June 26, 2022

The Fourthny

Art is beauty

Building Art: Recreating Edmonton homes with design-inspired infills

5 min read


“We set a goal about eight years ago to really re-imagine what infill in Edmonton could and should look like,” says Monica Affleck of Alair Homes.

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It was a clean sweep.

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When it came to announcing greater Edmonton’s best infill builder, just one name came up: Alair Homes. The custom home building company, also a key player in the renovation sector, took all three infill awards at the Canadian Home Builders’ Association-Edmonton Region 2022 Awards of Excellence in Housing gala held earlier this year.

Alair’s Westmount Prairie Modern won for Best Infill under 2,000 square feet, its California Contemporary took the Best Infill 2,000-4,000 square feet and its Panoramic River Valley Modern — Best Infill over 4,000 square feet — kept Alair’s eyes on the prize.

“We set a goal about eight years ago to really re-imagine what infill in Edmonton could and should look like,” said Monica Affleck, partner, Alair Edmonton. “At the time, there was not of lot of information on it, and people had a hard time understanding what it was, or how they could create an infill home. We set out to educate on the opportunity, and today we are one of the biggest custom infill builders in the area. To receive the first ever infill award given a couple years ago by the CHBA to having all categories named to the team at Alair shows us that much has changed in a short amount of time, and we will see more artisanal and design-inspired infill homes.”

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While Alair is proud of all three infill winners, it said the California Contemporary and the Panoramic River Valley Modern are two standouts.

“Both were designed to really encapsulate the view of the location in which they were built, which is right on the river valley,” said Affleck. “To capitalize on the one-of-a-kind view, the design included views from every room. Each home also has a rooftop patio to provide 270-degree views of the river valley and city centre. They were designed with lifestyle in mind to have exercise, entertainment, outdoor living spaces and more all right in the home.”

Both homes are in Laurier Heights, a mature neighbourhood overlooking the river valley and an area Affleck said is one of the most sought-after locations for people to looking at a larger footprint for a luxury infill home.

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Infill Interest

An infill property, said Alair, is all about getting a brand new home customized to an owner’s function, size and space preferences but in a mature location with access to all the amenities, including transit and schools.

In addition to Laurier Heights, other communities that are popular for infill homes include Parkview, Westmount and many mature inner-city neighbourhoods, said Alair.

“Most people think of a subdivided lot with two smaller footprint homes when they think of infill, but we are actually seeing many people requesting one home being torn down to be replaced by one new, but larger home,” said Affleck. “Or we are seeing developments starting to support the City of Edmonton’s mandate of increasing urban density with multi-family homes. But, there is so much variety going on right now that there is something for everyone and an option for many people depending on their budget — from starter home to complete luxury.”

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Affleck also said she’s seeing designers working with clients to be really intentional about how the home fits into the community. People are mindful of how their home can be something they love while also being something unique in the community, she noted.

“We started the Building Art concept (a custom home being a unique piece of art created from the homeowner’s imagination) several years ago because the homes being designed and constructed can truly be looked upon as a work of art,” said Affleck. “These are the homes we are especially proud to help build, and we are seeing inspired and intentional design coming from places like California or other parts of the world, and it’s being brought here to Edmonton.”

Pandemic Shift

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Business is busy for Alair Homes, which got its Edmonton start 10 years ago.

“Even though it feels like the world paused the last two years, we welcomed having two of our busiest years in the
last 10 years Alair has been part of the construction community in the greater Edmonton area,” said Affleck.

“We have really increased the volume of infill homes we have been part of with a number of investors looking to develop some mature communities,” added Affleck. “As we know, the pandemic really shifted things for people. They started to be much more mindful of how they want to live in their homes. Home offices, home gyms, indoor/outdoor living — people want all the regular amenities they had outside of their homes, but instead inside their homes.

Alair won three other awards at the April 2 CHBA-ER event: Best Renovation $150,000 to $300,000, the $300,000 to $600,000 range, and the $600,000 to $1 million level.

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