Designing in today’s world where consumers have long lists of what they want in their modern home is the nature of the job for many architects. Overlay the demand of a municipal council that requires builders to abide by heritage guidelines and that job becomes even more challenging.
Gord Klassen, principal architect of Site Lines Architecture Inc., and his Fort Langley-based team faced that dual task in designing Lily Terrace, a 24-unit condominium complex inside the heritage boundaries of Fort Langley.
“We had a planner consultant that did a 43-page booklet that gave us a rationale for how to design,” said Klassen, describing the process of summarizing the history of the former Hudson’s Bay fur trading post and the colony of British Columbia’s first provisional capital.
“The intent (of council) was to “lock into” the historic period of Fort Langley as opposed to letting it change as time goes on.”
Fortunately, Klassen and his team had a range of design choices, which reflected the various styles of the village community that dates back to 1827.
“The term that comes up is diverse—from whole classic to Gothic revival, Edwardian to Early Modern and Arts and Crafts. We pick bits and pieces of everything, but mainly from Arts and Crafts and so far it has worked.
“We were able to get what the developer wanted and come up with something we are proud of.”
What emerged on paper is a three-storey building with single-level homes on three floors, and a pleasing street façade framed by pitched roofs that start on the second floor.
Developer Lanson Foster says Lily Terrace, whose three-quarter-acre site includes 17,000 sq. ft. of office and retail space, is unique in Fort Langley.
“Our goal was to design for a luxury boutique project with some commercial space. The single family units range from about 1,000 sq. ft. to 1,700 sq. ft, or one-bedroom-and-den to two-bedroom-and-den homes.”
Foster said the project should appeal to both the downsizer market and as well as professional families who are interested in the location as a lifestyle choice. “If you want to buy a condo in Fort Langley, there is no other product like this available.”
Foster, whose track record includes building single-family homes in the area, said the product reflects a higher than typical level of luxury: from wide-plank engineered hardwood flooring and high-end plumbing fixtures to premium appliances and well-appointed kitchen spaces, with fittings such as built-in spice racks and pull-out pantries. The homes also have nine-foot ceilings with top floor homes boasting vaulted ceilings.
Kitchen appliances include a 36-inch french-door refrigerator and a 46-bottle wine fridge, both by Sub Zero; a 36-inch Bertozzoni gas oven, six-burner cooktop and a speed oven, a Fisher & Paykel double dishwasher and a chimney-style fan unit.
In the master ensuite are floor-mounted faucets feeding into a free-standing tub, and a frameless glass shower enclosure with a curbless porcelain tile base with low profile drains. Double vanities feature quartzite countertops, undermount sinks and wall-mounted faucets and ample storage.
Homes are heated and cooled with Mitsubishi forced air ductless mechanical systems.
When she first considered Lily Terrace, project interior designer Sara Brown said, “I want my studio space within this building!”
“Fort Langley has always been one of my favourite communities. I have worked with Lanstone Homes on many single family custom homes within the Fort and also have some friends who live in the neighbourhood.”
She said the interior design needed to be modern enough to appeal to the current design trends, yet heritage enough to not feel out of place within the community.
“I immediately envisioned matte black finishes paired with polished marble and a wide-plank, heavily charactered natural-hardwood floor,” she said. “The modern farmhouse trend is everywhere right now, and I knew it would work beautifully in this building.”
Lily Terrace reflects the fact that finishes have evolved over the last few years from the “greys” of five years ago to light, natural wood tones paired with whites, and saddle brown leather and matte black with brushed gold accents, she said.
“With a blend of texture, warm finishes and the detail of superb craftsmanship, developments like Lily Terrace are able to achieve the look and feel of a custom home.”
The surrounding environment also reflects what buyers want: doctors’ and dentists’ offices nearby, lots of cafes and restaurants as well as banks and grocery stores, all within easy walking distance, said Foster.
Another desirable amenity is the Fort-to-Fort Trail, a 7.9-kilometre path that takes walkers and cyclists through pastoral farmland between the HBC’s original fur trading fort and the Fort Carin site.
On Lily Terrace’s rooftop are common amenities for the residents, including a 1,100-sq.-ft. seated lounge area with a gas BBQ fire pit, and a play area for children. There are two underground parking spaces for each suite, including some private garage space, liberally sized locker space, electric car stations and surface parking for visitors.