April 2, 2013
B.C. homebuilders reach for the top
Georgie Awards present the best of the best in home construction – from design to marketing, renovation to landscaping.
By STEVEN THRENDYLE
Even in an age of technological advancement and despite challenging economic conditions, members of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association BC recognize that a house is far more than the sum of its building materials. It is a place where people’s dreams are realized.
From Qualicum Beach to Kelowna, from North Vancouver to North Saanich, and from Gambier Island to Georgia Street, perhaps the most outstanding aspect of the Georgie Awards is how they represent so many diverse parts of the province. In 2012, 18 out of 43 category winners were from outside the Lower Mainland.
The Georgie Awards celebrate both production homes built as part of residential subdivisions and the opulent custom homes that are the stuff of real estate dreams. There were unique winners in each of the seven categories that were awarded, including Music By The Sea by Camelot Homes in Qualicum Beach – a custom home valued at more than $3 million.
One of the newest Georgie categories recognizes the laneway housing special initiative that allows homeowners to build carriage, or laneway, houses on their property. The Dunbar Laneway Home is what Frits de Vries Architect calls a “performance home.” Designed, built, and marketed utilizing similar environmental values, Adera Development’s seven35 in North Vancouver took home the Sustainable and Innovative Community Award. “This award recognizes two Adera priorities: environmental responsibility and innovative building practices,” says Adera president Norm Couttie. >>
There are eight different marketing-related Georgie awards, and in 2012 the category was virtually a lock for MAC Marketing Solutions. MAC took home awards for Best Brochure, Best Project Specific Website, and Marketing Campaign of the Year for the creation and execution of Meccanica, by Cressey Development Group. MAC’s President Cameron McNeill says: “Meccanica was inspired by Intermeccanica, a family-owned company which for over 30 years hand-crafted custom replica Porsche Speedsters and Roadsters and occupied the location at First and Quebec, where Meccanica will be built.”
Other multiple award winners include My House Design/Build Team which has three offices around the Lower Mainland. Its West Vancouver Lofty View renovation was selected as Best Residential Renovation $500,000 – $799,999; the Vintner’s Dream wine storage in Surrey’s Panorama Ridge won Best Renovation/Any Room, and an Ocean Side residence in West Vancouver was selected as the Best Condo Renovation.
One of the most high profile renovations in downtown Vancouver in the last decade has been the revitalizing of the Hotel Georgia. Indeed, its esthetic and commercial success is partially attributable to The Private Residences at the Hotel Georgia, which won three Georgie Awards for Best Multi-Family Kitchen over $40,000, Best Interior Design Display Suite, and Best Innovative Feature. The juxtaposition of the hotel’s elegant brick façade provides a striking contrast to the shimmering skyscraper of the Private Residences.
The Georgie Awards recognize the many varied styles of homes that British Columbians dwell in, from opulent custom-built mansions to several categories dedicated to multi-family developments. Abstract Homes and Renovations won for Best Duplex – the Eastside Reunion in Vancouver. Best Townhouse Development went to The Brownstones on the Boulevard in Chilliwack, and Palladian Developments for Qualicum Landing on Vancouver Island.
Site selection and the augmentation of natural features such as creeks, forests, or meadows, the degree of the sun at certain parts of the day – these are all characteristics that both builders and clients are conscious of before breaking ground on a project. Two Georgie Awards celebrate either new or renovated landscapes created for a property, while best Outdoor Living Space recognizes how “backyard living” is best integrated into a natural space.
In Kelowna, Valux Homes created a virtual labyrinth of rocks and water in the Bridges at Glenview Pond, a new home development in the Glenmore Highlands.
As any watcher of the many home renovation shows on TV knows, kitchen and bathroom renos are at the top of the list in many neighbourhoods. The Georgies recognize renovation excellence in a broad range of categories, including Best Kitchen Renovation under $100,000 (Interior Design Group) and Best Kitchen Renovation over $100,000 (RJR Construction Management). For new homes, the Best Multi-Family Kitchen under $40,000 went to Symphony Homes for its Mahon Park residences, Best Single Family Kitchen under $100,000 was awarded to Coastal Construction and Best Single Family Kitchen over $100,000 to West Vancouver’s G.D. Nielsen Developments. Falcon Homes & Design won top honours for Best Master Suite.
The 21st annual Georgie Awards, held at the end of February, concluded with Concert Properties taking home the coveted Platinum Georgie, which recognizes companies that have earned more than 25 Georgies. Since 1989, Concert has completed developments in excess of $2 billion, developed more than 9,800 rental and condominium homes, and built or acquired more than 10.8 million square feet of income-producing properties. Concert’s diverse portfolio of award winners includes 600 Davie (1993), StoneCliff (2009), Tapestry at Wesbrook Mall (2011) and several Customer Choice Awards.