Beirut home tour from September 23-25.

The Bitterroot Building Industry Association is hosting the Bitterroot Homes Tour from September 23-25.

Builders on the Bitterroot Tour of Homes include Big Sky Builders, Clearwater Builders of Montana, Hansen Tomlinson Fine Homes, Pigman Builders, Red Ladder Construction, and Schrock Construction, Inc. and Treasure State Builders.

The builders were touring each other’s homes on Wednesday.

Casey and Caleb Tipton of Big Sky Builders have been on the tour since the mid-’90s and said the Build Tour is the best aspect of the Tour of Homes.

“The best is to meet all the other people and builders,” said Casey Tipton. “We don’t have a lot of opportunities to meet and watch each other’s work. We love what we do. We talk to other builders, we talk about experiences, products, the economy and the difficulties in getting products.”

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He said the challenge of sourcing products when needed is improving but Big Sky Builders are ordering early for products that take a while to arrive, especially cabinets, windows and garage doors.

“We asked for these things back in October of last year,” he said. “Some garage doors are out of 30 weeks, windows are only about 10 weeks now and cabinets are 17 to 19 weeks, so five months lead time.”

Caleb Tipton agreed that waiting for products to be delivered is a challenge because completing the project on time is important.

“Last year we had some difficulties and the regular schedules changed,” he said. “What do you do when you expect the cupboards and windows to come in at a certain time? It was difficult for us because being late is not what we are used to. We have adapted to arranging things earlier, it is completely different.”

Big Sky Builders have already begun ordering a Tour of Homes home next year.

Casey Tipton said Big Sky Builders complete 12 to 16 homes annually and that the build-up in the Bitterroot Valley has been good.

“We just manage that along with the difficulty in getting the product,” he said. “It was a balancing act. We got the divers who are part of the regular team, so it makes it easier.”

He said the Big Sky Builders team and sub-suppliers “have come together really well.”

“We’ve worked with most of them for years and years,” he said. “It is easy to work with them, everyone is friendly, they work together and there are no difficulties.”

For the house on the tour, Big Sky Builders worked with sub-suppliers of Alpine Granite Accents, Inc. and Alpine Painting, Inc. and Big Sky Rain Gutters, Custom Plumbing, Fred’s Appliance, Grizzly Garage Doors, Ivan’s Roofing, Loren’s Carpet One, Massa Home Center, Quest Insulation, The Closet Guy and Western Montana Lighting.

The Seeley Farmhouse in the Daly Estates is a one-story, three-bedroom, two-bath home, featuring a zero-step entrance, 1,954-square-foot, and three-car garage.

It’s one of our typical homes,” Casey Tipton said. “It has wide walkways, an open plan and a beautiful view. You can enjoy gorgeous sunsets across Blodgett Canyon and the Bitterroot Mountains.”

Angela Previte-Barnhouse, executive director of BBIA, said the builders tour is unique.

“This is the only time they can see each other’s homes and build a camaraderie,” she said. “They can see what their peers are doing and the creative ideas they are using in the market.”

Previte-Barnhouse said this is the 28th year of the tour.

“I think the Pigman Builders has had a home on the tour every year,” she said. “I am proud of the homes and builders we are showing off this year. BBIA is one of the few associations in Montana that has continued to host a home tour consistently during the recession and pandemic.”

Ran Pigman of Pigman Builders said the reasons for his participation have evolved over the years.

“We participated every year, and we didn’t have a house on the tour every year, but some years we had two houses,” he said. “We’ve had 30 homes in 28 years.”

He said that the start of the tour has increased commercial and community relations.

“We started with my people’s house that we built and it has had a good response,” he said. “My brother Chip set up the Building Industry Association in Bitterroot. The tour became a viable BBIA success and was the biggest fundraiser of the year. During the slow years, we’d put one or two of the community homes (such as The Arbors and Stonegate Meadows) on the tour. It was great to get on traffic through the community.”

Pigman said that during the building’s “landing cycle” years in 2008, 2009 and 2010, the tour struggled.

“But Bitterroot has continued to tour every year since I started,” he said. “In some years we have had a nice big house on the tour and we will add a community house. The big houses are a lot of work to be done on time, but having them on the tour has been good for BBIA.”

Every construction worker has a hard time getting the products they need to build, Pigman said.

He said: “The past three years have been supply chain chaos, and in 40 years we have never seen a break like in the last 18 months.”

This delay caused homes to be incomplete, and this year also moved the home tour from its usual August time. But, tour participants will benefit as the smoke clears and can enjoy the homes with beautiful views.

Pigman Builders built “Three Sisters” using progressively larger scissor wooden trusses to open up the living room to views of the Three Sisters Mountains.

After Wednesday’s construction tour, Pigman said the tour this year is exceptional.

“I was really impressed, more than I expected, having been touring for 28 years,” said Bigman. “There are affordable houses but there are four houses above one level, what I call a dream house. Nice to see these, they are excellent. Better to see all the houses and visit the builders. Unless you go on the tour you won’t see each other’s work.”

Thursday night was the tenth year of Bitterroot – a celebration of the local culinary dishes associated with the Houses Tour. Previte-Barnhouse said, “The Taste of the Bitterroot is back after a two-year absence due to COVID.”

Bitterroot’s taste was initially started by Previte-Barnhouse and BBIA member Flora Bouy of Alpine Granite. This year B&B Cabinetry and Design hosted Terminal Hamilton at its Taste event for local chefs and brewers for 50 guests.

Wendy Bauder said the evening was full of high-quality adventures and tastings of locally made tapas, wines, beers and spirits. Participating restaurants included The Catered Table, Mission Bistro, Backyard Tap House, Struggle Chef Catering, Lolo Creek Distillery and Willow Mountain Winery.

“Ticket holders sampled the shows, then boarded the buses to tour the homes,” Bowder said. “Flora and I drove a bus and everyone had food and drinks, played games, won prizes and enjoyed seeing the pre-public tour of the homes.”

The Bitterroot Tour of Homes is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, September 23-25. Tickets cost $15 and are available on the BBIA website or a Facebook page, Massa Home Center, or Farmers State Bank.

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