Work of rotating home builder leads to construction award

Published on March 31, 2014

By Maddie Keenlyside/Journal Pioneer  

For North Rustico's Steve and Stephanie Arnold, home is a place that spins.
Their home, built by Summerside's award-winning construction business, Scotcor, is one of very few rotating houses on Earth. Named "Around the Sea," the house on the rustic cliff, spins around to give guests in the suites an ever-changing view.
Scott Costain, Scotcor's namesake and founder, has been in the business for 30 years. Recently he won the Innovative Construction Award from the Canadian Home Builder's Association, mainly for this rotating home project.

"I guess you can't get more innovative than a 5,000-square-foot house that rotates on a platform. I'd like to see what is," he laughed.

There are so many different factors, trades and people that have to come together to make a project like the rotating house a success, Costain said.

"It would be silly of me not to recognize that. Though I might have gotten the award for our company, it would not have been possible without the homeowners and the help of all the trades. I feel like it should be an award that should be shared with everyone."

The home's residents, the Arnolds, also rent out suites on the lower floor. They came up with the idea of the house, and Scotcor made it a reality. Feedback has been very positive, said Steve.

"We've had nothing short of five out of five stars. We furnished the suites to be very modern, very high end. It's your full condo," Steve added. "It's very luxurious accommodations. And the fact that they can get different views - of the cliff and the harbour and the ocean - they really like it."

The Arnolds first came up with the idea of the rotating house while they were living in Australia.

"We happened to see a rotating house on the Discovery Channel, and we thought, wow, that's really cool. We had this property in P.E.I. and we thought, wouldn't it be neat?"

They were thinking of building a cottage here.

The Arnolds approached Summerside's Scotcor and an American company called Deltec to create their dream home.

"I got all the engineers from other countries to do the work and we redesigned things so the platform would work with the Deltec house," said Steve. "Both the rotating platform and the Deltec home came as a kit, and was assembled by Scott's guys."

On paper, everything was supposed to work. The physics were there, the engineers were there, everything should be fine - but it had never been done before, with this design.

"But we just believed in the math, and the physics, and the people putting it together, and it has performed better than we expected."

The community of North Rustico has been very supportive, he added.

"And a lot people are very happy that we're there. I think it's a bit of a draw, to bring people to the community, and we do tours of the house and we support the Children's Wish Foundation."

Costain said he became a homebuilder because he likes working with his hands.

"When I was young, I worked with my grandfather. He was a carpenter, and my dad and my brothers were all mechanics. I didn't like to get grease on my hands, I liked something a little cleaner."

During his impressionable years, he worked with his grandfather a lot.

The elder Costain was retired and was building his own home on P.E.I.

"When I was 11 or 12 years old, if my grandfather's nail bag got empty, I would be responsible to hand him some more nails out of the box. If I picked up the nails and they were all crooked in my hands, he would drop them on the floor and tell me that I've got to hand them to him straight."

He said he has passed on that same lesson to a lot of people.

"It's not just to hand your nails straight. There's a certain way you're going to conduct yourself. If you're going to do a job, do it right."