December 10, 2012
B.C. home builders celebrate their industry
Exceptional design, innovation, affordability and sustainable land use among categories for judges to chose winners
BY LESLIE PETERSON
From across the province — from Lumby and Golden to Qualicum Beach and Gambier Island, from Whistler to Nanaimo and Nanoose Bay — British Columbia’s residential home builders showcase their exceptional work of the past year in the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of B.C.’s annual Georgie Awards.
Recently, 12 out-of-province judges completed their deliberations of the more than 500 entries to select the finalists in 45 diverse categories, with the winners to be announced next February. And what remarkable projects, whether custom homes valued over $3 million or modest laneway homes and duplexes. Now in its 21st year, the awards celebrate excellence in all aspects of the homebuilding arena, from renovators and builders to marketers, sales representatives, interior designers and landscape architects.
The awards focus on exceptional design, on innovation, housing affordability, sustainability and urban land use, adding categories each year to reflect changes in the industry. Within the past few years these classifications have included Best Condominium Renovation, Best Outdoor Living Space and, this year, Best Laneway Home up to 2,000 Square Feet and Best Duplex. “Every year, judges give their advice as far as rule and category changes and what they consider important. Their feedback is extremely valuable,” says Scott Whitemarsh, executive producer of the awards.
This year’s judges — from California, Alberta and Ontario — were, as one put it, “blown away by the creativity and brilliance” of the work of B.C. residential home builders. The homes and communities chosen finalists for 2012 can be viewed on the Georgie Awards’ website: www.georgieawards.ca and are worth serious consideration for anyone interested in B.C.’s homebuilding industry. The scope is phenomenal: architectural masterpieces, some with spectacular ocean and lake views; enchanting landscapes, island paradises, sweeping indoor/outdoor terraces, sumptuous master bedrooms with sybaritic ensuites and kitchens fit for the best of culinary arts.
Brilliant renovations transform tired old-timers into rejuvenated, contemporary homes, stripping them down, then bringing new life to cottages, condominiums, kitchens under $100,000, homes over $800,000. (B.C. homeowners are expected to spend $7.6 billion this year on renovation and approximately $7.8 billion in 2013.)
There’s inspiration on the Georgie Awards’ website showcase for dreamers, armchair builders and those who appreciate superb craftsmanship. Keeping it fresh and relevant are newcomers such as Scott Ross, whose Timberhaven Homes in Kelowna builds $3 million-plus estates, honoured with six finalist awards, or LEAGUE Assets Corporation, given six sales and marketing awards for their multiphased development in Colwood, near Victoria, for Capital City Centre, a mammoth undertaking.
Not to overlook the well-established Georgie Award winners, companies such as MAC Marketing Solutions, celebrating a personal best this year with 18 finalist designations. My House Design/Build also is a standout this year; its 12 finalist awards include Custom Homebuilder of the Year. Adera Development Corporation has been nominated for Sustainable and Innovative Community Award, Salesperson of the Year in New Home Construction, Best Townhouse Development and Best Brochure, while Portrait Homes’ Hampstead, in Maple Ridge, is in the running for three finalist awards, among them 2012 Residential Community of the Year.
Universally, finalists and winners alike are proud and delighted to be judged among the best in the residential homebuilding industry. “Being recognized for one’s hard work is always an honour,” says Cameron McNeil, president of MAC Marketing Solutions, “particularly by our peers and other industry professionals. Ultimately, in an industry that is always looking forward, it is also a great reminder for us to stop and appreciate and acknowledge the milestones and accomplishments of getting a project to market.”
Concert Real Estate Corp. has for years been a strong supporter of the Georgie Awards, from the company’s first award in 1993 to today. “We are proud to have been an active participant for almost 20 years,” says president and COO Brian McCauley. “Recognizing the very best of B.C.’s housing industry, the Georgies are a coveted acknowledgment of all recipients’ dedication to excellence.”
Finalists and winners will be celebrated at a black-tie awards gala on Feb. 23, 2013, at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.
Timberhaven Homes gets the nod in six categories for two houses in Kelowna
Life could not be better for Scott Ross, president of Timberhaven Homes. A first-time Georgie Awards entrant, he was recently notified that his company had been judged a finalist in six categories, four for his masterful Sheerwater home in Kelowna and two for Private Residence in Kelowna. Sheerwater earned awards as Custom Home valued over $3,000,000, Best Single Family Kitchen over $100,000, Best Master Suite and Best Interior Design Custom Residence. The Private Residence is a finalist for Best Innovative Feature and Best Master Suite.
Ross, who grew up in Squamish, first caused quite a stir when he built a higher-end spec home in 2004. “That raised a lot of interest in a number of publications and that started the company out,” he says. Seven years ago, he moved his young family to the Okanagan, primarily for the lifestyle. “Then we basically had to start all over because we were unknown there. And our style changed; we had specialized in post-and-beam homes then we slowly moved to West Coast contemporary ones.”
A small company, Timberhaven builds only a few homes at a time, although Ross has expanded his business to four sites in Cabo San Lucas, spending time between Canada and Mexico. Ross says the inspiration for the Sheerwater house was a luxury vessel finished to the highest standards of craftsmanship, with rich walnut doors, mahogany millwork, warm sapele hardwood floors, indigenous fir and cedar. Stone details add to the rich, opulent feel of the house, from the kitchen’s French limestone countertops and Italian brushed-travertine backsplashes to sequoia, a rare quartzite stone, on the 18-foot living-room wall.
Outdoors, more than 4,000 square feet of patios, decks, seating areas and paths lead to a stunning infinity pool and hidden wine cave, finished in Italian limestone. The Private Residence in West Kelowna, nestled on the hillside by the lake, represents the three virtues exhibited by its owners: style, sophistication and elegance, Ross says. “Architect Michael Greary designed the house to integrate into its surrounding landscape, its contemporary style and handsome modern concrete exterior providing a perfect first impression and foreshadowing of the level of detail, craftsmanship and fine interior design that awaits.” East-facing glass walls capture Kelowna’s skyline and the beautiful Okanagan Lake valley.
Entering the Georgie Awards represented a big step, says Ross. “Just to be nominated is great. For a builder to be recognized as a Georgie finalist is a great thing.”
Good things come in threes for Vancouver’s maison d’etre design-build inc. Three Georgie Awards finalist nominations this year; three wins last year, including Residential Renovator of the Year and the Customer Choice Award for Residential Renovator. Judges this year selected the renovation company’s Discerning Luxury as a finalist for Best Condo Renovation, Day & Night for Best Innovative Feature and Relax, Work, Sleep for Best Renovation — Any Room.
President Rob Capar says his company is “proud to have been recognized almost every year since maison d’etre started entering the awards.” Adds lead designer Stephen Lunney: “We always approach projects from the design side; our philosophy is that design is very important so it flows right through to the details and quality workmanship of construction.”
All three of this year’s awards were given for a False Creek condominium. Discerning Luxury, the clever name given to maison d’etre’s complete condo renovation, involved a total stripping down to the studs of a three-storey unit, reconfiguring the main floor into a gym, bathroom and a multi-purpose reading/office/guest room/home theatre.
The main floor features a cosy master bedroom with a stunning walk-through closet and ensuite. The top floor comprises an open-plan kitchen, dining and living-room space. The dramatic, visually stunning two-storey architectural resin installation impressed judges deliberating over innovative residential design, described as “a water feature that creates flow/connectivity between the town house’s floors, illuminating the entertainment space, peeking through open stair treads, then flowing down the hallway and lower stairwell.”
Two 20-foot opposing rows of LED ribbon lighting provide energy efficiency for continuous use when the house is occupied, with an infinite selection of themes and colours that change with the owner’s inspiration and moods. Best Renovation — Any Room should prove inspiration for anyone dealing with a small space.
– LESLIE PETERSON
My House Design/Build/Team rises to the topCommitment to its craft has earned the team accolades for projects in Greater Vancouver
Floor-to-ceiling windows embrace both interior and exterior spaces, the home’s elegant post-and-beam design capturing unobstructed views of Howe Sound. Its open-plan-concept L-shaped living, kitchen and dining areas integrate with outdoor living spaces through a 20-foot (6 metre) Lift & Slide Door. Just a few of the features that led Georgie Awards’ judges to select the Gambier Island Waterfront Hideaway as a triple finalist for: Custom Home valued between $1,500,000 — $3,000,000, Best Outdoor Living Space — New or Renovation and Best Interior Design Custom Residence.
For 20 years, Graeme Huguet and his talented team from My House Design/Build/Team have designed, built and managed new and renovation projects throughout the Greater Vancouver area, from single-family homes and condominiums to commercial spaces. Their commitment to their craft is reflected in the myriad accolades given by the residential homebuilding industry, in particular the CHBA BC’s Georgie Award for Residential Renovator of the Year in both 2008 and 2010, as well as 12 finalist nominations this year. Impressive in its diversity, My House has won national SAM Awards, Built Green BC Awards and recently GVHBA Ovation Awards, covering landscaping, outdoor living space, custom renovations large and small and 2012 Custom Homebuilder of the Year.
This year, Huguet and his team once again should prove strong Georgie Award contenders, an achievement that still gratifies Huguet. “I remember the first time we received a nomination out of the blue. It was the first time we had entered and in only one category. I try to keep my ego in check, but I am still so excited every time we receive an award. Our team takes such pride in them because it’s so personalized.”
The team’s Vinter’s Dream, at Panorama Ridge, was nominated for three finalist awards this year in three renovation categories: Best Renovation — Any Room, Best Kitchen Renovation over $100,000 and Best Residential Renovation $500,000 — $799,999. The home’s major reconfiguration involved swapping living and dining rooms, creating a four-season lanai, building a beautiful granite ledgestone fireplace in the living room and five-star-hotel-feel master suite. All Built Green Gold, with an EnerGuide rating of 83.
Clients tend to be the best judges and the glowing testimonials of the Burnaby homeowners, whose Monet’s Garden in Burnaby received a finalist award for Best Residential Renovation over $800,000, could hardly be better. “They designed a home that just looks awesome from the street … Once people go through the front door, it’s just like another world; it’s an unbelievable home inside.”
The renovation added 1,500 square feet on two levels to the original modest 1,900 square-foot bungalow. A major challenge involved building an intricate 16-foot vaulted ceiling which required careful roof hand-framing instead of trusses.
My House Design/Build/Team also received finalist awards for: Best Condo Renovation (Ocean Side, West Vancouver), Best Residential Renovation $500,000 — $799,999 (Brook Side, West Vancouver), Best Residential Renovation $500,000 — $799,999 (Lofty View, West Vancouver), Best Kitchen Renovation over $100,000 (Moody Magic, Port Moody) and Custom Home Builder of the Year.