August 7, 2012
Greenbelt, creeks excite buyers of large Coquitlam homes
Project location: Burke Mountain, Coquitlam
Project size: 26 single-family homes
Residence size: 4,341 to 4,365 square feet
Prices: From $1,088,000 including tax
Developer: Morningstar Homes Ltd.
Architectural designer: Raymond Bonter
Interior design: The Creative Designworks
Sales centre: 1345 Kingston St., Coquitlam
Hours: Thursday to Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.
Occupancy: January – August 2013
BY MARY FRANCES HILL
Luxurious kitchens, 22-foot great-room ceilings and a show-stopping master ensuite are among the many features that could sell a home at Kingston, the latest development by Morningstar Homes. But there’s also the babble. The babble could seal the deal. Even when construction can be heard in the background, the babble — the serene sound of flowing waters of East and West Smiling Creek — draws visitors’ attention to the feature steps beyond the wood fencing of each home.
Kingston Street, the site of Morningstar Homes’ new Kingston subdivision, stands high on Burke Mountain. Despite the established single-family neighbourhoods nearby, the beauty of the natural landscape remains intact. Deborah Calahan, Morningstar’s vice-president of sales and marketing, says the developer sees the 8,000- to 10,000-square-feet lots of the Kingston homes as crowning jewels on Burke Mountain.
“There are 13 homes on one side, 13 homes on the other; and all of them have designated green space and a creek just beyond the backyard. It’s a beautiful green setting and the creeks add so much more to it,” Calahan says. “This is the last untouched piece of land [in this region], so we knew it would be among the greatest of all our projects.” Calahan assures buyers that little if nothing will change in the neighbourhood.
An established community of single-family homes stands about a block from the Kingston lots. Another single-family home builder is completing construction on a neighbouring community. With those quiet surroundings, including a busy creek steps from every backyard: “You’re living in the lap of luxury,” Calahan says.
At a respective 4,341 and 4,365 square feet, Emerald and Sapphire show homes have four bedrooms and 2½ bathrooms, including a powder room on the main floor. In Sapphire, the largest bedroom includes an ensuite bathroom built as an option; however, it’s not in the official floor plan.
Calahan gives credit to Creative Designworks for showing all the extravagant options displayed in each home, though the design is restrained enough that it doesn’t overpower the space. “We don’t want the homes to be tricked out so much that someone can’t imagine how they’re going to live there. Our houses are pretty much ‘What you see is what you get,’ ” she says. Upon a first step inside, it’s clear Morningstar takes seriously the phrase “great room.”
The kitchen, dining and living room area combine to offer a large, open space. A wider view of the great room — best seen from the upstairs hallway — shows just how opulent it is: 20-foot ceilings in the living room with windows stacked nearly floor-to-ceiling give it a sense of grandeur. French doors open to two large patio spaces and a wide backyard. But it’s the master bedroom suite and ensuite bathroom in both homes that engage visitors the most, says Calahan.
They’re showstoppers; from the two walk-in closets at the bathroom’s entrance to a separated soaking tub in the centre of the room. The toilet and shower are each placed in an enclosed space facing separated sink and cabinetry areas. With all its extravagance, the master ensuite has proven to be a magnet for all those who have wandered through the show homes, Calahan says.
Given the spacious lot sizes, large floor plans and luxurious details, Kingston’s buyer demographics come as no surprise. A successful opening weekend saw the sites teeming with families with school-aged children. “There were a lot of families with kids. They love the openness, the space for entertaining, and the design ideas we’ve incorporated downstairs.”
Though every basement comes unfinished, that space is particularly important for showing how Morningstar’s renovating and finishing options can adapt to a family’s needs. Buyers can choose to have it finished in a “deluxe option” style, with separate rooms, cabinetry and a wet bar — or go for the full treatment, transforming it into a full-fledged legal rental suite.
“All the homes have large flat backyards and walkout patios. The basement is large enough that it feels like another house,” says Calahan. The Emerald show home’s finished basement includes a yoga room, a play area and a home-schooling centre for young children. In the Sapphire show home, Creative Designworks has offered home organizing and recreation ideas for older families, including a wine cellar and cinema room.
Upstairs, a bedroom is equipped with an ensuite bathroom, offering privacy for an older teen or visiting college-aged child. The remaining two bedrooms are separated by a large “Jack and Jill” bathroom. Kingston is Morningstar’s sixth single-family-homes project in Burke Mountain, so the developer is used to making families comfortable. Other Burke Mountain projects — Belmont Village, Belmont Classics, Sterling, Avondale and Avonleigh — were well-received and sold out quickly. But each of those projects also served as models of sorts for the next building project in Morningstar’s portfolio.
Some time after each Morningstar community has been built and established, Calahan and her team ask homeowners about the additional features they would have liked to see in their homes. “Instead of designing homes only with our architects, we’ve gone to our previous purchasers and asked, ‘What would you change to make your house better?’ ” she says. “They said larger secondary bedrooms. They also wanted window seats.”
Morningstar applied all the recommended changes into the design of homes offered at Kingston. “We always improve on the last project. We’re serving the needs of our buyers, and it’s worked well for us.”
Special to The Sun