'Today's buyers are right-sizing, right-locating and right-provincing'

Award-winning Douglas Homes designs for liveability.

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For Jane Jang, purchasing a home built and designed by Douglas Homes was life changing.

She’d been living in an apartment in downtown Calgary, but the lifestyle was too hectic.

She wanted to be somewhere more peaceful, in a home with access to outdoor space, where she and her husband, Lewis Hong, could entertain family and friends.

 “Downtown life is just so crowded. Now, life is just so tranquil. I love the walking paths — we can walk around the community and from our bonus room we overlook a pond,” says Jang, who sees a lot of home designs — she’s a new home estimator for Douglas Homes, so she when she and her husband were looking to buy, the couple already had honed in on a community and home design — the Custom Kenya 3.

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The exterior of the Kenya 3 by Douglas Homes. Courtesy, Jamie Bezemer Photo by Jamie Bezemer /cal

“Douglas Homes has a lot of great floor plans, but this one really stood out for us,” says Jang, noting that the wide — shallow design, the open floor plan and the easy access to the rear deck really sold them, as did living in a community that wasn’t too high density, an easy commute to the city and affordable.

“Even though it isn’t a massive house, it looks really spacious because of the design,” she says, adding that the home really exhibits great flow from indoors to outside with a sliding door along the back of the home that extends to a deck. “We love spending time outdoors in the summer time.”

The kitchen with its oversized island that faces the backyard is another favourite, as is the flex room, which Hong has transformed into a home office.

The home’s design stood out at the 2023 Building Land and Development Awards, Calgary Region (announced in April), earning accolades as best new home in the $ 391,000 to $440,999 category.

At the awards for BILD-CR, Douglas Homes also earned recognition for its production homes, winning in the categories best new home up to 390,999 (Cascade 2) and best new home $441,000 to $440,999 for its Mount Rundle design.

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But the company’s really big win this year came in May at the  National Awards for Housing Excellence, presented by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, which took place in Saint John, N.B., where they were awarded the Design Excellence Award, a tribute that they shared with Jayman Built.

“We’re so proud of these awards,” says Doug Whitney, vice-president of sales for Douglas Homes. “It’s very humbling to have so much recognition from our peers.”

Founded 35 years ago by Douglas Musak, a civil engineer with a love of architecture, Douglas Homes has become a multi-award-winning builder with projects across Calgary and surrounding areas, including Cochrane, Airdrie and Chestermere (where Musak, who also has a carpenters’ ticket, built the very first Douglas Home). Recently, the company has branched out into land and community development with its sister company, Douglas Developments. Waterford in Chestermere, one of its first projects, spans 188 acres and stays true to Douglas Homes’ original vision.

“We really cater to people who are looking for living convenience,” says Whitney. In Waterford, Douglas Homes is building townhomes, front and laned semi-detached homes and single-family laned homes. The Custom Kenya 3 was a one-off custom-designed home.

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Douglas Homes’ key to success explains Whitney is really “a people-oriented thing, rather than a product-oriented one. We have great people and they are creating some amazing designs — homes that we all want to live in.”

That translates to all of the bells and whistles included in the home prices, from stone countertops to stainless steel appliances. Plus, almost every Douglas Home is already in production when a buyer purchases it, meaning for the most part, the lead time to occupancy is significantly decreased.

Whitney says that in today’s market affordability is key.

“The vast bulk of buyers in the marketplace today are just looking for an opportunity to buy. We’re going to continue to see people coming to Alberta, and I don’t foresee prices easing off anytime soon.”

With that in mind, the company is developing several townhome projects, a move that keeps price points “attainable.” In fact, Whitney, who recently downsized, lives in a brand-new Douglas Home townhome in Airdrie. He and his wife recently purchased the Glasgow model.

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“I honestly have to say it is my favourite model. It is just so liveable. The visual access from the kitchen preparation area to the nook, to the living room, everything is just intrinsic in the design. You can open the front door without someone seeing all the way through your house. It comes landscaped, fenced and with a garage. We’re just so pleased with it,” he says, his words echoing many of the thoughts expressed by Jane Jang about her new Douglas Home in Chestermere.

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It is also brainstorming some new ideas for single-family home designs that will bring the prices down, while creating some interesting architectural features, including rooftop decks.

The bottom line, says Whitney, is that today’s buyers are right-sizing, right-locating and right-provincing.

 “It is all about creating communities and homes that look good and feel good — homes that people want to live in,” says Whitney.

For Jang and her husband Hong, the magic formula is working.

“We love our home and the community of Waterford. We go for picnics by the water and spend the day just reading by the lake. It’s amazing. And, I just love when you are standing inside the house and everything looks really big and really spacious and it is just great for entertaining friends and family,” says Jang.

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