That may be a tough row to hoe for some organizations, but not for the Qualico Group of Companies, a leader in land development and home construction in Western Canada for more than 50 years.
Is it a challenge? Sure, says Ken Braun, but it's one that his Single Family Division has always embraced.
"It's our responsibility to keep our home plans fresh and new," says Mr. Braun, Manager of Qualico's Single Family division for 12 years.
"We have always stayed on top of home decorating and buying trends, and have really gotten to know what people are looking for.
"This year, for example, you'll see homes in the Parade you may have seen before, but they will have a new look," Mr. Braun adds. "We don't hesitate to change some of the specifications on proven home plans to incorporate elements we know the public wants."
The Qualico Group of Companies, a Winnipeg-based construction firm founded in 1951 that has grown into a full service, self-sufficient company, has welcomed more than 40,000 Western Canadians 'home' in the last five decades. A proven leader in single family home building for the last several years, Qualico has captured more than one-third of the market share in Winnipeg by offering well-built dwellings in a variety of sizes and price ranges.
The single family division, which offers four different home series, each with distinctive price ranges, square footage and features, will present 12 show homes in the 2003 Fall Parade of Homes. And that means prospective home buyers will be able to see offerings from a two-storey, 2,500-plus square foot Foxridge Executive Series model to a 1,300 sq. ft. Broadview line bungalow.
As well, Qualico's show homes are presented in a range of different areas across Winnipeg.
"We know that new home buyers often look in a certain area of the city because they like the location or community feeling," Mr. Braun says. "And with four lines to choose from, it means we can offer you the home that's right for your family, lifestyle needs and budget."
Changing trends in home design are well reflected in this year's Parade. Many models feature the great room concept which meshes nicely with today's more casual lifestyle, as well as other touches such as brushed chrome hardware and taps, pewter lighting packages, maple cabinetry with different glaze finishes, and hardwood and ceramic flooring.
Prospective new home buyers can also expect to see more examples of lower level development and fewer formal dining rooms.
"One of the most recent moves has been to the flex room, a space that the home buyer can use for whatever is needed another bedroom, office, a reading area, kids room, you name it."
But in addition to these decorative and design accents, home buyers themselves have changed in the last decade, Mr. Braun says.
"People are breaking the old home buying rules," he says. "Not that long ago, you rarely saw a 1,400 square foot home with only two bedrooms, for example, but that's becoming more common.
"People are also spending the money to upgrade components of their new home bathrooms, kitchens, sinks and lighting. After all, if you're spending $175,000 on a new home, why not get what you want right at the start?"
Also breaking the old home buying rules are the empty nesters, couples whose children are grown and live on their own, and first-time home buyers, Mr. Braun points out.
"It used to be a given that people with grown children no longer living at home would move into something smaller. While some do, just as many are buying larger homes, with features they've always wanted but perhaps couldn't afford when they were raising their families.
"And first-time home buyers are not restricting themselves to what you might call the smaller, starter homes. More of them know what they want in a home and are willing to do what it takes to get it."
If you haven't visited a Qualico show home recently, here is an overview of what you'll see in just a few of the many distinctive single family housing options the company is offering in 2003. Note some of the innovative design components and decorative colours and accents that each home presents. You can view these homes in-depth, as well as Qualico's other housing choices, at www.qualicowinnipeg.com
WHERE: 44 Ocean Ridge Drive, Linden Ridge
MODEL: The Chateau (Foxridge Executive Series)
SIZE: 2,843 square feet
ITS POINT OF DIFFERENCE: Spacious, inviting foyer; an upper Gallery area; ergonomically placed kitchen appliances.
COLOUR SCHEMES: Walls of warm mocha and full-bodied taupe throughout, accented with antique cream trim and four-inch baseboarding; wrought iron stair spindling and decorative accents.
WHAT ELSE YOU'LL SEE: The design of this four-bedroom, two-storey home (can be built as a three-bedroom) is especially popular with professional and executive families. It is large enough to afford quiet nooks, but also offers an intimate, casual feel throughout.
The interior entranceway, which boasts huge brass-grilled windows above the front door, is especially welcoming and practically pulls you into the 1,375 square foot main floor. Although it features a recessed art nook and a huge den, the airy, stylized 'chateau' feel to this property is never compromised. Another focal point of the Chateau is the second floor gallery, which looks down on the foyer. Distressed wood plank flooring stretches throughout the non-carpeted main level.
One of the best blueprints you'll see for the great room concept when kitchen, and living, dining room space are incorporated into one open area is in this home. Each of these components is large enough to showcase its uniqueness in plan and design, while flowing effortlessly from one area to the next.
The kitchen has a full, walk-in pantry, maple cabinetry with a Tuscan finish, breakfast eating area, plenty of windows and artificial lighting, and innovative options like a raised dishwasher and lowered microwave oven. Mudroom with washer/dryer hookup is off the kitchen. Staggered ceilings throughout the great room area, upgraded with recessed pot lighting, add to the open flow of the space. Other main floor features are the floor to ceiling cultured stone fireplace spanning one wall and the dining room's rectangular 'piano' window. Dining room features built-in tray ceiling.
The focal point of the upstairs is the open area circular gallery in the middle of the 1,200-plus square feet, from which four bedrooms flow. A two-stair riser leads to the master bedroom, which feels like a retreat from the world. It features a massive walk-in closet, as well as a double-sided gas fireplace separating sleeping quarters from the large, airy ensuite which includes corner jet tub, separate shower and double sinks. Every bedroom has its own walk-in closet, with one bedroom offering a built-in window seat, which could be a toy box as well.
WHERE: 476 Blvd. de la Seigneurie
MODEL: The Lakeview (Broadview Line)
SIZE: 1,809 square feet
ITS POINT OF DIFFERENCE: A good example of the 'bonus room' plan; many angled walls and corners add design interest; deceptively spacious foyer.
COLOUR SCHEMES: Classic burgundy, greens, and antique white accents with Walnut Oak flooring.
WHAT ELSE YOU'LL SEE: This three-bedroom plan may look small from the outside but a larger and wider than expected entrance draws you into a light, airy main level, which also contains two bedrooms and a bathroom tucked away for privacy, as well as a great room living space. A large, brass-grilled window, accented by vaulted ceilings, above the front door and the pony-railed, dining room area add to the expansiveness that the main level exudes.
Because the main level walls don't reach all the way to the ceiling, they frame rather than close off the hallway and formal dining room area from the rest of the living space. Once drawn into the great room at the rear of the home, you'll find interesting innovative touches such as a two-sided gas fireplace built into an entertainment unit; again, this defines the living room and dining room areas without arresting the flow of the main floor.
As well, the kitchen features a large working island/breakfast nook, complete with twin sinks, which allow you to face the great room area. Hardwood strip floors, Manchester antique white cabinetry, full walk-in pantry and a laundry/mud room complete the main floor offerings.
One of the most striking components to this design is that the second level contains only the master bedroom and its accompanying walk-in closet and large ensuite. The spacious and fully developed lower level has been upgraded with large windows, eliminating the 'basement feel' typical of lower level rooms, and is large enough to accommodate a decent-sized bedroom, an equally large office or flex room space, with room to spare for something like a regulation-sized pool table.
WHERE: 1288 Scurfield Boulevard
MODEL: The Santa Rosa (Sterling Line)
SIZE: 2,168-plus square feet
ITS POINT OF DIFFERENCE: Upper loft area enhances the foyer's spaciousness; loft can double as a flex room; oak heritage pillars and archway in main level dining room.
COLOUR SCHEMES: The main level features shades of warm gold accented with navy and oak trim and beams. The deep sage colour of the upper storey complements the main level's warm tones.
WHAT ELSE YOU'LL SEE: The Sterling line is generally a happy medium of traditional and contemporary finishes, fixtures and looks in a two-storey package, although bungalow layouts are available in different models. A high ceiling, coupled with upper level cathedral-styled window, contributes to the openness of the main foyer.
True to its traditional roots, this home features a formal living room and family room area, as well as a dining room. The family room, complete with attractive stone fireplace, opens onto the kitchen, which has a centre island, eat-in area and pantry. A main floor mud room/laundry area rounds out the 1,181 square foot main level living space.
The master bedroom, one of three bedrooms on the 1000-plus square foot second level, is spacious and accented with French doors and corner windows. The accompanying deluxe ensuite houses a large jet tub and separate glassed shower unit.