Old Orchard Homes

Old Orchard Homes builds about 35 to 50 homes per year in the prosperous mid-Toronto neighborhood. 

The company was founded 10 years ago. At that time, Old Orchard Homes was building projects on spec and then selling them. Now, the company has a custom single-family homebuilding business and a development division. “We changed our business model to include building for hire,” Principal Tony Siesto says.

The development division transforms raw land into infill developments such as townhouses and midrises. Some projects are bigger than others. One current project will include 200 units. 

Old Orchard Homes’ 335 College St. project, for example, is a four-story building in the heart of the vibrant urban Kensington Market steps from the University of Toronto campus. A total of 25 units will range from 300 to 750 square feet. There will be retail space, as well.

“We specialize in tight space sites such as 335 College St.,” says Principal Nick Saccone. “We are able to think outside the box.” Saccone joined the company four years ago. Siesto handles business development while Saccone handles design and land development. Both serve as construction managers.

The custom home division typically builds about 15 new homes per year. These cost between $500,000 and $1.5 million. The homes range from 2,000 to 5,000 square feet.

The company was founded by construction manager Siesto and works closely with architect/designer Saccone. This sets Old Orchard Homes apart from other custom homebuilders, Siesto says.

“With most customer homebuilders, you have to go to an architect/designer first then look for a builder to coordinate the plans,” he says. “This is a one-stop shop.”

With both an architect/designer and construction manager working together, it reduces finger pointing and blaming in the event of mishaps. It also improves overall efficiency and effectiveness, as well as the finished product. “The projects are aesthetically integrated from design to completion,” Siesto says. The company organizational structure allows for improved planning and communication.

“Clients come here and get to talk. We can sit down and talk about the production schedule or their design and finishes. It really maximizes their time,” Siesto explains.

Old Orchard Homes’ process includes five steps:

    1)Pre-construction consultation – Discussion of the overall design and building process.
    2)Surveys, plats and permits – Old Orchard Homes guides customers through the process of obtaining needed permits and approvals.
    3)Schedule of finishes – Selection of interior and exterior finishes, flooring and trim.
    4)Building contract – A complete plan includes everything from demolition to landscaping.
    5)Communications – Weekly project meetings are held with clients and the company provides a secure web portal for clients to view the construction process.
Classical or Modern?

Old Orchard Homes’ styles run the gamut from “ultra-modern to very traditional and everything in between,” Siesto says. Case in point is the recent 59 Heath Road project. Old Orchard Homes acquired the 130-year-old property, which was shortly thereafter ruled a historic heritage property. Utilizing its design and construction creativity in conjunction with renowned Architect Richard Wengle, Old Orchard Homes maintained the 12-foot wide section of historic home and added 18 more feet – in a modern style. The contrasting sections create a striking exterior, Siesto says.

Saccone is the acting construction manager and he says that preserving the 130-year-old structure comes with great challenges. He is insuring the historic part of the home is not compromised by temporary bracing and making sure all building materials that will have to be duplicated are done so.

“It’s a good example of our versatility,” Siesto adds. “The trick is to make sure the two blend together with complementing colors and materials. Rather than trying to match the historic style, we went the completely opposite way and the merger is working quite well.”

Strong Market

When it comes to custom-building homes, the style is determined by the client. “Our market is very strong,” Siesto says. “Our biggest problem is not getting customers but meeting demand.”  

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