November 27, 2013

Flexible spaces

Charland homes designed to suit lifestyles of a variety of occupants


Project location: 963 Charland Ave., Coquitlam
Project size: Two four-storey buildings with 88 homes
Residence size: 1 bed — 3 beds; 604 sq. ft — 1,003 sq. ft.
Prices: 1 bed and den/1 bath (604 — 682 sq. ft) from $219,900; 2 bed/2 bath (779 — 812 sq. ft) from $299,900; 3-bed/2-bath (1,003 sq. ft) from $379,900
Monthly strata fees: $188 — $300
Developer: Ledingham McAllister
Architect: Robert Ciccozzi Inc.
Interior design: Janine Wilson, The Mill
Sales centre: 102 — 1020 Austin Ave., Coquitlam
Hours: noon — 5 p.m., Sat — Thurs
Contact: Karissa Robson or Suzy Kim
Telephone: 604-492-3388
Occupancy: November 2014

Special to The Sun

One of the challenges developers can face in locating a new project is to make sure it works for two kinds of people: the new buyers and the project’s next-door neighbours. So it was probably a good sign when longtime neighbours of Ledingham McAllister’s Charland project in the Austin Heights neighbourhood of Coquitlam started coming in to take a tour and inquire about prices shortly after the presentation centre opened.

Some of the people who have come to see the two-bedroom show suite on Austin Avenue have lived on Charland Avenue for 60 years, says Manuela Mirecki, the company’s senior vice-president of marketing and design. Others have been first-time buyers or parents purchasing on behalf of their children. “What’s interesting is that there is more commonality between those two groups than you think,’’ she said. “Single-level living automatically appeals to an older audience. What also makes it appealing to both groups is the proximity to services that are within walking or transit distance: you have seniors who are not driving anymore and young people, fewer of whom have cars now, and are taking transit.”

Mirecki says Charland has a high “walk score” — a measure of its closeness to various amenities — of about 80 out of 100. She says that is “probably going to go up when SkyTrain’s Evergreen Line (a few minutes west) is completed in a few years.” Charland’s architects worked hard to ensure that the new building fit into the neighbourhood, doing things like increasing the setback from the street to nine metres from the required 4.5 metres and dividing the development into two sections, with 40 homes on one side and 48 on the other.

“This building is located on the border of zoning and we try to address the single-family homes across the street,” architect Robert Ciccozzi says. “Instead of having one big long block, we wanted to create a break in the building so you could see through it. “You’re still dealing with a four-storey element versus a two- or three-storey home. You can’t replicate the home exactly, but you try to scale down your building as best you can by using materials like brick and the Hardi panels and how you distribute the brick helps to break down the massing visually. You try to provide some relief by popping out bays and pulling walls back and creating vertical breaks.”

Ciccozzi said the entranceway also speaks to the existing character of the neighbourhood. In the middle is an infinity pool water feature, which he says was inspired by one of the most famous residences in North America: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater residence in southwest Pennsylvania. The display suite is an 812-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bathroom home that parallels many of the features of the developer’s other projects in Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond.

Nine-foot ceilings enhance the sense of spaciousness in the units and large windows allow in lots of light. Buyers can choose from light and dark colour schemes. Floors in the entry, kitchen, living and dining areas are topped with contemporary style laminate floors, while bedrooms have loop and cut-pile carpeting. In the kitchen, which is set off by a slight drop ceiling, there are two options: a white shaker-style cabinet or flat-panel cabinets in a grey wood-grain finish, both with stainless steel pulls. Counters are quartz composite with backsplashes in linear ceramic or porcelain mosaic tiles, including an island that can take two to three stools for casual dining. The sink is a square-edge stainless steel bowl with a single lever pull-down faucet by Kohler.

Kitchen equipment includes energy-efficient stainless-steel appliances with a turbo range hood by Sakura. Mirecki says the living-dining-kitchen area design fits a number of different lifestyles. “Our floor plans are a very open concept, which allows maximum flexibility as to how you can use the space. There is no formal wall between living and dining. For the young buyer, it’s about being able to have a kitchen party, while the older owner wants a design where they can cook their Thanksgiving dinner with the family right there.”

The show suite also features more than enough room for a large six-seat dining room table. Throughout, the developer makes liberal use of halogen pot lights and under-cabinet lighting. The bathroom and laundry closets feature porcelain tile, and the private master ensuite has a soaker tub and a full height ceramic tile surround. Some suites also have a Kohler “Ledward” shower with seat, grab bar and tile surround. The laundry has a front-loading full-sized stackable energy-efficient Whirlpool washer and dryer.

On the main level off the entrance way is a fitness room, while on the second level there is a roof deck lounge area. The building sits on a gentle slope with views ranging from the North Shore mountains to the Gulf Islands. It all works for former Ice Capades skater Brad Maclean, who at 50, was looking for a home that was affordable, convenient and comfortable. “I had travelled a bit and had lived in New Zealand and Phoenix and I came back to Canada,” he said. “The place I wanted to live and know more about was Vancouver.”

An employee at nearby Skater’s Edge, he wanted a place in a good neighbourhood that was centrally located and likely to appreciate in price. He was also impressed by the fitness room and the storage space and repair bench for bikes. “I was floored. I couldn’t believe how much was in there. It’s hard to find all those things in one building.”

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