A shin­ing light in the mead­ows

Aurora’s strength is its ef­fi­cient floor plan

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Todd Lewys

IN to­day’s su­per-sized world, a 1,600-square foot home is of­ten con­sid­ered small. While it’s true size mat­ters — es­pe­cially if you’re a fam­ily of four — it all de­pends on a home’s floor plan. If it’s ef­fi­ciently de­signed, a home will be func­tional and even feel larger than its listed square footage. Con­versely, if a 2,000-square-foot home’s floor plan is sim­ply a hap­haz­ard col­lec­tion of spa­ces, it will feel sub­stan­tially smaller than it is. Suf­fice it to say, 81 An­gela Everts Drive — a.k.a. the Aurora — falls into the for­mer cat­e­gory. “This home feels larger than it is be­cause its lay­out is so ef­fi­cient,” said Derek MacDon­ald, Qual­ico’s mar­ket­ing manager for sin­gle-fam­ily homes. “No mat­ter what floor you’re on — main floor, sec­ond floor or down­stairs in the base­ment — the home is very func­tional. When you add in the lower level, you have a home that of­fers over 2,100 square feet of liv­able space.” That living space can also be fin­ished to meet en­try or mid-level bud­gets. By out­fit­ting the home with ba­sic fin­ishes and tak­ing out sev­eral op­tional fea­tures found in the show home, the Aurora can be pur­chased for less than $350,000. Should you have a lit­tle more coin to spend, the Aurora comes in at a shade over $425,000 loaded with a host of op­tional fin­ishes. “The show home has up­grades such as a cul­tured stone en­ter­tain­ment unit with rib­bon fire­place, ce­ramic tile back­splash, high-end lam­i­nate floor­ing, a glass tile back­splash in the kitchen, and maple rail­ing with glass in­serts that bor­der the up­per-level stair­case,” said MacDon­ald. “If you go with more ba­sic fin­ishes to start out with, you can cer­tainly get the price down to be­low $350,000, mak­ing this a very af­ford­able fam­ily home.” No mat­ter what the fin­ish­ing level is — and so-called ba­sic fin­ishes such as car­pet­ing, vinyl floor­ing, stan­dard cab­i­netry and fam­ily room with­out cul­tured stone wall and rib­bon fire­place (the can­tilevered area would sim­ply be painted) are still more than ac­cept­able — the Aurora’s strength is its ef­fi­cient floor plan. That ef­fi­cient lay­out starts with the bright, gen­er­ous foyer, which branches off to both the left and right. To the left is a com­pact wing that con­tains a pow­der room and laun­dry/mud room with door for garage ac­cess. To the right is the up­per-level stair­well set be­neath a soar­ing ceil­ing with large ver­ti­cally-ori­ented win­dows on the main floor and over the first land­ing po­si­tioned per­fectly to let in co­pi­ous quan­ti­ties of nat­u­ral light. A wide stair­case takes you up to the home’s sec­ond level, which is an er­gonomic master­piece. Thanks to a com­pact land­ing around which three bed­rooms and fourpiece main bath re­volve, there’s lit­tle in the way of wasted space. There’s plenty of room to move, plus all three bed­rooms are a good size (sec­ondary bed­rooms are nine feet by 11.8 feet and nine feet by 11 feet, re­spec­tively; the mas­ter suite is 14 feet by 15 feet). “I like the fact that the mas­ter suite is big, but not over­pow­er­ing — it doesn’t oc­cupy too much space,” he said. “It’s ev­ery­thing a young cou­ple could want: spa­cious, bright (with a huge three-piece pic­ture win­dow on its rear wall), and nicely ap­pointed with a three-piece en­suite with in­te­grated walk-in closet. Both sec­ondary bed­rooms also come with large win­dows and dou­ble clos­ets.” Head back down­stairs to the great room, and you find a space that’s the best of both worlds: open, yet sub­tly de­fined so as to guard against it feel­ing too open and box­like. The afore­men­tioned def­i­ni­tion was achieved by plac­ing a par­ti­tion wall be­tween the kitchen and fam­ily room — and by mak­ing sure each space was prop­erly pro­por­tioned. “The par­ti­tion wall ac­com­plishes two pur­poses,” said MacDon­ald. “It not only divides up the area, but it also does a nice job of hid­ing the is­land, which has a dou­ble sink and eat­ing nook for three.” Next to the kitchen is some­thing that’s quite un­ex­pected: an ab­so­lutely huge in­for­mal dining area. “It’s a won­der­fully func­tional area that can eas­ily hold a ta­ble for six to eight, and that comes with a can­tilevered area (with over­sized tran­som win­dow above) for a buf­fet niche or serv­ing ta­ble — plus a door on the rear wall that leads to a backyard deck,” he said. “And the kitchen is a stylish, func­tional space with dark brown, tex­tured Soho cab­i­nets, a grey glass tile back­splash and cor­ner pantry. There’s lot of cabi­net and counter space, and the aisles are quite wide.” Last but not least is the floor­ing, which runs through the whole great room, pro­vid­ing a fin­ish­ing touch that’s at once el­e­gant and durable. “If you were go­ing to re­tain one of the op­tions, I’d keep the floor­ing,” MacDon­ald said. “It’s a high-end, wide-plank lam­i­nate floor that looks like real hard­woods. It’s warm, easy to clean, cost-ef­fec­tive and will stand up to an ac­tive fam­ily’s life­style. The fam­ily room, with its cul­tured stone en­ter­tain­ment unit and rib­bon fire­place fin­ishes off the area in style, while a huge pic­ture win­dow on its rear wall lets in tons of nat­u­ral light.” He added the home’s af­ford­abil­ity and liv­abil­ity is matched by its ex­cel­lent lo­ca­tion. “In Cro­cus Mead­ows, you’re in a won­der­ful in­fill com­mu­nity that’s close to down­town and a host of ameni­ties. I think it’s all, and more, that a young fam­ily could ask for in a home.”

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