Habitat Studio builds big dreams



A new home builder helps the family build their dream home on the footprint of their old home.

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They have grown up and they are going home.

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Built on the site of a home one of the owners grew up in, this new three-story, 4,637-square-foot home is an eye-catching modern offering with all the amenities and more: an underground gymnasium that also serves from a badminton or basketball court, there is a golf simulator with a wall of glass for views from the adjacent family room, an elevator and a tunnel.

On the more traditional side, you’ll find a spiced kitchen, two guest bedrooms, a home office and a master suite.

The old house, Cindy and Vic said – their surnames are not released for security reasons – was a small, older bungalow that had seen better days, its best feature now being its location. While Vic had long since left the house he grew up in, his parents stayed in this house in Strathearn until it was time to tear it down.

But even though Vic’s parents had to move due to construction, Cindy and Vic wanted them to be part of the future of the new home.

A spacious master suite on the ground floor includes a living room, master bedroom, bathroom and walk-in closet to one side of the house, while the open plan living, dining and kitchen areas comprise the rest of the main level, which includes an unobstructed view from the living room.

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The second floor, meanwhile, houses the masters’ retreat, bedrooms for their children, Cindy’s home office, and a family room. One floor up there is a loft space and access to the rooftop patio.

The lower level of the home accommodates the guest bedrooms, golf simulator, family space and practice area. This is also where you’ll find this so-called tunnel, which is actually more of a connecting area to reach the separate building housing the garage and gymnasium.

“We are absolutely thrilled to finally be moving in. We will definitely enjoy it – my parents too,” Vic said, adding that it will allow everyone to spend more time together. “This whole COVID thing was a bit difficult too; being separated and not being able to see each other as often.

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Five-year process

While it was May 2020 when the old bungalow fell, planning started earlier – in 2017.

“We thought we had an idea of ​​what it would look like,” Vic said. “We talked about needs and wants, and we went to show homes.”

They also had a lead on a builder, Habitat Studio – Cindy found she knew a number of people who had built with the company and said the reviews were positive.

Habitat was also chosen, Vic said, because of its experience building energy-efficient homes.

“We didn’t need to be net zero, but we definitely wanted to have a house that was very efficient, if possible, and sort of future-proofed in a way where we could be more environmentally friendly. . Habitat has a reputation for building energy-efficient homes,” Vic said.

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Although Cindy notes that home design expertise is not one of her or Vic’s strengths, they have provided Habitat with more than enough ideas to get the dream home that will be theirs. home forever.

“Initially, they wanted to build a house based on a modular steel system,” said Trevor Hoover, partner and lead designer at Habitat Studio. “We started down that road, but it wasn’t feasible with the land they had.”

Instead, they worked with the couple, asked lots of questions, and for Cindy and Vic’s design inspirations, and came up with a new plan. Habitat’s interior designers, Cindy said, helped guide the home to a successful finish.

Build the dream

To make the house work, Habitat found itself with an interesting challenge: limited land and big dreams.

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Even Cindy and Vic weren’t sure what they would get initially when they came up with their basketball wishlist request.

“In our heads, we thought it would be this little area where we could shoot (hoops),” Cindy said.

But Habitat had an idea. They could build an underground gymnasium that would be about as big as three-quarters of a traditional basketball court, and then they would place the house garage – a separate building – above it. This meant digging 23 feet into the backyard.

Digging, however, was not limited to the yard. The ground floor of the house is at street level, with no front steps. To
to do this, and to meet the overall height requirements of the building, Hoover notes that the ground floor was sunk into the ground.

“It was a different build, it was unique,” Hoover said. “It was fun to build. They are great clients and they gave us a lot of leeway to be creative as much as we could.

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