Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Labour of Love

Master builder Steve Maric gets great satisfaction from creating his homes of distinction

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The year 2003 is one of milestones for Steve and Cathy Maric, creators of upscale homes and noted for innovative design, superb craftsmanship and a rigorous obsession with classic detailing.

First, the year marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of their Maric Homes construction firm. For another, Cathy is currently visiting Australia to welcome their first grandchild into the world.

Steve Maric emigrated to Canada from Croatia on May 27, 1967. Cabinet making and carpentry ran in his family and he followed in his father's footsteps, honing his considerable European design skills once he settled here. Today, he still takes a hands-on approach with the choice of doors, flooring, cabinets, windows and the finer points that put the Maric hallmark of quality on a new home.

The first home Mr. Maric built was in East St. Paul, an area he has called home for the past 35 years, where the lot cost $2,900 and the house price was $38,000.

In his first few years, Mr. Maric built five or six homes annually, but today builds 30 to 35, about half of them outside Winnipeg. His homes are in the classiest developments, such as Pritchard Farm Properties, Linden Woods and Island Lakes, but you will also find them in Oak Bluff, LaSalle, Selkirk, Lorette and Portage la Prairie.

Mr. Maric says the market, designs, materials and the scale of his operations have changed enormously as his business has evolved. He remains the Master Builder, while his wife Cathy takes care of colours, carpets, tiles, drapes and general interior decor.

"That first home cost just $38,000 but today I have over a dozen projects going with price tags of over half a million dollars on all of them," he says.

Maric Homes offers spacious, contemporary looks, with lots of windows, combined with large great rooms, stone niches, fireplaces and feature walls, pillars, iron railings, circular staircases and perfectly crafted hardwood floors. Kitchens and bathrooms are also highly original, using only the best materials.

Mr. Maric is now focussed on a superb bungalow with a walkout basement leading to a creek. The home, priced at $649,000, is at 42 Deerledge Trail in Pritchard Farm Properties and offers more than 2,500 sq. ft of elegant living.

With two bedrooms, a great room, magnificent dining room, kitchen, media room and two bathrooms, the home will be ready just in time for the Fall Parade of Homes.

"This home has many unique aspects, including high walls, several being 11 feet, double arches and a wealth of detailing," Mr. Maric says.

The home has special wide solid maple entry doors, with raised panels. The trim and doors throughout are also maple. Floors are of solid maple or ceramic tile, with minimal carpeted areas.

The ensuite bathroom has a sunken whirlpool and a raised ceramic tile walk-in shower, as well as many other striking details, including a hanging chandelier above the whirlpool. The master bedroom also has classic Maric touches, with tall windows, wooden beams and a wealth of stylish detailing.

The large, airy kitchen, visible from the main living area, is dominated by an island and has interesting angles. It makes generous use of cultured stone and complements the stone used around the fireplace in the great room. Kitchen cabinets have a rustic Tuscan tone and the granite countertops add a feeling of substance and solid elegance.

Mr. Maric says he has no regrets about becoming a builder, though it isn't an easy business and is a demanding taskmaster.

"I love the creative side of home building," he says. "If it were just a job to make money then I couldn't have stayed in it so long. I genuinely love the work I do and it gives me a lot of satisfaction to create something new and original."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 18, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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