Esse Garden Homes – UBC

Sunday, May 29th, 2005

COVER: Sweep down that staircase in your ballgown

Jeani Read

What can you do with 1,200 square feet? Esse Garden Homes, a new 32-unit condo development at University of B.C., has a two-bedroom display unit that shows what a few well-chosen design tricks plus a dedication to deluxe finishing can do to enlarge and enhance a relatively modest space. PHOTO BY WAYNE LEIDENFROST — THE PROVINCE

CREDIT: Wayne Leidenfrost, The Province A sense of graciousness and luxury carries through with details that are class, not crass

CREDIT: Wayne Leidenfrost, The Province Stainless appliances, warm brown granite are standard in the kitchen, while extra high ceilings throughout give a real sense of space.

CREDIT: Wayne Leidenfrost, The Province All the hardware, from cabinet pulls to faucets, is gorgeous while hardwood, tile and carpet are luxe and smartly chosen.

It’s all smoke and mirrors at Esse out at UBC, where some really smart space wizards have been at work.

Not only have they maximized the existing room (everyone takes a shot at that) but they’ve made some genius design moves that actually fool you into feeling these homes are larger than they are, using every trick in the book and a few new ones.

Strangely, we had to agree for once with the sales staff on this one: it’s definitely hard to believe that the display home is only 1,212 square feet. Amazing what nine-foot ceilings, overheight eight-foot doors and windows everywhere and frosted light walls in the places left (including on the upstairs deck level) can do for your sense of graciousness and luxury.

Then there are — and this is real cunning — the four-foot wide stairways. These transform an ordinary entry stair (from front door to living room) from a slightly claustrophic climb into a pleasant ascent without the visitor really noticing what is going on at first. Why does it feel so nice coming in here? And between the main and upstair bedroom floor, accentuated by open railings, the Cinderella effect is even better.

Heck, these places are not cheap so they may as well have a bit of the palace built in. Wear your ballgown, sweep down the stairway. Carry that breakfast tray up in style. You get it. Very ingenious, wasting a bit of space for a wider stair to create the illusion of so much more.

That said, the rest of the display home also shows off tons of attractive can’t-live-without-them features. All subtle and lowkey, they’re details that wow with class, not crass. In the main floor powder room, a beautiful deep vessel sink you just immediately want to take home; tasteful but not too trendy subway tile for the kitchen backsplash; gas range and designer one-and-a-half sink; stainless and warm brown granite standard; deck on the main floor, deck upstairs, with natural gas hookup for barbecues on the balcony; study space bright with natural light at the bottom of the stairs.

And when you get to the top floor — look out. First on the left is a smaller second bedroom outfitted with a daybed (so up-to-the-minute) with its own great little bathroom with an almost-round chubby-tubby-type soaker tub, a suite unto itself for guests or kids with deck beyond. And to the right, the master bedroom — nothing spectacular, at first, but wait. A decent-size walk-in cupboard, good. And beyond that, another excellent surprise: a superb master ensuite with glass-enclosed shower, rectangular undermount sink and a soaker tub that looks out through two windows at the building corner. Perfect? Pretty close.

All the hardware at Esse, from cabinet pulls to faucetry, is gorgeous, carpeting luxe, upgrade hardwood smart, tile in bath and kitchens discreet and understated — it’s a real delight, with a two-acre park planned right across the way.

When you factor in the huge charm of living on campus with its ever-increasing number of amenities, its culture and sports venues, gardens , beautiful aspect and views and sweet commute to town, it becomes pretty clear why these homes are being snapped up as quickly as they are. Only a few select spots remain.



WHAT: Esse is 23 condominiums at UBC

WHERE: 1863 Wesbrook Mall

DEVELOPED BY: Wesbrook Projects

SIZES: Two-bedroom-andstudy; three-bedroom-and-den; from 1,212 sq. ft. -1,629 sq. ft.

PRICES: $494,900 -$669,900

© The Vancouver Province 2005


Comments are closed.