September 6, 2012
Morgan Heights sevelopment eschews cookie-cutter approach
Project size: 101 single-family homes
Residence size: Three to four bedrooms; 2,000 — 2,200 sq. ft, plus 850 — 1,000-sq.-ft unfinished basement
Price: From $836,900 including net HST
Sales Centre: 16092 – 28A Avenue, South Surrey
Hours: Noon — 5 p.m., daily
Email: Morgan Foxridge Homes, a Qualico Company
Interior Design: First Impression Design
BY FELICITY STONE
“This is our fun level,” says Diane Zarola, sales and marketing manager at Foxridge Homes. “Everybody just has a ball down here.” She is referring to the design centre in the new show home that just opened at Morgan Heights in South Surrey. “The really fun things that our buyers get to do is pick every colour that goes into their home from the outside in,” she explains. The showhome’s basement and garage have been converted to a showroom stocked with samples of everything from flooring, countertops, tiles and cultured stone to cabinet doors, stair rails, mirror frames, lighting, door handles and paint chips. “We have a nice big work area for people. They end up bringing all these different samples to the table and laying it all out with our guidance.”
Homeowners start by choosing stone for the exterior and building the paint colours around that before moving on to the interior colours and finishes. “There’s lots of different choices so that the community is not cookie cutter,” Zarola says. Exterior colours and stonework cannot be identical within five houses. “Every house is different,” says Zarola. “Two homes could be exactly the same floor plan and you’d never know it walking into them because it just looks so different from one to the other.”
At Morgan Heights, the 101 lots vary in size — from less than 3,000 square feet to more than 7,000 — shape and topography, so Foxridge designs every home individually. Although plans are reused, each is customized to make the most of the lot and maximize views by, for example, changing the location of the master bedroom to overlook the view. Morgan Heights slopes downhill to the north looking towards the North Shore mountains and designated green space. The current show home is designed for an uphill slope like many of the latest lots coming on the market. Since the first Morgan Heights show home opened in April, there have been more than 10 different plans available.
More than 20 Morgan Heights homes have already been sold, six of them to repeat buyers like Raymond and Barbara Lee. The Lees moved into a two-storey three-bedroom home, their third from Foxridge, at the end of July after living in Ontario for five years. “I like the neighbourhood and I like the quality,” Ray says. “It’s a very solidly built home.” He also likes the layout of Foxridge homes. “The space always feels much larger than the actual square footage,” he says.
Many repeat customers are moving to Morgan Heights because of the neighbourhood, Zarola says. “It’s a little upscale, has all the amenities, the beaches, access to the highway into the city, out of the city, across the border — it’s all right here.” Most buyers are moving up; others are downsizers looking for a more manageable-size property.
The new Ridgewood-style showhome is a typical Foxridge design: just over 2,000 square feet on two levels, plus an unfinished basement. The Craftsman-style home is entered from a front porch that wraps around both sides of the house. The sunken foyer leads to 12-by-13-foot flex room that can be used for anything from a home office to a formal dining room. A great room, dining area and kitchen stretch across the back of the house overlooking the landscaped backyard and outdoor kitchen. The main floor feels spacious and airy thanks to the open plan, 10-foot ceilings and large and numerous windows, Foxridge Homes signature features. “We put in the biggest windows everywhere we can,” Zarola says. The high ceilings accommodate transom windows for additional light. There is even a transom window over the powder room door and a window in the laundry room off the kitchen. Windows in the stairwells are frosted to afford privacy without sacrificing light.
Upstairs are three bedrooms, plus another flex room; other plans have four bedrooms. The 13-by-15-foot master bedroom has a vaulted ceiling and french doors onto a balcony overlooking the view. The ensuite with walk-in shower, soaker tub and double sinks is flooded with natural light from a good-sized window. The walk-in closet is so large it could be called a dressing room. The flex room — a.k.a. family lounge area — is set up as a TV room, but, says Zarola, people use them for various purposes, including homework room, craft room or piano room. Buyers are asked if and where they plan to hang their TV, so the cable and the electrical can be installed at a height to accommodate it.
“We think about those kinds of things,” says Zarola. “We’ll go, ‘Can we do that better? Can we do that differently?’ ” Some modifications are inspired by comments from buyers, like a major window change in the master bedroom of one of the house plans a few years ago. “This homeowner had actually bought the house, and he said, ‘You know, I really, really wish that there was a big window on this side wall.’ I brought everybody out, and we looked at it and said, ‘You know what? He’s right.’ And so we changed the plan, and every time that house was built from there on in, including his house, we had a different window design in that master bedroom.”
Special to The Sun