Villas New High For Watermark
LUXURY MEETS MOUNTAIN VIEWS AT DEVELOPMENT WEST OF CITY - Claire Young, Calgary Herald
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Some things are just simply worth waiting for.
The Villas at Watermark are no exception, says a couple who bought in the first phase.
About five years ago, Bill and Carol Sykes first read that the plans for Watermark at Bearspaw — a new community by Macdonald Development Corp. just west of Calgary — would include villas.
“Our curiosity was piqued from that initial exposure,” says Bill. “The idea of living with the view — the panorama of the Rockies — was pretty exciting. A couple of years later, they started doing the building of the single-family homes, then they started to get serious about the villas.”
When the Sykes revisited the site of the villas, on a southwest-facing slope overlooking Watermark at Bearspaw and the Rocky Mountains, they knew they had done right by waiting.
“We remembered the views, which were so spectacular,” says Bill.
“They coupled the views with these really cool-looking, Frank Lloyd Wright/Prairie-style homes. Carol and I are big fans of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, and they really captured something special.”
Today marks the grand opening of four show homes at the Villas at Watermark.
In the first phase, 32 villas have been released for sale and half have sold. There are four different floor plans to choose from, ranging from just under 2,000 square feet to more than 2,600 square feet.
All villa plans come with two options for lower level development. Most have master bedrooms on the main living floor, although one model does offer a master bedroom on the lower level.
In total, the site has been approved for 101 homes (one single-family unit with the rest as duplexes). Construction is slated to begin this month on homes in the first phase.
“This is an exceptional view — truly a million-dollar view of the Rocky Mountains,” says Ian Macdonald, director of sales for Watermark at Bearspaw.
“I can’t wait for the first dusting of snow, because then they pop and this is the only TV show you need to watch in HD.
“There are gorgeous views and everyone has this view from their main level,” says Macdonald.
Structuring the villa portion of the community to take full advantage of the view was a key consideration.
“It was a big part of the architecture and design of the entire site,” says Matthew Jones, associate vice-president of sales and marketing.
“We’re on a bit of a hillside, so it was very important for the architecture to be designed as a low-slung Prairie style to ensure that each unit has this view out their main floor window. It’s all about the views.”
The Villas at Watermark were designed by architect Ray Letkeman, known for cutting-edge urban communities and luxurious developments in Whistler, Revelstoke and Maui’s Honua Kai resort.
“His inspiration was Prairies meets the Rockies feel, and how the buildings contour around the hillside,” says Macdonald.
The homes are all oriented toward this southwest view, with all main windows facing toward it. This creates privacy for all of the homes. With the garages to the northeast, villas on lower levels do not have anyone above them with views into their homes.
The contemporary units all have 10-foot ceilings on the main floor, and the first row of villas will have 10-foot ceilings on the lower level, as well. Finishes include countertops in Caesarstone quartz and Granite, wide-plank engineered hardwood floors, glass railings on the stairwells and wine fridges in the kitchens. While the level of detail is already high in the villas, upgrades are available, including a Wolf and Sub-Zero appliance package in the kitchen and built-ins around the homes.
The proposed amenities building will have two levels, a full gym, games area, full kitchen, seating area for meetings, locker-rooms, with a large outdoor area for entertaining.
“For people who are looking to change their lifestyle a bit to downsize or smart size into this type of square-footage, if they do want to have a large party, that club house is a good thing for them,” says Macdonald.
With their two sons in postsecondary studies, it was time for the Sykes to move from their big family home.
“We wanted a home that could accommodate our kids coming back in summers and have family time together, so we didn’t want something too small. We wanted to accommodate a family-of-four house,” says Bill.
“The Villas met our lifestyle phase, as well as our immediate, pre-empty-nester phase. We want the kids to feel welcome and for each of them to have their own room, literally forever, because we want them to always feel welcome to come home.
“At the same time, we’d like to have a home that isn’t onerous to clean and high maintenance.”
Not having to pick up a rake every time leaves fall from the trees is something Bill is looking forward to.
“I’m kinda done with cutting the lawn and trimming trees. It’s all taken care of,” he says, adding that the lock-and-leave arrangement gives them flexibility in travelling without worrying about shovelling walks in winter.
The Sykes bought a 2,400-square-foot unit, which gives them the right room for four adults.
“It has a big gathering kitchen that you’re able to enjoy the views from. We saw it as a great entertainment home.
“We’ve always had lots of friends and family at home, and we don’t see this as a compromise. It’s a home that is the right size for our family stage, but it can be an incredible entertainment home.”
Besides the view and lifestyle that the villas provide, the Sykes found the community to be close to the amenities they use, including some of their favourite golf courses, pathways and the new LRT extension to the northwest.
“We’ve had a lot of people on a list for about five years now for the villa product,” says Jones. “There’s nothing like it in the Bearspaw area, or in the northwest, with this kind of view.”
As the Sykes say, it’s a project that’s worth the wait.