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All in the Family: Multi-generational living works with right design

Morrison Homes’ Cliffton plan offers spaces to spend time together or in solitude.

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Building a home “from scratch” was always on the radar for Bailey and Dawson Coffey.

The couple, who are born and raised Calgarians, had moved to another city for a work opportunity four years ago, but recently returned to Calgary to be close to family and to settle in for the long haul, while raising their young family. They have a two-year-old daughter, Riley and two dogs — a Great Dane, named Pyra, and Grim, a Great Dane and shepherd mix.

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Initially, they rented a home in McKenzie Lake while they searched for their forever home.

They’d already picked a builder — 16-time winner of the BILD-CR Builder of the Year title, Morrison Homes.

“They just have the best home designs and they are so easy to customize,” says Bailey, adding that they had been interested in building with Morrison Homes for some time, having being introduced to their designs by a friend who works with Morrison.

It took a while to hone in on a community, but they did know that they wanted to put down roots in Calgary’s south quadrant.

“We have always lived in the south and are familiar with the area and the communities, and we really like them,” says Bailey.

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They checked out several communities, but when they stepped into Wolf Willow, they just knew it was right. The easy access points (Dawson works downtown and Bailey works at Foothills Medical Centre) and the close proximity to nature and the river (Fish Creek Park is just steps from their new home) were all big draws. Plus, many amenities were already in place, including a day care for Riley.

When picking a home model, the couple had a long-list of must-haves. Most importantly, the home had to be spacious, with warm and cozy hang out areas where everyone could get together to eat and socialize. As Dawson’s parents would be living with them, it was also necessary for the home to have plentiful and well-thought-out private areas where each family member could retreat in solitude. They didn’t want to create a separate apartment in the lower level (Wolf Willow is zoned for this) as this multi-generational family enjoys sharing meals together and playing boards games, but they did want to create a private and comfortable lower-level living space for their parents.

After weighing all of the options, they chose the Cliffton, a three-bedroom, 2½-bathroom, two-storey front garage design with an unfinished basement.

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Area sales manager for Morrison Homes in Wolf Willow, Krista Warnes says what sets the Cliffton apart from the rest is its versatility, offering endless customizable possibilities.

“The Coffeys were able to switch up a few things to make the home really soar for their family dynamic,” says Warnes.

The couple finished the basement with their parents in mind, creating a large lower-level master bedroom with ensuite, a large sitting room and a workout studio.

On the main and upper levels, the focus was on flow, beauty and creating thoughtful spaces where the family could interact.

“My favourite place is the kitchen,” says Bailey, noting that the family loves to spend time together and to entertain. “We spend a lot of time there. Our daughter is two and she is at the age where she is a big helper. We have the leaf in the dining room table so we can seat eight at a moment’s notice.”

The couple upgraded the appliances in the kitchen with their daughter in mind — an induction stove top (which doesn’t get hot to the touch), and a four-door french door fridge and freezer. “That way we can convert one of the bottom freezers to Riley’s own fridge for her snacks and it is just at the perfect level for her to help herself.”

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But then she adds, “Really though, when I think about it, our favourite space is really the one that we are hanging out in at the time. All of the rooms are fabulous and we use them all.”

She does love the ensuite. The couple customized the entire space, eliminating the tub (“we’re not tub people”) and curating an oversized shower and bench utilizing natural stone and adding dimmable lighting. “I can turn it to the lowest setting and not be blinded when I am waking up for work or toning down for bed.” The ensuite re-design also allowed for an expansion of the walk-in closet — it’s now the size of a bedroom, eight feet by 10 feet — and the couple added a walk-through from the ensuite closet into the laundry.

Adding to the ease of flow for the family, the couple was able to customize the flex room adjacent to the kitchen with a partial enclosure and banks of full cabinetry custom-designed with greater depth to house a large collection of board games.

And, one of the pluses of the home’s design was ample wall space to display the couple’s art collection.

As for finishes and colours throughout the home, it was a collaboration of tastes.

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“Dawson and I don’t really agree on colours — he likes really dark and I like light, but we found a lot of middle ground in Morrison’s selection studio,” says Bailey. They paired dark cabinetry with lighter granite, flooring and paint colour, “so that the cabinets really hold their own and are very regal.”

Morrison’s design team provided plenty of support with direction and options.

“There was a lot of discussion around undertones and natural colours,” recalls Bailey. “Everything just pulls together — it’s a really nice blend of the dark colours that Dawson loves, while keeping the rooms really bright and light and open.”

The family moved in at the end of February, almost a year after signing the paperwork.

“We’re happy to be settled and know that Riley can grow up here, that this will be her childhood home, that we can age in place here and not have to worry about my parents. If they need a home, we have room and when Riley is grown and in college, she will have a separate adult space that she can make her own. Seeing it all play out, that’s been the best part,” says Bailey.

THE DETAILS

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HOME: The Cliffton, a 2,100-square-foot, three-bedroom, 2½-bathroom, two-storey front garage design with an over-sized island in the kitchen, a large upstairs bonus room and a main floor flex room.

BUILDER: Morrison Homes

COMMUNITY: Wolf Willow

DEVELOPER: West Creek Developments

PRICE: The Cliffton model starts at $719,700 including lot and GST and is available in the communities of Wolf Willow, Cornerstone and Livingston.

SHOW HOME: The show home is located at 111 Wolf Creek Rise S.E. It is open Mondays through Thursdays from 2 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. It is closed on Fridays.

INFORMATION: morrisonhomes.ca; lifeatwolfwillow.ca

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