Challenge on a Hillside

From the east this unique building presents six stories of stepped-back balconies and terraces. From the west it shows an open 12-floor facade of patios, solariums and balconies overlooking Oakville’s 16 Mile Creek. It is an excellent example of a large mass which does not dominate, but settles comfortably on a hillside location.

The longest hallways measure in excess of 70 yards in length and all hallways make several jogs so that each suite doorway has maximum privacy. The width of the hallways changes with some of the jogs. On all but the three top floors there are two spacious elevator lobbies.

Discontent Among the Women

In 1998 female residents and real estate salespeople started commenting on the dated look of the hallways which were carpeted in a small red check in 1986 when the building was opened. Within a year the Board of Directors was persuaded to allow the House Committee, which watched over the appearance of the building, to contact designers and begin the redecorating process.

Three design consultants were chosen from an original eight, and the committee visited nine sites which had been designed or upgraded by them. Paul Maggiacomo of Tanner Hill Associates was selected on the basis of his sensitivity to the individual requirements of each condominium project.

As mentioned at the beginning, The Granary presented an unusual challenge. Unknown to the committee Maggiacomo had been involved in some of the original design work in the building, making him prepared to preserve its unique appearance.

Lobbies with a Logo

A sheaf of wheat was designed for sales brochures at the time the building was opened. (The condominium is named for a 150 year old stone granary which has been preserved beside it.) This sheaf of wheat was transferred from a computer scan into a dramatic oval centerpiece which is featured like a logo in all the elevator lobbies. The committee (much to its members’ surprise) was able to agree on a colour scheme which grew from the beige-and-tan logo. The basic carpet has an over-all medium and dark green stylized pattern.

Because of the varying widths of the hallways, as well as the jogs described above, it was impractical to include a border. The final yardage was 2,300 but would have been 3,300 if a border had been used.

The unanimity of the committee worked against it when the design concept was shown to the owners. They had been promised three choices, but only one was presented. The only choice was whether the wallpaper, an over-all brush design, should be off-white or light tan. The clear choice was for the off-white and the design was well accepted.

Darkest Before the Dawn

The next step was to select a general contractor to handle all phases of stripping, preparation, wallpapering, painting and carpet installation. From three candidates Tri-Can Contract was chosen, and delivered the job on time and on budget. Some walls required extensive repairs when the original wallpaper was removed. This was handled with meticulous care, and at no extra cost.

Work started at the top of the building and proceeded rapidly, with one group of tradesmen following another with no downtime. The hallways descended into looking like a real disaster area, with carpeting cut back and walls skinned down. Within a very short time the wall paper, woodwork and lush new carpeting were completed. The 36-oz. carpeting was glued down to the floor to enhance wear and eliminate wrinkling.

The Bottom Line

The consulting designer was a key factor in coming within 7.5 % of the Board’s budget which had been established over two years previously. The building is now a local showplace and the average time for a suite to be on the market is less than a week.

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Last Updated by Steve Warner on July 13, 2003