Despite being on my first home tour in a long time, stepping into this Sayward Hill condo feels like slipping on a favourite pair of shoes.
I take in the compass rose laid out in the bricked pathway outside and the oversize nature photos in the tidy lobby. I make a note of the territorial hummingbird that buzzes past and the light feel of ocean in the wind. And when Ingrid, the homeowner, meets me at the front door to lead me down to her unit, I’m thrilled that she’s as warm and lovely as I’d expected by her emails.
We walk into the condo, past a home office and a den with a spectacular ‘70s-era couch, both lulling me into a “condo” mentality, and then, I stop in my socked feet, utterly surprised.
The kitchen, beautifully balanced with white and oak cabinetry and stainless steel appliances, is large and open enough to accommodate a tightly turned Viennese waltz, if the dancers are sure-footed.
The unit is just over 2,000 square feet, she tells me, a perfect middle ground between downsizing from house living and not sacrificing space and storage for something easier to manage.
But this kitchen. Oh, this kitchen. It’s bright and airy, with oodles of natural light. The quartz countertops are smooth while still adding texture, and the marble honeycomb tile lining the wall beneath the cupboards is warm with gorgeous colour variations. It all comes together in a very chateau feel, and it’s just wonderful.
For Ingrid’s “foodie” daughter and son-in-law, there’s a six-burner gas range and double wall oven, as well as the double-door fridge and walk-in pantry. There’s also an extra built-in beverage centre with a bar fridge and a built-in coffee machine, an upgrade that Ingrid and her husband took immediate advantage of.
“We’re coffee snobs!” she admits with a laugh. “Waking up to the sunrise and turning on the coffee machine — it’s my favourite thing!”
On the other side of the counter sits a fantastic dining table with black accents and clawed feet in the open dining area, ready to expand in the event of company, and the living room sets up a surprisingly expansive view of Cordova Bay, given that the development borders the thick trees of Sayward Hill Park.
The master bedroom comfortably fits a king bed and dresser and comes with its own larger-than-life view, where Mount Baker is currently peeking up above a thin line of clouds. Ingrid disappears behind me as I take in the view, and after a moment I follow, thinking we’ll have a quick look at the closet and pocket en suite before returning to the tour.
What I’m not expecting is to come around the corner into a long, luxurious master en suite complete with double sinks, beautiful soaker tub, roomy glassed-in shower, heated tile floors and so much cupboard and drawer space I think I actually go a little green with envy.
“There’s so much storage. I haven’t even filled up all the space yet,” she says, opening a few of the cupboard doors.
Just on the other side of the bathroom door is a walk-in closet that could rival most of the other Hot Properties closets I’ve seen over the years. I’m so surprised by the size that I don’t notice it’s also a walk-through until Ingrid points out the laundry room at the other end.
“It’s a really efficient design,” she says, and adds that the connection from the walk-in closet to the laundry room was an element that was brought in after talking to residents of other buildings in the development.
The entire Sayward Hill project spanned almost 20 years, Ingrid tells me, with the first development finished in 2001. Amazingly, the entire development team stayed consistent from the first ground breaking to the completion of the last condo building. The same builders, the same architects, the same plumbing contractors, the same designer, everyone stayed involved, making for an almost unheard-of level of synergy throughout the build.
And not only that, but after each phase was complete, the team made a dedicated effort to get feedback from the people actually living in the spaces, and then sat down and round-tabled ideas to implement in the next stages.
“We would all sit together, including the architects, and we would design the light switches,” says Ingrid, smiling. It allowed for a natural evolution of the project, and a number of details that make this particular condo stand out.
As well as the double access to the laundry room, the guest bedroom is situated on the opposite side of the condo to add a sense of privacy for visitors, and there’s a pocket door that can close off the bedroom and bathroom for added separation. A barn door can separate the small home office tucked between the den and the kitchen. And one of my favourite features is at the front entrance: the hallway wall curves gently wide and away the further you come in, leading you into the rest of the house and creating an immediate and welcoming sense of space. The design is subtle and natural enough that I didn’t actually notice it at first, which makes sense the more time I spend here.
Compared to some of the houses featured in Boulevard, Ingrid’s condo is relatively compact, but it never feels cramped, or that anything was sacrificed in the name of efficiency. More than that, the design as a whole feels effortless. I’m instantly so comfortable, so at home, that I have to remember to look for the details.
“Kimberly has an elegance about her,” says Ingrid, quick to praise interior designer Kimberly Williams, also involved with the project since day one. “Her design is timeless.”
“All the projects on Sayward Hill were definitely designed with longevity in mind,” says Kimberly. “Durability and flexibility are extremely important in executing good design. We try to stay true to classic elements, which equates to timeless designs. I am so very proud of this project!”
“This is a development that’s near and dear to my heart,” adds Ingrid.
Having worked selling the units for the past 20 years, she’s seen their evolution and their unmatched quality.
“It felt like my second home. This is the last piece of the puzzle, and it feels right to be here now. This feels like the pinnacle of Sayward.”
Architect/Design: de Hoog & Kierulf Architects
Interior Design: Kimberly Williams Interiors
Construction & Interior Finishing: Campbell Construction
Interior Drywall: Gordon ‘N’ Gordon Interiors
Painting: Tri City Finishing
Cabinetry and Millwork: Campbell Construction
Flooring: Island Floor Centre
Closet Systems: Incredible Closets
Tiling: Island Floor Centre