Calgary builders are bringing some lofty ideas to their home designs, helping smaller homes create bigger impact while offering specialized spaces in larger homes.
A second-floor loft brought just the space and layout that Deanna McArthur and her mother Therese were looking for when they decided to downsize and buy a home together.
They had been living in their family home, a 2,600-square-foot house on a corner lot, which they were finding too big for the two of them to maintain.
“A year or so I ago, I looked into buying my own place, but it would have put me in a situation where I would have been house broke,” says Deanna.
“I would have spent all of my money on my mortgage and my bills. We decided that we would buy a place together.”
They considered the Grandin by Brookfield Residential, a 1,068-square-foot bungalow, but it didn’t have quite enough space. Then they saw a Grandin II, which has the same bungalow layout on the main floor, with a second-level loft. The house totals 1,690 square feet.
“We really liked the bedroom on the main floor and we really wanted the main floor laundry so that my mom didn’t have to go up and down the stairs with baskets of laundry,” says Deanna.
“The Grandin II has two good-sized bedrooms upstairs that would be perfect if I have kids or for resale. We’re also going to finish the basement, so that adds two more bedrooms.
“There’s plenty of space, that’s for sure.”
Therese lives on the main floor, where the master bedroom is located, and Deanna lives upstairs, using one of the two bedrooms as her office. The loft is a TV and sitting area.
“It’s really nice, whenever someone walks into the house, they look at the high ceilings at the front and go: ‘Wow, it’s so big, it’s so spacious’ and they don’t really expect it to look so big,” says Deanna.
“I think the loft really helps with that. Everything seems so open.”
This, it turns out, is the standard reaction to the Grandin II design, which is available in the Cranston and Auburn Bay communities in the city’s southeast.
“What we’ve heard back is the spectacular grandness — it’s unanticipated from the outside,” says Karen MacKenzie, area sales manager for single-family homes in Cranston for Brookfield Residential. “It’s such a small home and looks so quaint; and then once you walk inside, it’s like, holy cow.”
With the two bedrooms and bonus room upstairs and the master bedroom on the main floor, the layout appeals to families with older kids as well as shared accommodation, such as the McArthurs, says MacKenzie.
“That loft that becomes (the kids’) place. It’s like a reverse basement,” she says.
The basement in the Grandin II can be finished with two bedrooms.
A key to the impressive interior of the Grandin II is the open-to-below loft, which enhances the feeling of space without actually increasing the square footage of the home — in much the same way a nine-foot ceiling makes a room feel so much larger than an eight-foot ceiling.
Lofts allow additional natural light to flow throughout the house, while creating character, says Devin Dyler, design manager for Brookfield Residential.
“When you go to the open-to-below area or the loft space, you kind of feel like you’re the king of your castle. It’s a really unique feeling,” says Dyler.
“I have something similar in my home, where you walk into a rounded front entrance that’s 35-feet high and you overlook from upstairs down onto the front entrance. It’s kind of like looking down on your kingdom and it’s a nice feeling.”
Excel Homes is another Calgary builder that offers a loft space in a smaller home.
The Kendal Urban Loft show home in Copperfield — a Hopewell Residential Communities development in southeast Calgary — adds extra space and a sense of luxury by adding a third level to the three-bedroom home.
The Kendal Urban Loft, a 1,732-square-foot house, adds a master suite study and loft with a character vaulted ceiling off a private staircase from the master bedroom on the second floor.
Even in a large estate bungalow, such as Baywest Homes’ Rembrandt show home in Riverstone of Cranston, a loft can provide extra flex space.
In this show home, the space above the triple-car garage holds an office with sliding pocket doors onto a private sitting room with a bathroom.
The loft is accessed up an impressive spiral staircase that overlooks the front foyer with fireplace and grand piano.
The loft is a space that catches the eye of many homebuyers, says Ryan Hall, vice-president of marketing for Baywest Homes, who decided to keep it as office space or turn it into one or two bedrooms with a full bathroom for guests or children.
“We’ve had one client who has actually put a home theatre up there,” says Hall.
“That’s an alternative to the basement because this way you’re over the garage and not really connected to the structure of the house, so you don’t get the booming and all that. There’s also a little more flexibility because the ceilings are so high, you can do some funky stuff.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Builder: Brookfield Residential.
Developer: Brookfield Residential.
Location: Cranston and Auburn Bay in southeast Calgary.
Price: The Grandin II starts in Cranston at $391,100, including lot and GST.
Information: Visit the website at livebrookfield.com
Therese and Deanna McArthur.
Ages: 56 and 26.
Background: Therese is a teacher and Deanna is in communications.
The mother and daughter lived together in a large family home.
When Deanna started looking for a house, they decided to downsize together.
The bungalow layout of the Grandin II’s main floor along with its second-level loft provided enough space and separation for the two.
They bought their new Brookfield Residential home in Cranston for about $430,000.
DECADES OF SUCCESS
Baywest Homes was founded in 1985 by Harry Denger, who built his first home in the southwest community of Woodbine.
The company currently builds in the Calgary communities of Auburn Bay, Mahogany, Nolan Hill, Riverstone of Cranston, Dressage in Silverado by Qualico, and the Ranches of Silverado. As well, Baywest Homes builds in Ranchers Rise in Okotoks.
ACROSS THE CONTINENT
Brookfield Residential develops communities and builds homes in 11 markets in North America, including Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In Calgary, Brookfield Residential is behind such currently selling communities as Auburn Bay, Cranston and MacKenzie Towne.
It has also gone into the inner-city community of Bridgeland with two redevelopment projects.