April 1, 2013

Designed for living

The show suites at River Park Place demonstrate built-in convenience and compact efficiency combined with the look of luxury.

Located in Richmond’s burgeoning Oval Village at River Road and Gilbert, Intracorp’s River Park Place will ultimately encompass more than 500 homes in three gleaming towers. The 219 Phase 1 homes, which start at $299,900, will be a mix of apartments and townhomes with many of the comforts of a rather luxurious single-family home. The project’s “Whole Home Concept” means residents will have access to a full-size double-height basketball court (plus kid’s hoop), a piano room with a baby grand piano, a dog wash with warm water only, a car wash with power vacuum and power hoses, garden plots and a covered tai chi area.

There are two show suites, a 612-square-foot one-bedroom plus den and a 729-square-foot two-bedroom, which display features common to all River Park Place homes: floating bathroom vanities with motion-activated underlighting, gas cooktop with a wok burner, integrated appliances and hood fan, translucent floor-to-ceiling pocket doors to close off the den and an optional dining table attached to the kitchen island. Then there are the custom features, which only appear in the show suites but can be duplicated by homeowners (drawings are available to River Park Place residents).

Thanks to a built-in daybed and desk, the 45-square-foot den is as functional as a ship’s cabin. “We wanted to make sure you could have it for storage, you could have it for sleeping, and you could have it for working, so how do you get all those things in that tiny little cube?” says Insight Design Group principal Kari Henshaw. The floating desk is backpainted glass supported by the minimalist wood wainscoting. A stool for seating can be pushed out of the way below the desk, a drawer under the daybed provides storage, and a wall-to-wall mirror expands the space visually. “The floating elements help keep the space feeling open and uncluttered,” says Henshaw. Adding to the functionality, two of the walls can either slide back to open the room to the living area or close for privacy.

A niche in the living area of each show suite lends itself to multiple uses. In one suite, a built-in white-lacquered bar has backpainted glass behind it to add sparkle and interest. “We wanted this space to have a focus of entertainment,” says Henshaw. In the second suite, the niche holds a built-in desk with a storage ottoman for seating. “It can push away completely, it’s still functional if you need to sit there, but we also thought it could be another extra piece of furniture that you could bring into the living room if you had more guests over,” says Henshaw.

Both suites have low-profile media walls: one is white lacquer with drop-front storage compartments below; the other includes a shallow floating credenza. “If we take the full depth of any equipment, it’s going to come into the space more,” explains Henshaw. “So we think, okay, what’s a clever solution so that you can still house your equipment, but you’re not going to have to build that unit out into your space as much.”

In each bedroom, the wall behind the bed has been given a different but striking treatment. In the smaller suite, built-in shelving veneered in grey obechi wood helps maximize the space without overpowering it. In the master bedroom of the larger suite, shimmering backpainted glass covers the entire wall, adding dimension and interest to the room. In the second bedroom, the wall behind the bed pops with gigantic roses on a custom wallpaper from Toronto-based Rollout. Insight Design sent a sample image to Rollout, who then sourced a similar photo from their image bank, enlarged it and coloured it to match the room’s paint colours and design. “We were looking for that wow factor,” says Henshaw.


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