A love storey

Designing a new home is a tricky proposition.

On the one hand, builders want to come up with a design that's striking and memorable. At the same time, however, that design must be practical, which is to say it must be user-friendly in every aspect. Artista Homes has achieved that -- and more -- with its 2,872 sq. ft., two-storey show home at 124 Lake Bend Rd. in Bridgwater Lakes, said Artista's sales representative for the home, Phil Amero of Royal LePage Alliance.

"With this home, Artista's design team was after an open, airy feel, yet they also wanted decent division between spaces," he said. "While this home has plenty of wow factor, it's above all a home that functions well."

He added that functionality was attained in an imaginative way.

"This home is actually a multi-level two-storey design. To add interest on the main floor, the family room was sunken down a couple of steps, while the sunroom was set up a couple of steps from the main level. The change in levels isn't dramatic, but it creates distinct spaces that are still easy to access."

In fact, the layout of the home's main living area is ingenious. The kitchen and dining area were placed in the centre, with the sunroom off the the left, and the family room down to the right. At the same time, those spaces are surrounded by all kinds of glass -- and a wonderful mix of modern and rustic materials.

The result is a home that's an antidote to boredom on every level. Most importantly, function hasn't been sacrificed in the pursuit of pizazz.

Case in point is the kitchen/sunroom area, which is both functional and dramatic.

In the kitchen, the function comes from the extra-wide aisles that surround a 9.5-foot by 4-foot (dark grey) quartz island that seats three to four. That function is enhanced further by a huge six-door pantry, plenty of counter space, an easy-to-maintain (taupe) porcelain tile floor and stylish stainless-bordered pull-up Euro cabinets over the under-mounted double sink.

There's just as much function in the dining area, added Amero.

"As it is right now, there's a table for six in it, but you it could easily hold a table for 10 to 12. It's a generous area with all kinds of room to move, and there's also a huge picture window behind it that gives you a great view of the wetlands that run behind the home. It also shares a cool design feature with the sunroom, too."

That feature is a soaring ceiling that -- thanks to banks of windows set up high on the rear walls -- allows for an extra injection of natural light. Then, there's the sunroom itself, defined not only by being set (approximately) a foot higher than the main floor, but also by warm, wide-plank hickory hardwoods.

And a true sunroom it is, surrounded by no fewer than eight windows.

"It's just a fabulous space," said Amero. "There's plenty of room to sit and relax or visit, and the view is incredible."

Across the way is the sunken family room, a space that exemplifies the home's modern-rustic theme.

"It really is a great mix of modern and rustic design themes with its dark-stained fir trim and beams at its entrance, a cultured stone feature wall, engineered hickory floors and (ribbon-style) gas fireplace set in a rolled steel surround," he said. "There's also a black (routered) wood wall with built-in aquarium that divides the living room from a space at the front that can be either a den or formal dining room depending on your needs."

Head upstairs via an open-riser, espresso maple staircase, and you encounter a bright, well-laid-out second level. To the right of the stairs -- they're bordered by stainless steel railing with tempered glass inserts -- is a games/media area. A wing to the rear contains a bedroom, sitting area (with patio door to a balcony) and second floor laundry room.

To the left of the stairs is a wing that houses the main bath, another bedroom -- and the home's star attraction, an imaginatively-designed master suite the size of a small apartment.

"It's a luxurious yet practical space," said Amero. "It has patio door that lead to its own private balcony, room for a sitting/reading area, (heated) taupe tile floor (in both the bedroom and ensuite), and a dark cultured stone wall behind the bed. The bedroom is a warm, relaxing space."

The ensuite -- found behind a two-third faux-finished wall with four-foot-wide entrance -- is, not surprisingly, spa-like in its design.

"There's a stand-alone soaker, tempered glass/tile shower with (square) rain shower head, hand-held wand and three body sprays and dual sinks either side of a white maple/quartz centre vanity," he said. "There's a TV built into the mirror."

A 2,000-plus sq. ft. walk-out lower level then awaits downstairs, featuring an exercise area, games area and media area -- all with wetland views. A compact wing to the rear houses a fourth bedroom and three-piece bath, and then, off to the right is a man cave where NFL fans will be in their glory.

"We had the mannequins custom made, and even sourced the uniforms from NFL teams," said Amero. "It's a feature that people really talk about. Like the home, it's cool, yet practical. I think its design pushes the envelope, yet it's also very functional."