Inner-city modern duplex 'brings a little bit of Europe to Canada'

Boutique home builder wins Builder of the Year, Single Family, Small Volume for the second time.

Article content

A stunning duplex-style home in Marda Loop designed and built by Dream Ridge Homes recently won the title of Best New Home in the price category $591,000 to $640,999 at the Building Industry and Land Development Calgary Region Awards. Both a personal and a professional project — the home is owned by Dream Ridge Homes’ Luke Obodzinski and his wife, Lisa, a flight attendant for WestJet. The 2,500-square-foot home exudes a welcoming European vibe, with plenty of red brick and a unique arched portico crafted from stone. Inside, the home emulates an upscale Parisian flat, an esthetic that was very much top-of-mind for Lisa who often flies overseas to Paris.

“I really wanted it to feel like I’m in Europe, when I’m in Calgary,” says Lisa. “When I was in Paris last, I was like — ‘oh, we have that in our house and that and that,’ ” she says, laughing. “The inspiration was to bring a little bit of Europe to Canada.”

Article content

Lots of white marble in the kitchen, along with herringbone wood flooring, wall panelling and wainscotting weave together to create a sophisticated and welcoming space. But what really stands out on this four-storey home is the architectural feature staircase.

Advertisement 2

Article content

“We wanted it to have a sculptural, gallery-type feel and we wanted to do something different. We really had to lean on our trades and it was such a team effort — the framer, the drywaller. Since we were doing something so outside-of-the-box, everyone was so excited about it,” says Luke.

As with all of Dream Ridge’s projects, the team brought on an interior design firm suited to the home’s design direction, in this case Reena Sotropa from In House Design Group. The goal was to create a family-friendly environment — Luke and Lisa have two boys, Sam and Max, aged six and seven respectively, along with a golden retriever, named Kona, so life can get busy.

“My wife has a very big family and we do a lot of big family events, so part of the planning was looking at how we would fit 20 some people for dinner,” says Luke. He says that it really comes down to having that indoor-outdoor interaction with a lovely outdoor space with heaters and a fireplace. The other design element that the couple incorporated was an oversized island with seating on both sides.

“Everyone gravitates to the kitchen — that’s where the food is, that is where everyone is hanging out. So, we wanted to make sure that people weren’t standing the whole time and created seating around the circumference,” says Luke, who enjoys cooking.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

But this home — it’s called the Modern Parisian 28 — wasn’t the only winner at the BILDCR Awards. Dream Ridge Homes also picked up three finalist nods for Best New Home in three additional categories and was named Builder of the Year, Single Family, Small Volume. This is the second time the boutique homebuilder has picked up the title; having won it previously in 2020.

Luke and his brother Tom joined the family business in 2003, after working in careers outside of the homebuilding industry — Tom as a restaurant manager and Luke in business.

They both have taken on mainstay roles within the company, assisting their father, Mark, the company’s founder, who is now approaching his 70th birthday, and who is still very much involved. Mark, who was trained in the homebuilding industry, came to Canada from Poland in the late 1980s to give his family a better life. He started out as a framer and then with his boys started the luxury home building company Dream Ridge Homes in 2003 with one spec home in the community of Aspen Estates. Since then, the homebuilder has expanded into custom-designed homes for clients in Calgary’s inner-city communities, while still occasionally creating a spec home or two.

Advertisement 4

Article content

“We’ve found that there are two types of new home buyers — some people want a beautiful new home where they can just walk in and hang their hat and park their car, and others will want to build one from scratch and are up for the journey of creating their own space. There is not a lot of crossover,” says Luke, noting that Dream Ridge fills the demand for both types of buyers.

When asked what their titles are, Luke and Tom’s unified response is, “We don’t have titles. We are brothers; we are partners.”

From the time they could pick up a hammer, both Luke and Tom knew that they had an inherent passion for construction and home building.

“Our training happened when we would get grounded and be sent to work with dad on a Saturday,” says Luke with a laugh. “Sometimes it was in -20. Our parents thought that they were punishing us, but we ended up loving it and look at us now,” says Tom.

The brothers say that their multiple wins at the BILDCR Awards have given them time for pause and reflection.

“Calgary is such a hustle and bustle city; we are all going 100 miles an hour in our careers. We get so excited doing one project and then the next. It’s hard to tap the brakes. But we are so lucky and fortunate in what we do. We’re in such a creative industry and we get to make a difference in how people live their lives. We’ve had clients says to us that their quality of life is so much better. That means everything,” says Luke.

Advertisement 5

Article content

“It’s just really special because for the awards we are rated by our industry peers. It means a lot. At the gala, our mom had tears to have her whole family there on stage. It made us realize: hey, we are doing some pretty cool stuff,” says Tom.

Tom says that vision for the company has been longstanding since Day 1, quality over quantity and wanting to remain a boutique builder.

“We only take on between eight and 10 new builds at one time. We want to give each project our all. We’re on-site, every day,” he says, noting that they have a waiting list of clients that spans almost 18 months.

They are also a big supporter of newcomers to Canada.  

“Our dad came to Canada from Poland to give us a better life, so we are here to support the new Canadians; we have a lot of them working on our teams,” says Tom.

Article content