The Calgary Herald’s Josh Skapin explores one couple's decision to buy an Executive Paired Home in Mahogany from Section23. 

It’s been a while since Laurie McBain and Scott Alkenbrack last had their belongings in a moving truck, and with their recent purchase, the couple will get to settle in once again.

They spent the past 15 years in a 1,900-square-foot single-family home in Douglasdale. But it was time for something that required less maintenance, and with an eye on “long-term” preferences, fewer stairs, says McBain.

While the couple’s search for the right fit started a while ago, when they saw a release of executive paired homes in Mahogany, they didn’t wait.

“The day of their grand opening, we said, ‘we’re taking one,’ ” says McBain. “It was a no-brainer.”

The boutique collection of executive paired homes is one of the first projects under the Section23 Developments and Baywest Homes partnership. There will be 30 at build out — eight in a two-storey format and 22 bungalows.

Bungalows start from $507,000 and the two-storey floor plans start from $532,000. In both cases, this includes the house, lot, and GST.

To Alkenbrack and McBain, they struck an important balance. The couple didn’t want to lose having an outdoor space of their own, but it was important to find something that would take less of their time.

“We both have limited free time, so the lower the maintenance, the easier the living,” says McBain.

“It’s a smaller yard, but it’s a decent size, so we still have our entertaining space, the barbecue — you can still have that feel.”

This is something area sales manager Heidi Johnson commonly hears from potential homebuyers taking interest in the executive paired homes.

“They want as little maintenance as possible without having to pay condo fees,” says Johnson.

“It’s that lifestyle,” says McBain. “We don’t have to go home and mow the lawn, we can go home and paddleboard or walk around the lake.”

That’s where the location factors in. These homes are just down the street from luxury estate single-family homes, and about a two-minute walk to Mahogany Lake, the largest freshwater lake within Calgary limits.

Living in the same community as a lake has its advantages, but their proximity makes that time on the water even more convenient.

“To be across from it,” says McBain. “We’ll certainly go over and paddleboard at night and on the weekends and try to take advantage.”

Mahogany also features 107 hectares of open space, 30 hectares of naturalized wetlands and 22 kilometres of community pathways. There’s also a new commercial development anchored by a Sobeys grocery store.

The commercial area is “less than a 10-minute walk from where we’re located here,” says Johnson.

“So you don’t really have to use your vehicle if you don’t want to, and that’s been really appealing to a lot of our purchasers.”

The executive paired homes are offered in two floor plans in a two-storey format, and two bungalows. Each comes with a 21 foot by 21 foot detached double car garage.

In the two-storey segment, there’s the 1,773-square-foot Teak and the 1,829-square-foot Birch. Both have basement development as an option.

The bungalows, both currently displayed as show homes in the community, are the 1,005-square-foot Walnut, which has an optional developed lower level adding 779 square feet, and the 1,137-square-foot Elm, which has an optional developed lower level measuring 929 square feet.

Alkenbrack and McBain went the Walnut route.

“It felt great,” says McBain. “It felt like home.”

“It’s really well done,” she adds. “It’s an nice open-concept that makes it feel like it’s much bigger than it is. It has everything we need without being oversized.”

McBain adds, “and 10-foot ceilings, how can you go wrong?”

The main floor ceiling height on the bungalow plans is 10 feet. With the two-storey models, they’re nine feet on the main and eight feel on the upper floor.

“We have a really high-end included specification,” says Johnson, adding homebuyers “like that they don’t have a lot of extras that they have to add into the house.”

The specifications include, among others, knock-down textured ceilings, carpet with an eight-pound underlay, and kitchens with Whirlpool stainless steel appliances, choice of granite or quartz counters, and cabinets with soft-close hinges on doors. The two-storey homes have 46-inch tall cabinets, and in the bungalows they’re 36 inches, with a 12-inch stacked cabinet on top.

Then there’s the mechanics, with a Nest Learning Thermostat, active air recovery ventilator, 75-gallon electric hot water tank, and 96 per cent efficient two-stage furnace.

Both Alkenbrack and McBain are in the residential business. He works in new home flooring and she owns an interior design firm. So when they explored sales centres and show homes, the couple was well-versed on what to expect and what stood out.

“Section23 has done an amazing job on their specs,” McBain says. “I think the dollar value is outstanding.”

WHAT: The Executive Paired Homes.
BUILDER: This is one of the first projects under the Section23 Developments and Baywest Homes partnership.
DEVELOPER: Hopewell Residential.
AREA: Mahogany is a new community in southeast Calgary.
PRICES: These homes start in the low $500,000s, including the lot and tax. 
HOURS: The show homes are open 2 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays.