As fascinating as new home shopping can be, there's always one caveat to keep in mind.
That caveat? That the show home (in most cases) you're walking through is the upscale model. Consequently, the price quoted for that home versus one filled with more basic finishes will be significantly more substantial.
In the case of 36 Bridge Lake Drive - a.k.a. The Dufferin, an 1,850 sq. ft. Signature Homes-built show home in Bridgwater Lakes - the difference in the price tag between upgraded and basic finishes comes to about $44,000.
That said, the home's interior finishes are far from basic, said Signature's sales representative, Barry Rochelle.
"This particular home, with all the upgrades, is selling for $459,900. For that price, you get engineered maple hardwoods, maple cabinets, granite countertops, a glass tile backsplash and a family room with gas fireplace and built-in entertainment unit," he said. "Go with more basic finishes such as carpet or vinyl, laminate countertops and go without the fireplace/entertainment unit and some other finishes, and the price comes down to an affordable $415,000."
Not to be forgotten, is the fact while you might opt to go for the basic finish package, you're still getting the same floor plan regardless. As fetching as the finishes in the $459,900 version of The Dufferin are, its layout is even more impressive.
"It's one of those homes that feels larger than it actually is," Rochelle said. "That applies especially to the great room area. The main level is nice and open and very bright with lots of natural light, which makes it a place that you enjoy spending time in."
That open feel starts right at the foyer, off which a formal dining room runs to the left. It's open, yet defined thanks to cutouts in the walls either side of its entrance. Had Signature's designers just gone with walls either side of the entrance, the foyer might have felt claustrophobic, but the cutouts eliminated that possibility.
At the same time, the upper-level stairwell was placed off to the right, creating a hallway that leads you into the great room in orderly fashion.
"I like the fact that you can't see the whole great room when you walk in. That's a nice feature because it creates a bit of privacy. It's a design that works well for people who want privacy and don't want guests to see the entire great room in one glimpse," he said.
Once you do get into the great room, you get the feeling of space is undeniable. That stems from two things: an efficient floor plan, and a user-friendly design feature found overhead.
"A vaulted ceiling runs over the dining room and great room - it's a feature that really increases the feeling of volume, and that also allows a maximum amount of natural light to flow throughout the main level," said Rochelle. "There are also lots of big windows, so the home is bright inside even when it's overcast outside."
While the great room is an open-concept design, it is also nicely segmented; that ensures the area doesn't feel simply like a big box filled with three different spaces. An island with double sink and seating for two defines the kitchen, while a bay window simultaneously defines the adjacent dinette area while adding space on its outside wall.
Next, there's about seven feet of buffer space between the kitchen area and family room that provides an aisleway to the patio door that leads to a future back- yard deck - and separates the family room neatly from the kitchen/dinette area.
Finishes in the great room are impressive: engineered honey maple hardwoods with a whitewashed tinge to them; taupe/black granite countertops; dark portobello maple cabinets; and a chocolate glass tile backsplash that really makes the cabinets pop. The spacious family room is also decked out nicely with a large picture window, vaulted ceiling and gas fireplace with black/stainless trim and a four-tiered entertainment unit either side.
The Dufferin's upper level, meanwhile, features a neat split-floor design, with the master suite placed next to the stairs four steps down from the level that houses the secondary bedrooms and main bath.
"I really like the placement of the master suite - it's a private space that's got all the amenities a couple would want: a four-piece ensuite with soaker tub/shower combo (with tan tile surround), maple vanity, mid-sized walk-in closet and lots of space."
Two big bedrooms with oversized, cantilevered windows and double closets inhabit the hallway four steps up along with a four-piece main bath, which also contains a soaker tub. There will be no morning fights between parents and kids before school and work here. The level of privacy provided by the split bedroom design is a very desirable feature for families.
Downstairs, The Dufferin offers approximately another 900 sq. ft. of liveable space that can be turned into a fourth bedroom, rec room, bathroom and storage. That makes for a home that tallies in at about 2,750 sq. ft. of space spread out over three distinct levels.
"It's a great layout - all you have to do is pick the finishes that work best for you and meet your budget," said Rochelle. "It also comes with kitchen appliances and window coverings included in the price. No matter which finishes you choose, it offers excellent value and function because the space is used so well on every level."