Feature Home: The Cozy Area of Kemnay

Several months have passed since we first introduced you to the new build just west of Brandon in the cozy area of Kemnay, Manitoba.

At the onset of winter last year, the home – developed and built by Evan Keller of Keller Properties – was featured in Design Your Home, showcasing the architectural bones and unique layout of the rurally situated residence; allowing readers the opportunity to see the home in its developmental stages, and to learn what was in store for an overall finished product.

The concept of ‘country living with convenience’ is really beginning to take off with Brandon folks looking to develop property outside of city limits. And as developers like Keller continue to convert near-by rural landscape, the opportunity to escape to a fully amenable home is enticing more and more city dwellers out into the prairies.

Darren Giilck, a realtor with Royal Le Page, and also an integral partner with Keller Properties, says that seeking out a prime location that still met the needs of city living in a rural setting was one of the biggest pieces of the development puzzle from the onset. “From the very start, Evan and I looked over the Kemnay development and chose a building lot that would fit the quality of the home we wanted to pursue, and allow for some valuable features such as a circle driveway, and the fantastic southern exposure”.

When asked about some of the understated benefits of a rural spot such as this, Giilck points to the short, paved commute on the 1A Highway, the ability to still qualify for the Brandon School Division in regards to proximity, and the ability to tap into the municipal water supply. That last point has been the deciding factor for many seeking residence outside the city limits. “Demand will continue to grow as more and more areas around Brandon connect with municipal water. Places that would have had to haul water or even had poor quality water in the past, now have to just turn the tap on”.

Throughout the initial planning stages this property had many unique and customized features in the works, and now we are finally able to visualize what had been percolating in the minds of its visionaries from day one. As the construction and interior finishing is coming to an end, we’re able to go back and see the home in the near final stages of completion, primed and ready for its new owners to move in, unpack, and settle into their brand new surroundings.

Situated just south of the Trans Canada Highway, this house is no wall flower: stately, and large in scale, the home is a definite head turner. The overall soaring height of the garage doors and transom windows, coupled with the tall windows of the rest of the house help to create a sense of grandeur and presence as you approach the property. The combination of richly coloured stucco, crisp white trim, and charcoal stone give the house a striking exterior facade. And from the interior, the same sense of spaciousness and quality flows through the entire house. A palette of warm and soft charcoals, grays, and earthy neutrals was chosen to give the home a relaxed modern edge, while maintaining a certain level of comfort and ease.

One of the first of many features to catch your eye are the sheer amount of windows throughout the entire house. Gorgeous sunlight pools into the open concept kitchen and living area, and continues to filter on into the lower level, giving the basement its own spacious and airy atmosphere.

With the vast amount of sunlight and UV rays filtering through, the need for functional – yet statement making – window coverings was recognized early on in the build.

Enter Gord and Sue Swarbrick, from Budget Blinds – the husband and wife team who came up with the unique window covering solutions for the house. Accustomed to working with Keller on several other properties, the Swarbricks have a bit of a history with Keller themselves. “We met Evan two years ago when we rented property from him, and we have been supplying window coverings for his rentals and referrals ever since then”, explains Sue. “We approached Evan about the idea of showcasing motorization”, Swarbrick continues, referring to the hardwired Illusions Transitional Shades found throughout the home. With the touch of a button, the shades can be operated from any position in the room. “The benefits include ease of use, child safety, energy efficiency, security and they’re definitely a trend towards the future of the window covering industry”.

One might assume selecting a motorized option would put them right up out of their price range, however, Swarbrick outlines the positives when committing to a motorized product like the Illusions shade. “They are more expensive, as you are adding options to the base product. It’s like adding bells and whistles to a car. However, motorization is a great option for many types of clients. We tend to focus on the situation and functionality of the shade, and this is a smart option for the hard to reach or high windows, large windows that are difficult to raise, multiple windows that are operated daily as well as for those clients that are simply looking for a WOW factor”.

As someone who has remained loyal to his trades and companies on each new build, Keller also called upon another familiar husband and wife team to design all of the cabinetry and millwork throughout the home. Graham and Jacquie Watson, of Kitchen Gallery on 9th, were first approached by Keller in early 2012 for one of his former projects. “Evan was very interested in the line of custom cabinetry that we supply and that we also provided personal consultations to assist his clients with colour selections, designs for cabinetry, countertops and handles”, Jacquie explains.

She is swift to note that the process of building a new home can be somewhat intimidating and can easily become overwhelming for some where decision-making is concerned. “For anyone who has undertaken a new build or renovation, our top priority is to establish a functional, yet appealing design for the kitchen, bathrooms, and entertainment or bar areas. Once our client is comfortable with the design, the next step is to begin the process of identifying what colors and materials appeal to our client”.

Finished in a sleek ebony stain, the maple Decor cabinetry in the kitchen is highlighted with a quartz countertop from Cambria in a mix of soft cream, silver gray, and hints of charcoal. The glass and stone mosaic backsplash was chosen to bring out the tones in the quartz, while still acting as a standalone feature throughout the space. Selecting the finishes and materials is part of the fun Jacquie insists, “some consultations may take as little as three get-togethers, or they can extend into a few weeks of meetings”. But rest assured, all of the fine little details and elements that go into creating a beautiful and functional custom design is facilitated by the Watsons and their team of kitchen designers at the showroom. “Most people have a general idea of what they like or don’t like, and we do a little investigative digging by showing a few colour ideas to get the juices flowing. We want to ensure everyone that walks through our door knows this process will take a few visits to make certain they aren’t rushed, and that they know we don’t practice high pressure sales. This is an investment and we want everyone that invests in new kitchen or bathroom cabinetry to always have that “Aha” moment every time they walk into that room”.

And with just a few finishing touches remaining, Keller is incredibly pleased with the how the project has turned out. “I’m very happy with the overall build… The high end finishes and extra attention to detail really top off the spacious design, and I think there are elements for all members of the family in this house”. From the deep set soaker tub and walk-in shower in the ensuite, to the whole house sound system, to the truly spacious garage – the features included in the house really cater to a wide variety of interests and check lists.

Already working on future projects and developments, Keller is quick to give credit once again to his supportive team of trades and professionals. “The way all of the contributions come collectively from Kitchen Gallery, and Budget Blinds really ties everything together. Each element from these various companies helps to compliment the overall end result; it’s completely a team effort, and we are very fortunate to have great trades and the best group of staff a company could ask for”.