December 19, 2012

Two homes in one

Bulk of Coquitlam’s Somerton residences will have an out-of-the-ordinary feature — a coach house

Morningstar Homes is selling its Somerton residences with the assistance of three stylishly outfitted show homes, including the Ellsworth model, far left, and the Hillcrest model, middle. Also on display: a tastefully appointed coach home, below. Twenty-one of the 34 detached homes have coach homes. They are, says Morningstar’s Deborah Calahan, ‘the newest, most innovative product in Coquitlam’.

special to the Sun

Journalists love firsts (the newest of news) so it’s not surprising that print and television media alike have flocked to Coquitlam’s first coach homes since Morningstar Homes launched them at Somerton on Burke Mountain last month. More significant is the response from homebuyers.

“Within the first weekend, we had sold out of the first release so I was releasing more,” says Deborah Calahan, vice-president sales and marketing for Morningstar Homes. Almost one third of the 34 single-family Somerton homes sold within the first month.

So far, all the homes sold include coach houses: “But that makes sense, as that is what we are currently marketing and is the newest, most innovative product in Coquitlam,” Calahan says. “In the new year, when I launch my newest show home (with a raised garden-view basement but no coach house), I would expect to see sales for that product type as well.” (The Somerton sales centre closes for the holidays on Dec. 18, reopening Jan. 2.)

It was the coach houses that first attracted Somerton buyers Shane and Rachael Johnston, who wanted to move closer to Shane’s work as campus pastor at the Coquitlam Christian Life Assembly. “We live in Surrey right now in Clayton Heights and have a coach home, and that has been a really good experience for us,” Shane says. “Obviously, it makes it more affordable. We’ve had good experience with having people we like and having that community that comes from it as well.”

There are three floor plans at Somerton, each displayed in a stylishly decorated show home with landscaped yard. All have full basements, and 21 homes will include coach houses (there is also a finished coach house on display). The remaining 13 homes will feature a partly raised main floor to create a “garden-view” basement with legal suite potential. A show home with this style basement opens in early January.

“We give you a model of each type of home that we are going to build in your neighbourhood so that you get to see it,” Calahan says. “You’re not looking at a plan trying to imagine what it might be like. You actually get to walk through, kick the tires, try it out.” Morningstar believes so strongly in the “show, don’t tell” approach that it doesn’t provide a printed feature sheet: all four colour schemes and the various options are displayed in the model homes.

The Johnstons chose the Hillcrest floor plan, with the great room at the front, dining area in the middle and kitchen with a home office area and powder room at the back. “The open floor plan on the main was really desirable, particularly again as it relates to my occupation as a pastor,” Shane says. “We like the ability to have lots of people in our home and a big, open, inviting space for lots of people.”

The Ellsworth layout is similar, with the great room at the front, dining room in the middle and kitchen plus home office and powder room at the back, but is less open due to a wall with a double-sided fireplace between the great room and dining room, giving the home a more traditional feel.

The third floor plan, Meadow View, is reversed, with the great room at the back, combined kitchen and dining area in the middle and the powder room and a 10-foot-square flex room off the foyer.

Upstairs, every home has three spacious bedrooms, two baths and a laundry room with a window. Each master bedroom has a vaulted ceiling, walk-in closet and ensuite with a glass shower stall and a soaker tub plus corner windows for maximum natural light. At least one bedroom in each home has a window seat.

The coach home, above the detached garage, has a vaulted ceiling in the living area, a large bedroom with a window seat, a washer/dryer in the bathroom and its own private patio outside.

Even Morningstar’s Calahan finds herself drawn to the coach home. “I kept going back because I would be interviewed or I would be taking people through, and the more I went, I’d say, ‘This would be perfect for my son,’” she says. Eventually “I started thinking, ‘Hmm, maybe my son and my husband can stay in the house, and (the coach home) will be mine.’”


Project size: 34 single-family homes (includes 21 coach homes)
Residence size: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths; 3,017 — 3,102 square feet; coach homes: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 512 square feet
Prices: $749,900-799,900 with coach home; $699,900 without coach home
Sales Centre: 3436 Roxton Avenue, Coquitlam
Hours: Noon – 6 p.m., Sat – Thurs; closed Dec. 18 – Jan. 2
Telephone: 604-489-8581
Email: rrossum Morningstar Homes
Architect: Frederick T. Sales
Interior Design: Creative Design Works
Warranty: 2/5/10 on material & labour/building envelope/structural defects
Occupancy: February — December 2013

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