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Home gains space when design adjusted to fit on narrow lot

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When you're a new home builder, challenges come in many shapes and sizes.

Take lots, for example. They can be big, small or medium-sized. It's then up to the builder to come up with a home design that fits the lot and maximizes living space.

So what did the design team at Hilton Homes do when they were presented with a 36-foot-wide lot to build on in Bridgwater Lakes?

"We pushed the envelope by modifying an existing design," said Hilton Homes' Spencer Curtis. "Because the lot was relatively narrow, we had to build up. We took a previous design -- the Cassidy, which was 1,600 sq. ft., and turned it into the Cassidy II, which is 1,751 sq. ft.. The idea behind adding the extra square footage was to get the highest-possible amount of livable space out of the home."

Curtis said the extra 150 sq. ft. comes more into play on the home's upper level than it does on its main level.

"The extra space basically allowed us to create more separation between the master suite and the two secondary bedrooms," he said of the upper level floor plan, which places the master suite and laundry/linen room to the right of the stairs, and the two secondary bedrooms -- along with a four-piece bath -- to the left of the stairs in their own private wing. "Not only are the two secondary rooms a good size, but kids will also have their own bathroom. Then, down the hall next to the master suite is a big, convenient laundry/linen room with space to put in a utility table."

Adjacent to the laundry/linen room is the master bedroom, which by dint of the well-conceived floor plan, is a private, isolated space. Because there wasn't an excessive amount of space to work with, it was important the bedroom, ensuite and walk-in closet be properly proportioned.

No worries on that front: the bedroom, which features a picture window on its rear wall, is not only well lit, but has more than enough room for a king-size bed, end tables and dresser/armoire. There's also a mid-sized walk-in closet and a three-piece ensuite with five-foot shower.

"The shower is actually an upgrade," said Curtis. "So too is the (24-inch) porcelain tile floor, and tile trim around the mirror, which looks amazing. Normally, we put in a one-piece tub/shower combination, vinyl flooring and don't have the tile trim around the mirror. Either way, you have a master suite that offers a nice balance between style and function no matter which finishing package you choose."

Head downstairs via an angled, extra-wide staircase, and you find a main level that features a novel floor plan. The first thing that becomes apparent is it's been reversed, with the family room up front. Second, separate (wide) entrances lead to the kitchen and dining area, respectively. Third, the design, while making for a different, refreshing look, works. Flow between space is excellent and flow of light between spaces isn't hampered in the least.

"It's a different design for us," he said. "Although you don't necessarily see it right away, one of the key architectural features is the staircase (which comes down between the kitchen and dining area). We actually worked the whole plan around it. Its angled design creates a different look and opens up space."

Next, the kitchen was placed in the centre of the main living area for a specific reason.

"We wanted the kitchen to flow through the centre of the home to create great access and flow to the family room and dining room. Then, we made the dining area larger than normal so it could function either as a formal dining space or dinette, depending on a family's needs," Curtis added. "There's also a powder room off the back landing, which we placed off to the side and out of the way. We didn't want boots to be out in the middle of the living space."

Meanwhile, oversized windows on the front and back walls ensure there's a crossfire of light to illuminate the entire great room area. Finishes -- medium-stained engineered oak hardwoods with a textured finish, seashell (white) and thunder (grey/brown) cabinets and faux marble (laminate) countertops -- combine to create a warm interior ambience. An eating nook for two to three and big four-door pantry next to fridge add function.

"The hardwood floors and maple cabinets are upgrades, as is the tiled foyer. Take them out and go with standard finishes such as carpet and vinyl in the great room, oak cabinets (light or dark), and take out the floating entertainment unit in the family room, and you can bring the price of the home down from $437,325 (which features about $100,000 in upgrades including a rear detached garage; a pad is standard) to between $335,000 and $350,000."

Even with standard finishes, you're getting the same efficient layout plus the potential to develop the basement to offer another 600 or so square feet of livable space (bedroom, rec room, bathroom, storage), said Curtis.

"This is an ideal home for a young couple of young family starting out. You might say that although it's not a huge home, it's one that's big on style and function, either in base trim or with upgrades. That's the kind of value young families are looking for."

lewys@mts.nt

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 18, 2014 F9

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