Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Maximum livability

Clever design details add space and light

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There's a singular reason why bi-level cab-over designs remain popular with families.

That reason is none other than function. With four distinct levels -- the basement, an expansive foyer situated seven steps below the main level, the main level (front-oriented dining room, great room, bedroom wing with two bedrooms and four-piece bath and a master suite perched seven steps above the home's main level -- The Ashwood VIII is an exceptionally livable home.

One of Hilton Homes' most popular plans, a few minor tweaks have made it even better, said Hilton's Spencer Curtis.

"The first thing we did with this home was redesign the outside to give it a more traditional feel," he said of the 1,723 sq. ft. design "That type of look will fit in perfectly with the traditional, urban village look that is going to be the trademark of the next development in this area, Devonshire Village."

While the home's square footage might sound a bit on the small side, that's not the case at all. Add in the fact the lower level offers about 1,000 sq. ft. of space to develop into two more bedrooms, a bathroom, rec room and storage, and you have a home that comes in at a total square footage that exceeds 2,700 sq. ft.

In short, The Ashwood VIII, is a very deceptive home on every level, starting with the basement.

"The great thing about this design is that you get massive windows downstairs," said Curtis. "In fact, there are three absolutely huge windows that let all kinds of light pour into the basement. That makes for an incredibly livable lower level that can be configured to meet the needs of an active, growing family."

That livability extends to the home's foyer -- and then on to the main level. Set seven steps down from the main level, it's a space that was designed to offer a segmented, functional space for visitors to doff their footwear and other assorted garb without feeling hemmed in.

"It's a nice wide space -- there's even room for a bench for you to sit down and take your shoes off -- that really welcomes you into the home in functional style," he said. "The function comes from an angled walk-in closet to the left, and a gorgeous (24-inch) taupe porcelain tile floor that not only looks great, but is easy to maintain."

Ascend the seven steps up to the main level, and you're greeted by a formal dining room that's positioned to the right, neatly defined by maple railing with stylish glass inserts. Right from the get-go, there's a palpable feel of space and light -- something that comes from a pair of clever design details.

First, the main level benefits from vaulted ceilings throughout. Second, large windows at the front and back of the home make for a pleasant, light-filled interior.

"Flow is exceptional from the dining room on back into the kitchen and family room," said Curtis. "And while the big window over the front door and the window on the dining room's front wall add light and detail, the vaulted ceiling is the key to the plan. It gives you a real feeling of space no matter where you are on the main floor."

Meanwhile, the key to the great room's exceptionally functional design can be summed up in three words (okay, four): proportion, and subtle segmentation. The kitchen is a delight to spend time in due to all the light that pours in from a picture window and patio door on the rear wall -- and the fact there's plenty of room to move both in the kitchen, and dinette area.

"I absolutely love the way the great room turned out -- the vaulted ceiling, huge window and angled patio door give you a real sunroom feel, while the island (perfectly sized at three feet by 7.5 feet) offers function, but doesn't get in the way," he said. "Not only that, but you can have a big table for four in the dinette and there's still lots of room to move around. The finishes -- cappuccino and thunder maple cabinets, maple hardwoods and (taupe) laminate countertops really warm up the area."

Immediately adjacent to the kitchen, the family room is defined by beige berber carpet -- and a stunning (optional) fireplace/entertainment unit combo.

"All the space and light in the family room is, beautifully punctuated by a 42-inch linear (gas) fireplace with porcelain and glass tile. We opened up the entertainment unit to provide room for bigger TV's, and the tile ties in with the tile in the foyer."

The home's crowning touch is a two-level bedroom quadrant where the two kids' bedrooms and four-piece bath has been placed in it's own secluded wing, while the master suite is situated seven steps above the main level in its own private, elevated world.

"It's segmented by the maple railing with glass panels off its own little hallway -- the panels give the entrance an nice open, airy feel," said Curtis. "A double entrance transitions into a huge bedroom with two large windows, a desk/sitting area by the windows, a mid-sized walk-in closet (with window) -- and deluxe (optional) ensuite with jetted corner soaker, five-foot shower and cappuccino maple vanity. It's a true retreat with its big window, and soaker with ledge for wine and or candles."

In all, The Ashwood VIII offers excellent value for a family looking for a home that maximizes living space, thereby maximizing their lifestyle.

lewys@mts.net

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 26, 2014 F7

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