An­nual WAG tour high­lights cut­ting-edge ar­chi­tec­tural firm

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Tracey Thomp­son

IF you’ve al­ways wanted to peek into some of Win­nipeg’s finest homes, you’ll have a chance next week­end to go be­hind the façade and in­side five pri­vate res­i­dences. The Vol­un­teer As­so­ci­ates of the Win­nipeg Art Gallery is host­ing its 6th An­nual Home Tour on Sun­day, Septem­ber 12 with a show­case of con­tem­po­rary ar­chi­tec­ture fea­tur­ing homes in Tuxedo.

The five unique homes on the 2010 tour all fea­ture work by the firm of Lloyd W. Secter, one of Win­nipeg’s most prom­i­nent con­tem­po­rary ar­chi­tec­tural firms. This year’s tour is a break from the tra­di­tional for­mat; in the past, the vol­un­teer group has se­lected var­i­ous homes in a par­tic­u­lar area, such as the very tra­di­tional, clas­sic homes that were fea­tured in Tuxedo last year.

“This is the first year we’ve fea­tured one ar­chi­tect,” says event co-chair Kim Chipman. “It is an ex­cel­lent op- por­tu­nity to tie art and ar­chi­tec­ture to­gether.”

The five fea­tured homes have all been built or ren­o­vated by Secter’s ar­chi­tec­tural firm. All of the houses on the self-guided tour have a very con­tem­po­rary feel or what Chipman calls “el­e­gant sim­plic­ity.”

In 1972, ar­chi­tects Lloyd Secter and his wife Mar­cia started their de­sign firm and have built a very suc­cess­ful and well-rec­og­nized busi­ness that is in­volved in ev­ery­thing from ar­chi­tec­ture to land­scape and in­te­rior de­sign as well as sculp­ture, cus­tom fur­ni­ture and com­mer­cial, re­tail and res­tau­rant de­sign.

While the in­di­vid­ual home­own­ers will re­main anony­mous, Chipman says the five par­tic­i­pants are re­ally ex­cited to be in­volved in the tour to show­case their homes and Secter’s work.

“We have just been blown away by the qual­ity of houses,” notes Chipman. “Peo­ple will be quite ex­cited by what they are see­ing.”

The ad­dresses of the five fea­tured homes are only re­vealed when tick­ets for the home tour are pur­chased.

Built in 1969, the old­est home on the tour was ren­o­vated in 2007 to unify all of the dis­parate el­e­ments and give the house a more mod­ern and open feel. An­other home on the tour was built in 1973 and ren­o­vated by Secter in 2009. The cur­rent home­own­ers wanted a new de­sign that would sup­port their mod­ern life­style and love of en­ter­tain­ing while al­low­ing them to have their chil­dren close by. The de­sign ad­dressed those needs through a com­plete ren­o­va­tion of the kitchen and mas­ter suite.

The other three homes on the tour have all been built by Secter’s firm. The first, built in 1982, has been de­scribed as a “de­sign puz­zle.” The own­ers wanted a mod­ern home that would pro­vide max­i­mum sun­light for the in­te­rior while en­sur­ing pri­vacy on the flat lot.

The de­sign of an­other home, built in 1990, was con­ceived as a sim­ple box to al­low the max­i­mum pen­e­tra­tion of light from the home’s corner lot po­si­tion. The main floor of the house is a large, open plan of in­ter­con­nect­ing spa­ces with vir­tu­ally no wasted space and no doors to de­fine spa­ces ex­cept for the guest bath­room and main floor laun­dry room.

Ac­cord­ing to the owner, the or­ga­niz­ing prin­ci­ple for the de­sign was that “the struc­tural en­vi­ron­ment of the house should be a quiet back­ground to the ac­tual liv­ing in the home — a neu­tral back­drop so the ac­tual life in the house is the colour.”

The fi­nal home fea­tured on the tour is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion, pro­vid­ing vis­i­tors with a glimpse at a work in progress and a first-hand look at mod­ern home de­sign. The de­sign com­prises two liv­ing wings that form an L-shaped foot­print around a back­yard pool. The owner wanted an in­dus­trial loft-like space in the house, which led to a de­sign that is both min­i­mal and open with the ex­pan­sive glass loft link­ing one space to the other.

To take part in the 6th An­nual Home Tour, you can pur­chase a $30 guide­book from the Win­nipeg Art Gallery, McNally Robin­son Book­sell­ers or The Gar­den Room. Tick­ets must be pur­chased in ad­vance to en­sure en­trance to the homes. The guide­book pro­vides one ad­mis­sion to each of the five homes, re­veal­ing the ad­dresses with a de­tailed de­scrip­tion of each home for a self-guided tour. The homes will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sun­day, Septem­ber 12.

The an­nual tour is a fundrais­ing project of the Vol­un­teer As­so­ci­ates of the Win­nipeg Art Gallery. All pro­ceeds are di­rected to the WAG to sup­port fu­ture ac­qui­si­tions, ex­hi­bi­tion spon­sor­ship, ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams such as chil­dren’s art classes and art schol­ar­ships. In 2008, the an­nual home tour sold out. About 960 peo­ple toured through the homes, rais­ing al­most $24,000 for the WAG.

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