addition. Design work began in the summer of 1997.

In addition to the unusual design elements involved with the job, the site’s remote location and 300-mile round trip would prove a logistical challenge to Greg Bain and Co. Before the job began, Bain assembled a team that understood and committed to the extraordinary travel requirements of the job.

To reduce travel times and expenses for his employees and subcontractors, Bain rented a nearby guest home, which he budgeted in the project’s overhead. Originally, the guest home was intended for use during the week, but many employees stayed the duration. "They decided they would just as well stay the weekend rather than make that drive," Bain says. As a side benefit, he says, the guest home was located in the "prettiest part" of Montana.

The site’s remote location also made obtaining supplies tricky. "The nearest lumberyard was 100 miles away, so pre-planning was very important," Bain says. "You made sure you didn’t forget a circular saw."

For three months, Bain’s employees resided in the guest cabin and occasionally made the 300-mile trek to and from Kalispell. By early June, the Kokers were able to take occupancy. The results were dramatic, and Bain achieved his goal: to accommodate the family’s lifestyle and the Montana winters while enveloping the modular home.

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