LOCATED IN A TINY NICHE in Bridgwater Trails, the Hilton Homes show home at 355 Willow Creek Rd. has a lot in common with its neighbours —but it’s the uncommon elements that set this house apart.
Where guests expect to see hardwood flooring, or a mix of wood and tile, the two-storey home’s main floor is outfitted with large-format premium ceramic slabs. Durable two-foot by four-foot tiles shine wall-to-wall in light grey tones that resemble glistening concrete.
"It worked really well with the colour scheme we had in mind. It’s totally unique but at the same time accessible to people," says builder Spencer Curtis, whose father Frank Curtis founded Hilton Homes in 1985.
There’s more large-format tile on the floor-to-ceiling great-room fireplace surround, in anything-but-basic black. Veins give it the look of natural stone — a fitting frame for the extra-wide electric fireplace at its base. With open "flames" made up of mist and lights, it doesn’t need a screen or glass enclosure because the faux fire never gets hot.
"I’ve never seen anything so realistic. In some ways it’s even more dramatic," says Curtis.
The most striking element spans both stories of the home. While glass inserts for staircases have become almost standard in high-end homes, Curtis went out on a limb with a bold oak-and-steel custom floating staircase.
"That’s definitely the most exciting thing for me," he says.
The showpiece is the first thing visitors see in the spacious front foyer, and the black steel railings are repeated in a big way as a visually stunning divider between the great room and the home’s lower level.
Faux beams on the great room’s ceiling are basically a case of gilding the lily, but that’s in keeping with the initial plan for the house.
"This show home in particular, we knew it was probably the last we were going to build in the Bridgwater development. We decided we were going to pull out all the stops on this one," Curtis says.
At 2,142-square-feet, with four bedrooms, there’s plenty of space for family life and entertaining. The kitchen is equipped with black stainless-steel appliances, quartz countertops and thermofoil cabinetry with under-cabinet lighting. A spacious walk-through pantry leads to the mudroom / main-floor laundry room and over-sized double garage. And while the island overlooks the great room, there’s a defined nook that provides a nice bit of separation for a dining area.
The principal bedroom has a walk-in closet and its unique en suite has a huge custom-tiled walk-in shower with a bench. And there’s a family bathroom separating the principal suite and three bedrooms at the front of the house.
Curtis says the COVID-19 pandemic put the company’s 35th anniversary celebrations on hold. But it’s still a time of reflection on how much things have changed — and how much they’ve stayed the same.
"One thing that hasn’t changed — our houses have always been built for people to live in. It used to be incredibly simple — it was a 700, 800, 1,000-square-foot box that we could start and finish in under a month," he says.
"We offered people a choice of two cabinet colours and they all got white. Now we send them to see our interior-design consultant. They pick and choose from hundreds of standard features.
They ask us for quotes on hundreds more features that they want to have in their home to customize that space for themselves. But at the end of the day, it’s still about taking the time to design plans that we think are going to work for people to actually live in, and then what do we do to dress them up in different ways."
Not everyone is going to want to invest in a steel staircase feature or a sea of ceramic tile, but home buyers can always take a show home plan and adapt individual elements to suit their personal tastes and needs, he adds.
"They’re still going to have this amazing home that they’re going to want to live in and that they’re going to love."
Photos courtesy of Hilton Homes