Home Renovations and Carpentry
From Broken to Beautiful-We Own the North
About Northern Son
We are a full-service general contractor based in Sault Ste Marie, the home town of owner Hal Clayton and Project Manager/Head Foreman Shawn O'Neal. Both have worked and continue to work on projects such as homes, apartments, and businesses across southern Ontario, but since COVID have concentrated mainly on the Sault and surrounding area. They've established strong relationships with homeowners and commercial developers. . They offer a customer satisfaction guarantee for every project that they complete. They are committed to meeting budgets and tight deadlines. Furthermore, our contractors consist of specialized trades professionals that are continuously tested at their skill and quality.
Why is the business called Northern Son?
Hal Clayton, the owner of Northern Son, smiled to himself as he gazed out his window at the clear blue sky and shimmering sun reflecting off the peaceful waters of the Pacific. It had been an incredible journey since taking the chance to leave his small town of Sault Ste Marie behind. First to go to school and play hockey in Ottawa then Western Quebec.
He was no stranger to frigid winter climates, having grown up in Northern Ontario, but his first winter down south in San Diego, where he went to play pro hockey, felt like a heavenly escape from all of that.
Every morning he would drive to the beach after practice and sit in the warm sand and listen to the calming sound of the waves. Hal often found himself daydreaming about his friends back home who were probably stuck inside trying to stay warm , or outside shoveling their driveways.
That winter, Hal became a different person. He started to look at life and the world with a fresh perspective, appreciating the small, everyday things he'd taken for granted in his small hometown. He embraced the change and was no longer content to live life as he had before.
He made the most of his time in San Diego, taking up surfing, learning some Spanish, and becoming a better hockey player than ever before.
After 2 years he was crushed to get a phone call letting him know he was traded. Now he was forced to transition from beautiful sunny San Diego beaches to the intense heat of the concrete jungle surrounded by desert known as Dallas Tx.
Hal went to the Lone Star state with an open mind. He played there for a couple more years and several nagging injuries which included a broken jaw, cracked orbital bone and ending up with a prosthetic cheekbone helped with making a bittersweet decision. Hal had the utmost respect for the game of Hockey and knew that it was time to move onto the next phase of his life.
Dallas, Texas, his final destination. He was amazed by the city. It was vibrant, diverse, and bustling with energy. Although he had found his place in the city, he had to make a decision what to do with his life now.
Talented in carpentry and all building trades skills passed down to him by his father, Hal found a commercial spot in a trendy part of Dallas and did a full build-out of the unit himself. The result was a beautiful full service drinking establishment, complete with a 40’ shotgun bar, the warm accent of chocolate coloured leather booths featuring oversized high-backs, and a top of the line sound system for dancing. It was an instant hit with Dallas hipsters and socialites. Local media said “Canadian Import Hallie Clayton makes a splash with his elegant new ‘Boutique Nightclub’.”
After Hal made the decision to stay in Texas, he expected his dad Hallie Sr. to object. But the old man had a funny way of expressing it. He was determined to make sure his son was aware of the unique dangers of things in Texas, "Gators," he said ominously. "Snakes. You gotta watch out for 'em. If you see a gator, run away. If you see a snake, run away faster!" That was his fatherly advice he informed him, then gave his advice as his dad, "Get your ass back north where you belong".
"The South is not for sissies," Hallie Sr. said, raising his voice at Hal to drive his point home. And then the old man softened, giving his son advice as his dad. "You’re from the North. This is where you belong," he said with a twinkle in his eye.
But Hal stuck to his guns and stayed in Texas, determined to make the best of it, however dangerous the gators and snakes may be. He took his father’s advice to heart and made sure to be careful whenever he was outdoors. But, often when he spoke to his dad, he’d just tell him, “Dad, I’m still here and I’m not gonna run away.”
Hallie Sr. just chuckled. “That’s my son,” he said with pride, “tougher than any Texas gators or snakes out there.”
And that was how they both left it, Hal content with his new home, Hallie Sr. content with the knowledge that his son was tough enough to face any danger. The South was indeed not for sissies, but Hal was no sissy. Junior didn't' know it at the time but that conversation would Stick with him always. Anytime he faces a tough challenge that life inevitably throws at him, the thought of his dad warning him of gators and snakes usually comes to mind and helps put him at ease, making any challenge easier to tame.
For 14 years Hal would speak to his father usually one or two times a week and the conversation would always end with his advice as a dad to his son. “Get your ass back North where you belong”.
In time, operating a successful bar grew into several more bars. But, despite their success, He had an itch that could only be scratched by exploring his passion - carpentry. So, on the quiet weekends he would spend time in his garage, plying his craft and indulging in his passion. Little by little, word got out that he could craft beautiful furniture or renovate any home.
It wasn't long before the same garage that was filled with the smell of sawdust and varnish was filled with neighborhood husbands who had gathered to learn from Hal or just have beer and talk about sports. Although he could never recall how it started, Hal’s garage became a popular place for the guys in the neighbourhood to hang out.
The years went by and Hal's furniture making and carpentry reputation spread even further beyond the neighborhood. Before he knew it, the “Hockey player from Canada that knows carpentry” transitioned to the "Carpenter from Canada that used to play hockey”.
It was a life of routine and comfort and it seemed as though nothing could disrupt it. Although Hal Sr. was happy for his son’s success he never stopped telling his son to “Get your ass North where you belong”.
Hal soon realized that the real beauty of life lay in having both the highs and the lows, the good and the bad, the cold and the warmth. Experiencing each gave him a sense of wonder and appreciation for the journey he was on.
In 2017, Hal Jr. was faced with a daunting task when his father suffered from a massive stroke; he had to be the primary caregiver for his dad, who would need to relearn how to walk and talk before having any chance of full recovery.
Hal was an only child so that responsibility fell solely on him, leaving him no choice but to leave behind his friends, bars, house, and beloved wood-shop located in his Texas neighbourhood.
Sullenly, he packed up himself and his oversized yellow lab named Wendall Clark, heading back North to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario - his childhood home - where his family welcomed them both. Although there was some solace in being “back north where he belonged” , the sadness Hal felt was palpable as the long road to recovery for his father seemed never-ending.
Sadly, after just six months into rehabilitation, Hal Sr.'s battle against cancer came to an end, leaving Hallie Jr. with grief and regret as he mourned his beloved father.
Losing his father was a difficult blow for Hal, and it took time to rebuild the shattered pieces of his life in Canada.
His first step towards this was changing the business name from "Clayton & Son" to "Northern Son". It was his way of honoring the most important person in his life, his dad.
Hallie Sr. was finally able to get his son "back North where he belonged”. That is why the business is named Northern Son.
Get to Know Us
Northern Son exists to help homeowners through the difficult transformation process. We can help organize your thoughts. Whether you're adding a much needed garage or increasing your building's size with a main floor addition, we can help. Let's convert box style floor plans into a more spacious open concept design. We're experienced in removing load bearing walls, transferring the load using structural beams and columns. Northern Son can improve your building's exterior facade too with new windows and doors, accent stone, and new siding for added home insulation. Let's fashion a new exterior with a covered front porch, wood siding and columns. Northern Son's high-quality construction services are done by certified carpenters and professionals who set the highest standards among local builders. Northern Son provides complete home carpentry, renovation and construction service serving Sault Ste Marie and the surrounding region.
“We treat every renovation as though it were our home”
Our Quality Guarantee
We believe that each homeowner deserves nothing but the best workmanship, top quality materials, project completed on time and renovation backed by a solid warranty. At Northern Son Renovations & Carpentry Experts, we believe in transparency and honesty, therefore we are proud to offer to all our clients:
No hidden fees, no hidden prices: what you see is what you pay.
3-Year UNLIMITED Warranty – The best way to prove to our clients that our work and materials are the best in the industry, we guarantee and warranty our clients’ projects with a 3-year unlimited warranty, (it covers 100% of everything we do).
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