July 17, 2012

Bishop Creek offers park-like surroundings

Guildford townhomes are close to greenbelt and ravine, allowing for long nature walks


Mark and Suzanne Omamalin faithfully carried their wish list with them as they visited more than their share of show homes. They wanted lots of light, a deck area, outdoor space and “a lively place” with lots of space for children. They had one false start when they made an offer on a place that was over their budget. But when they walked on the site of Bluetree Homes at Bishop Creek, they knew their persistence had paid off.

“We were really impressed by how big and bright the units were,” said Suzanne after signing the papers for their three-bedroom-and-den townhome in the Guildford area of Surrey. They were among a few hundred people who took advantage in late-June of a “soft” opening of the show homes, situated on a spacious treed site off a greenbelt and right next door to Harold Bishop elementary school.

While they work on building a family, the couple says they will make good use of the bedrooms and a bonus space that Bluetree Homes has playfully dubbed the “man cave”; it’s located behind the garage on the ground floor of the three-level unit. The 16-by-nine-foot windowless space could be used as a retreat, fitness room, home office or teen hangout. “One person said she works shift work and could use it for sleeping during the daytime,” sales manager Johanna Phillips said. “Another guy was really excited that he would be able to fit all his tools in this room.”

The Omamalins have different plans for the space. They recently moved from Alberta and know relatives and friends will be visiting. “It’s going to be a big help having that extra room [for people to sleep in],” Mark said. Bluetree Homes, an offshoot of ParkLane Homes, briefly considered constructing condos on the two-hectare site, especially given Surrey’s emphasis on increasing density in some neighbourhoods, said architect Colin Hogan of the Abbotsford-based Focus Architecture Inc.

But the site, with its ravine and greenbelt, called out for townhouses. “People want townhouse living. I think everybody appreciates the individuality of having their own front door and a little bit of courtyard space as opposed to a condominium building, where you are one in a crowd,” he said. “I think having your own townhouse with your door on the street and your connection to the pedestrian [area] gives you a better sense of ownership.”

The city was responsive to a townhouse proposal, in part, Hogan said, because there haven’t been many built in the Guildford area. The result is an attractive brick-and-wood facade of Craftsman-style row houses fronting 104th Avenue near 158th Street. On the site, retained trees along the south side of the property give the development a park-like feel. “The fact is that we have given up one half of the site to the environment,” Hogan said. “We also have this great trail system that wraps around the site.

“It gives everybody a chance to get close to the greenbelt and walk the dog or take the kids out with the tricycles. In Guildford, that’s pretty rare.” The homes are generous in size, ranging from 1,528 to 1,709 square feet. Adding to the sense of space in the larger units are bay windows that allow lots of light into the open-plan living room. All the townhouses have nine-foot ceilings on the main floor. The prices — from $339,900 to $374,900 — are set to appeal to young families buying their first home, as well as those moving up from older units in the area. All of the units have either decks or patio space, and some have both.

The eat-in kitchens feature islands with durable composite stone countertops and a stainless steel Whirlpool appliance package, including a ceran-top electric range with a self-cleaning oven, over-the-range microwave and french door fridge and bottom freezer. On the main level, flooring is an attractive laminate hardwood and tile in the main entranceways. All homes have a handy powder room on the main level. Upstairs, the bathrooms feature his-and-hers ensuite vanity sinks, walk-through closets and full glass ensuite showers. Some of the units feature built-in shelving for towels. The main and ensuite bathrooms have 12-by-24-inch porcelain hand-set tile, while adjacent bedrooms and hallways have Berber carpets. One of the bedrooms has a built-in desk system set below a window.

Optional upgrades include traditional real maple shaker-style cabinets, Whirlpool front-loading washing machine and dryer and a security system. Bluetree Homes has incorporated into its showroom office a touch-screen system that allows sales people and visitors to pinpoint amenities within the region. Yosh Kasahara, Bluetree’s general manager of sales and marketing, was able to quickly calculate how long it would take a Bishop Creek homeowner to travel by bus to the King George SkyTrain station (17 minutes) and then commute to downtown Vancouver (36 minutes). Another advantage to living in the area is ready access to Highway 1 through a much-improved interchange at 160th Street.

Bluetree Homes also offers what it calls the 2/5/10 Travelers New Home through Travelers Insurance Co. of Canada: one-year coverage for all defects, two-year coverage for all major systems, five-year coverage on the building envelope and 10-year coverage on any structure defects.

Special to The Sun

Bluetree Homes at Bishop Creek

Project location: Surrey/Guildford
Project size/scope: 2-hectare three-phase community of 56 townhomes (1-hectare build) consisting of two-bedroom and den (1,536 – 1,581 sq. ft) and three bedroom and den/tandem/bonus (1,528 – 1,709 sq. ft). Two-car parking (garage/carport) for two cars. Located on forested greenbelt, landscaped outdoor common area, including child’s play area. Located next door to Harold Bishop elementary school
Prices: $339,900 — $374,900
Monthly strata fees: $213 — $234 per month (Phase 1)
Contact: Johanna Phillips, Sales Manager, Bluetree Homes at Bishop Creek
Telephone: 604-588-0005/604-834-4429
Email: jphillips Bluetree Homes
Architect: Focus Architecture Inc., Abbotsford
Interior design: Bluetree Homes in-house (with The Mill Interior Design)
Presentation suite: 15788 104th Ave. Surrey
Hours: noon — 5 p.m., daily
Occupancy: August 2012


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