As Alice Mateyko, president of Homes by Avi’s single-family division, made her fourth trip to the awards stage, one thing was abundantly clear — the company is versatile.
The veteran Calgary home builder spanned multiple segments, winning for a single-family home, a multi-family development, interior decorating, and the Design Excellence title.
Winners of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association 2018 National Awards for Housing Excellence — featuring trophies with stylized birds — were unveiled at a gala event during the association’s 75th national conference in Victoria, B.C., on March 24.
“Quite early on in the company’s history we brought our architectural and interior design talent in house,” says Charron Ungar, president of Avi Urban, Homes by Avi’s multi-family arm. “We realized that in order to keep pace with our own desire to be progressive, we needed to have our own teams committed and focused to being as progressive as we could be in the housing product Homes by Avi brought to market.
“Defining that line between being innovative and crossing into alienating that market is a fine one,” he adds. “Over the course of our history, we have become better at recognizing where we want to be and what the current desire of the market happens to be.
“That is because of the depth and strength of our team. Quite a few of us have been working together for close to 20 years. I think that shows a bit in the recognition we receive for the work we do.”
Homes by Avi’s Design Excellence award, and the Marketing Excellence award — which was earned by Stepper Homes, also of Calgary — are the top prizes of the competition. They’re based on how a company performs with wins and finalist placings in individual new home and marketing categories, respectively.
“The recognition associated with such a major industry award like Design Excellence is a huge acknowledgement of their hard work, and also the caliber that they are performing at,” Ungar says.
“On the national level, Canada’s home builders continue to be highly innovative and progressive in the housing products they bring to market. To be recognized as a leader in that category is such a great honour indeed.”
For individual honours in the new homes class, Homes by Avi’s single-family Hawthorne model in Carrington, and a development in inner-city Mission, were winners.
Its Carrington Hawthorne entry was tops in the New Home Award for Detached Home-Production, 2,201 to 2,500 square feet category.
This home is available for purchase in the communities of Carrington, Nolan Hill, Tuscany, Savanna, Belmont, Walden, King’s Heights in Airdrie, and Sunset Ridge in Cochrane.
“The Hawthorne is a very versatile model that has many different options, which therefore makes it a very appealing floor plan to many different buyers,” says Mateyko.
“The open-concept main floor is inviting yet grand,” she adds. “This model can be built with four bedrooms upstairs but the three-bedroom open to below version is by far the most popular and dramatic which showcases soaring 20-foot ceilings, an open staircase and large windows.”
Avi Urban’s Duke at Mission-Unit 113 entry picked up the trophy for Mid- to High-Rise Condominium or Apartment Units 1,000 sq. ft. and over.
“The design of Duke can be summed up as unique and complementing to its surroundings,” Ungar says. “In my opinion that’s what every building should be. At the national level the quality of the nominations sits as the best in the nation. To be selected as worthy of recognition from that elite group is really encouraging for our team.”
Also stepping into the spotlight was a show home familiar to many in Calgary — the Stampede Rotary Dream Home. The home with light-toned woods, greys, and black accents in a Scandinavian theme captured the marketing award for interior decorating.
“The beauty of building the dream home is that we get to be as progressive as we can, bringing together our best ideas both architecturally and stylistically,” says Ungar, crediting the builder’s merchandising team. “They put so much effort into decorating the home every year. It is such an amazing moment to be recognized by the industry for this award.”
For the marketing crown, Stepper group of companies president Dave Hooge says the recognition is a product of a lot of hard from his marketing team.
“It’s a focus on meeting our customers where they’re at and providing good information on our products,” says Hooge. “They not only get the word out there, but do their best to make it creative and interesting, and try to make our product stand out from the rest of our competitors — and that’s what they do.
“It was great for them to be recognized,” he adds. “All of these kinds of awards reflect the hard work that people put into their day-to-day jobs and it inspires and provokes them to do a good job and even raise the bar a little bit the next time. These awards are good for that.”
Stepper landed awards in two individual marketing categories, as well. It was honoured for Direct Promotion-Print, and Print Ad, with its Homeowner Appreciation Movie Event Invitation, and “This Isn’t Our First Rodeo” entries, respectively.
“It’s nice to be recognized for the emotion that we put into our ads,” says Emily Smith, Stepper’s marketing manager. “It’s not always price and house type that’s effective. Buying a home is an emotional process and sometimes emotional ads appeal and find a different way of getting at the heart of what people are looking for and dreaming of.”
One such example was its award-winning western-themed ad, a hat tip to both Stepper’s experience and Calgary’s rodeo roots.
“We loved that imagery of the little boy and the grown-up cowboy,” Smith says. “It’s also saying we aren’t new and we have been around for a long time for good reason. Tying that into our Stampede heritage here in Calgary was a fun way to do that.”
Carolina Oxtoby was also honoured at the CHBA national conference. The president and CEO of Heritage Pointe Properties — which is currently developing the community of Artesia — was named Member of the Year.
“Carolina is a business success story in her own right – president and CEO of a company that she’s been with for over 35 years,” said Eric DenOuden, outgoing CHBA president at the conference. “She has brought her expertise, commitment, and contagious spirit to our great association, and her active participation over many years has had significant and positive impact to the benefit of us all.
“A past president in Calgary, she was instrumental in helping form the new BILD Calgary, which has since been followed by a similar amalgamation at the provincial level,” he added. “At the national level, she has been a stalwart contributor in the Urban Council, and this year she will be stepping down from her role on the CHBA executive committee after being a critical part of its activities for the past five years.
“She was our national treasurer for two years and has since continually been nominated by national presidents as appointee, given the experience, energy and insights that she has brought to this important overseeing body for the association.”
Three other Calgary businesses also picked up birds from this year’s competition. Kon-strux Developments was a three-time winner in renovation categories, while Ashton Luxury Living and Lupi Luxury Homes picked up one award each.
“This is huge,” says Shannon Lenstra, president of Kon-strux. “It’s the team of us that have come together to make this all possible. The designers that worked with us on these projects were awesome, and we couldn’t have had better clients. It was the perfect storm for a hat trick.”
At these awards, Kon-strux’s cooking spaces sizzled. The renovation companies’ Chef’s Delight entry was honoured for Kitchen-Under $50,000, while its Shades of Seafoam Blue won for Kitchen $50,000-$100,000, and Linear Elegance won for Kitchen-Over $100,000.
Lenstra calls the Chef’s Delight entry a “very, classic elegant kitchen,” Shades of Seafood Blue as “country urban chic,” and Linear Elegance as modern, with a “clean, sleek style.”
Lupi Luxury Homes’ private resident entry captured award for Detached Home-Custom, 3,501 to 5,000 square feet, while Ashton Luxury Living won for the Rosemont in the Detached Home-Production, Under 1,700 square feet class.
“We’re still a family-run, small company, that really hasn’t applied for awards like this,” says Nick Lupi, president of Lupi Luxury Homes on the recognition on the national stage. “This gives us huge honour. It’s a huge team win. Being a finalist is probably all you need in a category like this — across the country — but taking the prize home certainly gives you a warm feeling, and great pride for the team, for sure.”
The home was 3,667 square feet plus a finished basement and built in Varsity Estates.
“A lot of detail went into that project,” says Lupi. “And the clients were unbelievable to deal with.”
Ashton won with a three-bedroom home that has a detached garage in the inner-city neighbourhood of Rosemont.
John Arcuri, project and operations manager, with Ashton Luxury Living, says this recognition is big for the company.
“We’re very excited … to be nominated with such a great group of talent, recognized across Canada, is a huge honour,” says Arcuri.
Source : http://calgaryherald.com/life/homes/new-homes/two-calgary-companies-bring-home-the-top-national-housing-industry-awards