WITH its emphasis on clean, square lines and (at times) sometimes cold, metallic colour schemes, modern architecture is something you either love or hate.
What would happen, though, if an architect added a bit of warmth and a (literally) host of floor-to-ceiling glass into the mix? A fine balance of design, luxury -- and, most notably -- some great river views courtesy of a cutting-edge design by House 5 Inc. at 4286 Henderson Hwy.
"It took just under two years to build the home," says Helio Rodrigues, House 5's CEO and principle architect. "Once I saw the land, I knew the underlying concept of the design would be to maximize the river view. At the same time, I wanted to keep the design simple and tasteful. It's all about using an open-concept design that lets in tons of natural light. It literally enables you to see right through the whole home."
Indeed, the home, which is just down the road from Lockport, is the ultimate open concept design. With banks of windows positioned all around the 3,748 sq. ft. home (plus walk-out lower level) -- some are 30 feet high -- you feel as if you're walking through a giant, and very stylish, solarium. This feeling is further accentuated by high ceilings throughout -- 10 feet in the kitchen, 20 feet in the great room, and nine feet on the upper level. There is never any danger of feeling claustrophobic in a home that is so bright and wide open.
As might be expected, a strong linear feel can be seen in the design, whether in the upscale quartz, stainless steel and porcelain kitchen by Aster Cucine (with commercial grade gas cooktop and stainless fridge/freezer combination), voluminous great room with an entertainment unit that frames a 42-inch plasma television, or the bright, expansive den where you can catch up on some work, sit back and read a book, or watch your favourite show on a 32-inch plasma TV.
Rodrigues says the East St. Paul area showhome is merely a sample of what's possible.
"We wanted to showcase how things can be done in a unique and different way -- we design the house to fit you," he says. "No two designs are alike, because we design each home to reflect your lifestyle, needs and wants right down to the smallest detail."
While there's no question that 4286 Henderson is a modern design, it is far from antiseptic. Mist blue paint and dark-stained Brazilian hardwood flooring provides a warm counterpoint to white quartz and stainless steel countertops; dark-stained maple cabinetry, rather surprisingly, mates well with stainless steel handles.
"With regard to the kitchen, we wanted it to be clean, not overpowering. If I were to use one word to describe it, I would call it sleek. We took great care to make sure it stayed in step with the home's overall design," Rodrigues explains. "Unlike most of today's kitchens, ours doesn't have a pantry. Instead, it has two pull-out sections on either side of the microwave oven where you can store things. We also installed pull-out, self-sealing doors by the cooktop. Once they're closed, no dust -- or cooking ingredients -- will be able to get inside."
Upstairs, there are, well, no disappointments, either. An angular staircase with maple steps bordered by stainless steel railing enables you to ascend in style. Immediately to the left is the master bedroom with room to burn and a spectacular view of the river; it then merges with the ensuite, with its Bain Ultra Jet whirlpool (encased in beige porcelain tile), double tempered glass shower enclosure with rain and hand-held showerheads, and a walk-in closet with built-in maple closet organizers. Two large bedrooms, a bathroom with yet another jetted tub and laundry room round out the rest of the home's second level.
If one area of the home is to be featured above all the others, it would be the staircase, says Rodrigues.
"It really is my favourite feature," he says. "It not only works to unify the home, but is its focal point. It's positioned such that when the sun sets through the windows, the image is so spectacular that you never forget it. And when the lights are on at night, it's also quite the sight."
Not to be forgotten is the home's walk-out lower level, which doesn't seem like a lower level whatsoever. In fact, says Rodrigues, it was designed to complement the rest of the home, which was built with entertainment in mind.
"First of all, there's the private media room, which has a 92-inch screen, ceiling projector and state-of-the-art surround sound," he says. "It's the only room in the home that has wall-to-wall carpeting, which helps absorb sound. There's also a huge rec room with a maple/granite wet bar (not to mention a view of the river and surrounding area), a fourth bedroom and a three-piece bath with porcelain tile steam shower. It's a great spot for entertaining -- you can just walk out onto the patio, or go up onto the deck. There are also outside speakers and wiring is in place for an outdoor jacuzzi. We also left room to build a pool, if that's what the future owners decide they want to do."
Realtor Greg Michie sums up the home this way: "It's a brilliant design in the way that it lets in so much light and connects you with the outdoors. I've been impressed at every turn with the quality of the materials, colour scheme and overall thought that has gone into the design. If you're looking for a distinct identity, this is it."
For more information on 4286 Henderson Hwy, call Greg Michie at 334-2800.