May 22, 2014

Celebration of the best

The Ovation Awards give Metro Vancouver homebuilders the opportunity to showcase their accomplishments during the year.


Established by the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association, the Ovation Awards celebrate the best of Metro Vancouver’s builders, renovators and designers. The winners are selected by a panel of judges who are carefully chosen from outside the Metro Vancouver area, and are award-winners in their respective areas in the residential construction industry. Finalists only make the cut if the panel unanimously agrees that the submissions have exceptional merit.

The awards included everything from Best Interior Design Display Suite: Single-Family or Townhouse Community (Ikonik Homes for their Jacobsen development) to Best Custom Home: Over $1.5 million (won by Best Builders, see below). reVISION Custom Home Renovations took home the People’s Choice Award for their loft renovation, Downtown Flow.

Some of the winners:

A striking green wall is one of the winning elements of Kerr Construction’s Alder Crossing, which earned the award for Best Custom Home: $750,000 – $1.5 million. “That was a very interesting project,” company founder Doug Kerr said. “We built on a commercial site, over a parking structure, on what used to be an outdoor patio.” The challenge was to make the home fit in with its office and retail surroundings. “When you go from the commercial site to the inside, you feel like you’re in a high-end, modern home.” The green wall is covered with a variety of plants, including some of the trees from the patio. “That really softens the commercial look of the area,” Kerr said. “It’s all watered and fertilized mechanically. The other interesting thing is, there’s a window right in the middle of it. So the waterproofing details on that are enormous.”

  • Above from left:
    Before, and after – Best Kitchen Renovation – Under $50,000, Level One Construction Ltd., Pristine Dream;
    Before, and after – Best Kitchen Renovation: $50,000 – $99,999, Sarah Gallop Design Inc., Green with Envy;
    Before, and after – Best Kitchen Renovation: $100,000 and over, Euro Canadian Construction Corp., English Bay Condo Renovation;

Best Outdoor Living Space: New or Renovated went to Best Builders for Orchard Way. Part of an older West Vancouver home that was rebuilt from scratch, the space includes a self-cleaning, infinity-edge pool (embedded into the home’s concrete foundation) and a deck area (fir overhangs, slate tiles) that takes full advantage of the home’s location and view. “That’s a fantastic build,” Matt Corbet, Best Builders project manager said. “It was a Don Stuart Architect build. They knew exactly what they wanted. The detail level was very precise.”

Award winners are selected by a panel of judges who live outside the Metro Vancouver area

Best Interior Design Custom Residence: New or Renovated went to Sarah Gallop Design for Reviving the ’70s, a collaboration with Best Builders. For this (Pierre) Trudeau-era home, the builder and designer were tasked with keeping the original, retro look while modernizing the house. With custom millwork, an open floor-to-ceiling pantry and other details, Gallop and Best lovingly brought the home into the 21st century.

  • Above from left, before, and after
    Best Bathroom Renovation: Under $35,000, Kerr Construction, Sleek Bathroom;
    Best Renovation: Under $100,000, Tavan Developments Ltd., Klahanie Comfort; Best Renovation: $100,000 – $299,999, Nesseler Construction Ltd., Beach Retreat;
    Best New Kitchen: Under $100,000, Tavan Developments Ltd., Quilchena Classic; Best Custom Home: Under $750,000, Frits De Vries Architect Ltd., Dunbar Laneway.

“Our clients are downsizing, and they want luxury condos,” said Jeffrey Gunson, project manager for Euro Canadian Construction. Euro Canadian won in the Best Kitchen Renovation: $100,000 and Over category for its California modern-style renovation of an English Bay condo. “It was probably one of the most detailed projects we’ve done,” Gunson said. “This little condo was a lot more work than the high-end homes we usually build.” Renovation of the condo cost around $2.5 million. For the kitchen, everything was Italian-designed and -made, which made the project a challenge on a few fronts. “Everything had so many lines and details that the pieces had to line up perfectly,” Gunson said. The builder also had to improvise. “The building has an incredibly small elevator. So we had to dismantle the refrigerator’s compressor to fit it in, and all the countertop stone had to be craned in. It was a job in itself trying to keep everyone in the building happy.”

Best Renovation: $800,000 and Over went to Shakespeare Homes for its work on a Mountain Highway home, which also topped the year’s Best Addition Renovation category. “We started with a rundown two-storey 1960s house that was hiding in the dark down by a creek, and was beginning to slide toward it,” said Mark Cooper, president of Shakespeare Homes. For the renovation, a collaboration with Sensitive Design, Shakespeare rebuilt the North Vancouver house with heritage stonework, shingle siding and 1880s-style millwork. A third floor was added to take advantage of the location and view, as well as a natural storm water treatment system designed to feed the nearby stream. The North Shore company also won for Best Renovation: $500,000 – $799,999 (for a West Van project) and was selected Renovator of the Year: Large Volume, a Grand Ovation Award (see sidebar).

Best Builders took home the most awards this year, including multiple wins for the custom-built Orchard Way and for its collaborative renovation with Sarah Gallop Design, on Reviving the ’70s. They also took home one of the coveted Grand Ovation Awards (see sidebar for other Grand Ovation winners), for Custom Home Builder of the Year. “It’s huge to us to be the Custom Home Builder Award winner,” Project Manager Matt Corbet said. “It’s no small feat.” The company builds about eight custom homes a year. Currently, Best Builders has three custom homes in West Vancouver, two in Burnaby underway, and two coming up in Vancouver. “So our presence at next year’s Ovations will be even more impressive,” Corbet promised.

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