Renovation & Design

Soaring views from bodacious balconies

Headingley home in progress a towering castle

Laurie Mustard / Winnipeg Free Press

The pair of future balconies incorporated into this new home build in Headingley promise to be a perfect perch to view the setting sun.

This isn’t a home, it’s a castle.

The first thing that caught my eye about this magnificent home being built by Pattyn Ventures in Taylor Farm in Headingley, is that it features both main floor and second floor balconies. Combine that with a walkout basement patio and you’ve got three levels to enjoy the great outdoors from.

Excellent. But it’s that second floor balcony that I’m most pumped about, as I’m of the humble opinion we do not use height advantageously enough in our little houses here on the Manitoba prairie.

It hasn’t always been that way. Homes built around here in the 1800s and early 1900s very often featured a second, or sometimes even a third storey with a porch to enjoy life from.

Some were simply screened in, others had windows all around, screened on the lower half, so the porch could be used as a bedroom, or whatever, for three glorious seasons each year.

I know, because as a kid, and teenager, the porch above the kitchen of our 192 Library Place home in North Kildonan was my bedroom for many years. With all the windows open, the soft breeze blowing through the leaves of the big maple tree surrounding about half of the windows area — it was just a fabulous place to drift off to sleep.

And whether a front main floor verandah, or upper floors porch, both provided excellent outdoor access, without being eaten alive by mosquitoes.

I doubt there’ll be any screens involved with the home we’re featuring today, there are lots of other ways to keep mosquitoes away now.

Personally, I’d like to have a designer three-season screen room built on the roof of my garage. What a great escape to watch the sunset from, and for enjoying a fresh air nap. There’s no view from a ground level gazebo. Let’s get up where we belong, binoculars in hand, spying on the neighbours.

We’re just so grounded here on the Prairies. So indoors. Balconies, porches, verandas — they keep us so much more in touch with nature. We need a lot more of them in the homes being built these days. Get on it will ya! Thank you.

Now the reason I call this home a castle, is because it’s built to withstand much more than your average dwelling.

According to builder Steph Pattyn, president of Pattyn Ventures, "the exterior walls, from the foundation to the rafters is constructed of ICF (insulated concrete forms) provided by AMC Foam Technologies in Headingley, specifically the Logix ICF brand. This makes for an extremely strong structural build, able to withstand any natural elements (ICF houses survive hurricanes, floods, forest fires and tornadoes) while providing an R-value unmatched with a conventionally built home. It is becoming more common to take ICF above grade for all those benefits."

There’ll be no breaching these walls to steal your precious toilet paper. This house is a fort.

Pattyn also shared some other interesting facts about this unique home.

"It is built on steel driven helical piles, provided and installed by Postech Screw Piles, and has hydronic heat in the concrete floors, supplemented by the high-efficiency furnace and AC units. The basement and main floor are roughly 1,900 square feet while the second floor has bedrooms over the garage to account for roughly 2,600 square feet. The garage accommodates three vehicles and is approximately 1,600 square feet."

Wow, I’ve lived in houses smaller than that. A lot smaller.

As if this super insulated house isn’t already cosy enough, it has even more protection to counter those frigid prevailing north winds. "That’s where the centerpiece of the main floor comes in," says Pattyn, "a large and wonderfully warm fireplace."

We’ll have to revisit this build when they get to installing the circular oak staircase. Now that will be something to see.

Take care folks, be well.

Comments and feedback are always welcome!


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