BY MARIANNE SCOTT | PHOTOS BY JEFFREY BOSDET
After retiring, Karen Mark and Geoffrey Carrington took the task of finding the perfect abode seriously. They had decided to leave their Calgary single-family home and move to Victoria, where Karen grew up.
“We started preparing two years ago,” Geoffrey says. “While travelling and renting vacation properties, we studied layouts and size, and gathered ideas on what we wanted in a new home.”
They explored various Victoria apartments, then saw the layout of the south-facing penthouse in the Maddison — a condominium complex built by Abstract Developments — and knew it would suit them perfectly. The building is sited on the corner of Richmond and Oak Bay Avenues, an ideal location for the couple.
“My parents are in their 90s but still live in the Estevan-area house I grew up in,” Karen says. “I can walk to their place in 25 minutes, or downtown in 30. We also love the nearby Oak Bay library, and the rec centre is a few blocks away.”
Abstract’s Mike Miller believes the corner-placed building makes a statement.
“We bought the property in 2008 and had time to think through the design, with its neo-classic rounded corner and brick and stucco cladding,” he says. “It’s got a townhome feel.”
The penthouse offers the features the couple was looking for. Its 1,425-sq.ft. floorspace includes 10-foot-high ceilings throughout, an open concept living/dining/kitchen area, two bedrooms and baths, and a small den where the owners have installed a long desk allowing for two computer stations.
“We like that the master suite is separate from the rest of the apartment,” Geoffrey says. “And we wanted a residential building — no retail on lower floors. Being on the top floor, we have skylights in the entry, master bath and kitchen, adding even more light provided by the huge windows.”
From their balcony, they can see the Olympic Mountains’ snowy tops on a clear day.
The kitchen contains everything people who like cooking and entertaining could desire, including the five-burner gas stove, and Karen is delighted with the double oven. A wine cooler keeps beverages at the right temperature. The easy-to-maintain white quartz countertop is complemented by the cotton-white cabinets, which in turn are offset by dark walnut open shelving. Karen and Geoffrey chose the same walnut finish when completing their closets, storage cabinets and desk.
The living room’s wall-mounted gas fireplace provides ambience, while the television suspended above hides its cords in the chimney. The owners like the many design elements introduced by Nygaard Interiors.
“Sandy Nygaard has excellent taste,” Karen says. “We even like the doorknobs. We chose the light colour palette, so the floors are made of soft, white-oak engineered planks throughout our condo.”
Pointing out the laundry and bathroom’s light-grey porcelain floor, Karen says: “See that linen-look strip of tile running in the middle of the rectangular tiles? It’s a great esthetic.”
When buying a condo in new construction, owners benefit from technologies not often available in older buildings. For example, the Maddison includes an underground garage with bike storage and wiring for charging an electric car. The laundry features a sink beside the full-sized stacked washer/dryer. The condo’s pot lights and other lighting are part of the installation, as are the window shades. Triple glazing helps control heat loss/gain and strongly reduces traffic noise. Comfortable in-floor radiant heat warms the penthouse, but it can also be cooled by multi-zone air conditioning. An on-demand water heater lowers energy bills. Smart-home Control 4 technology includes a multi-zone built-in stereo system, whose LCD touchscreen also controls dimmable lighting.
“We like radio,” Geoff says. “Through this technology, we receive broadcasts from around the world.”
With the exception of one painting and a carved teak elephant from Myanmar, the couple left their more traditional furnishings in Calgary.
“We wanted a fresh start in a new, modern building and have added furniture slowly,” Karen says.
One of their prize pieces is a ceramic Calligaris dining table, whose top looks like marble, from Studio Ydesign. It has an ingenious pull-out that can seat eight diners. The living room sofas, chairs and the kitchen bar stools feature earth shades.
“Our art provides the colour,” said Karen. “We’re so happy in this home. I’m a real homebody and love hanging out in our penthouse.”
Developer: Abstract Developments
Interior Design: Nygaard Interior Design
Millwork & Cabinets: Ceanesse
Finishing Carpentry: Hobson Woodworks
Flooring: Hourigan’s Flooring
Countertops: Colonial Countertops
Curtains & Blinds: Island Window Coverings
Appliances: Trail Appliances
Fireplace: Delco Fireplaces