Building dreams: much begins with asking how can this be done better

Building dreams: much begins with asking how can this be done better

Award-winning companies Kanvi Homes, Ridgeline Improvements and Urbis Infill Homes all began with the drive to create something special.

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A frustrated buyer, a young man used to swinging a hammer, and a family with local roots dating back more than a century.

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Peel back the layers among some of the winners from the recent Canadian Home Builders’ Association-Edmonton Region 2022 Awards of Excellence in Housing gala, and not only do you find interesting narratives but their success provides a glimpse into how parts of Edmonton’s residential construction sector have grown and evolved.

These three, Kanvi Homes, Ridgeline Improvements and Urbis Infill Homes, each walked away with an award at the April 2 event honouring the best of the best in the residential construction sector. These are their stories.

Kanvi Homes’ Aura won Best Single Family $850,000 to $1 Million.
Kanvi Homes’ Aura won Best Single Family $850,000 to $1 Million. Photo by Supplied /Postmedia

Modern Bent

Almost 16 years ago, in 2006, Kanvi Homes began its journey.

Struggling to find a design-build, modern custom home builder that had proven excellence under one roof for design-construction and client experience, Farhan Virani and Shafin Kanji created Kanvi Homes.

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“We are known for our signature contemporary style with clean sightlines and our oversized windows,” said Gloria Cooke, sales and marketing assistant for Kanvi. “We also strive to provide an outstanding customer experience, creating homes that are designed to fit your every need and converting your dream home vision to reality.”

As a single-family, estate and custom-home builder, Kanvi homes can be found in a number of newer southwest Edmonton communities. Kanvi also does infill in mature city neighbourhoods.

“The desire for custom and infill homes in Edmonton is growing, and we are becoming the builder of choice for many clients,” said Cooke.

Kanvi won for its Aura home for Best Single Family $850,000 to $1 Million.

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“We had a number of staff members in attendance of the gala this year, most of whom who have not attended CHBA-ER awards ceremonies in past years so it is needless to say the reaction to winning was filled with elation and excitement,” said Cooke.

The Aura’s exterior, staircase and kitchen are described as key highlights.

“The contemporary flat roof design, with varying ceiling heights, build-outs and extra detail work, in combination with using different stucco colours and stone features, created depth and visual interest,” said Cooke. “The breathtaking open riser floating staircase is constructed from three-inch oak treads mounted on a powder-coated steel centre stringer embedded with lights. Open to above with a stand-off glass railing system, the staircase can be admired inside and out by the adjacent wall of windows. The vast kitchen features a 13-foot kitchen island with a built-in lowered oak breakfast table. The contemporary smooth panel black cabinets are highlighted with wood accents and a back painted contrasting white backsplash.”

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The Aura is Kanvi’s current show home, located in Jagare Ridge. Its finished basement includes a wet bar with feature wine rack, a lounge and a theatre space with screen and projector.

The award-winning Grandview renovation offers a spacious covered deck with retractable mosquito screens.
The award-winning Grandview renovation offers a spacious covered deck with retractable mosquito screens. Photo by Jamen Rhodes /Postmedia

Destination Edmonton

Raised by a carpenter and working for his father’s renovation business in New Brunswick during the summers, Matt Weeks got accustomed to swinging a hammer.

But at 18, Weeks left the Maritimes and heeded that old expression of ‘go west, young man’.

He moved to Alberta and eventually settled in Edmonton. He began his career by framing houses, became a Red Seal journeyman carpenter and learnt from working for one of Canada’s top construction companies.

“I started Ridgeline in 2011 because I knew the there was a need and room for a residential general contractor that could do things better for the customers,” said Weeks, owner of Ridgeline Improvements, which is a design build general contractor focusing on full home renovations in Edmonton and Sherwood Park. “A lot of contractors do great work, but we really pride ourselves on being very honest and truthful with the clients. Communication throughout all aspects of the renovation process is key. Doing the little things (too) like making sure the site is clean, and making the clients always feel comfortable with having many different people working in their home.”

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Fast forward to 2022 and Ridgeline won for Best Exterior Renovation for its Grandview project.

“I was very surprised with the win since it was our first time entering a project,” said Weeks.

“When you have a client like this, you will always have an award-winning project,” said Weeks “She wanted to have a space that would extend the short summers we have here in Edmonton. So, it started with adding the covered patio in the backyard. Then after starting the design phase of planning, we decided the front of the house needed a little more depth and so we added a small roof to cover the front stairs.”

The new siding was James Hardie siding and a mixture of vertical, horizontal and Hardie Shingle on the gables and part of the back wall. “My favourite part was the motorized screens that will come down with the touch of one button on the remote to keep out the mosquitos when they come out in the evening,” added Weeks.

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Deep Roots

Dating back to 2010, Urbis Infill Homes is all about making the city a better place to live.

A family owned and operated Edmonton-based custom home designer and builder whose family has roots dating back more than 100 years, Urbis’s managing partner said they love the city, love being a part of Edmonton’s growth, and are intent on improving the city’s urban fabric one project at a time.

“Our founder, Rick Arndt, is an architect (retired, life member) with the Alberta Association of Architects and has practised in Edmonton for over 40 years,” said Mike Arndt. “Being an entrepreneurial family, Urbis was started back in 2010. Rick has also volunteered as the project director for, most notably, the Art Gallery of Alberta and more recently with the Pilgrims Hospice, now the Roozen Family Hospice Centre recently completed in Crestwood.

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“Based on our years of experience and strong design background we make each home unique to our clients’ needs so that they can live without compromise,” added Mike.

While Urbis has been nominated before, the 2022 Awards of Excellence edition was just a bit different.

“This is our first home that we have won an award for Urbis,” said Mike. “It was a great honour to receive this award.”

Urbis won for Ravine Drive, for Best Renovation Over $1 Million.

The project, said Mike, was a significant one, and all about keeping character elements while modernizing the home.

“We worked hard to maintain the integrity of the original home, keeping the original fireplace and vaulted wood ceilings but also updating them to the new design,” said Mike. “As well, we also added an addition to the rear of the home that created an open concept kitchen, dining and family room.”

Chris and Lisa, the clients, had a great vision in that they wanted to honour and pay homage to Chris’ grandfather who was in the Second World War, said Mike. “They named it Barney’s Tavern. The space has great connection to the backyard with an overhead door that opens displaying the tavern from the house and yard putting this masterpiece on display.”

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