Saturday, February 6, 2016

Factory-built houses in Sheffield Glen and Queenswood Heights

At work, we just listed a condo for sale in the Sheffield Glen neighbourhood (304-2650 Southvale) - and driving through the area I realized that I have never done a post on the factory-built houses from the early 1970s in Ottawa.

I am aware of two neighbourhoods built with these homes in Ottawa, but there may be more: Sheffield Glen (the area around Southvale Crescent) and Queenswood Heights in Orleans (there is a row of these houses along Tenth Line between Tomkins and Amiens, and they were built in the area behind).

I do not have much information on these factory-built houses (or even where the factory was) other than what is described in the marketing ephemera below. 

Both G.N.C. homes and Alcan Universal Homes (yep, Alcan used to build houses) had some identical plans that they built in Ottawa. Perhaps they were built in the same factory - just under different banners? Alcan also built in Georgetown, Ontario. If you know of anywhere else these homes were built in Ottawa or elsewhere in the country, let me know!

Notice how on most of the bungalow plans there is a thicker wall running down the centre of the house. They were most-likely built with a front and a back half - to be trucked to the site - and this mid-point would be where the two halves were joined on site.
The Capri design below appears the most obvious as a factory-built house. The bedroom section is quite narrow and looks as though it would easily fit on a truck to be transported to the site.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Charmed by Chalmers

There is one mid-century modern builder in Ottawa that has always intrigued me, yet I do not know much about the company. The builder is Chalmers and they constructed a number of striking and unusual houses in Ottawa during the 1950s to 1970s. I do not have any floor plans or marketing materials by the builder, but I wanted to share a bit of what I know about Chalmers. I would love to hear from anyone who knows more about the builder and/or has floor plans for the houses!

When I was a Realtor, I had a chance to visit a couple Chalmers-built houses. Inside, the designs usually centre on a very large living room, often with a vaulted exposed-beam ceiling. Large windows and prominent fireplaces are also characteristics of the designs. Even semi-detached designs built by Chalmers have striking interiors with these features. 

Outside, Chalmers-built houses often have various textures, especially wood, and sometimes have dramatic roof-lines. In some cases the exterior may have a rustic look, perhaps inspired by chalets in the European Alps. (Exterior images courtesy of Google Maps)

Typically, the houses can be found scattered throughout the Alta Vista and Faircrest Heights neighbourhoods. In particular, there are clusters in the area of Summit Avenue and Mountbatten Avenue, Crestview Road and Ronald Avenue, Hillary Avenue and Palen Avenue, and on Chattaway Avenue. There are also a handful in Urbandale (near Elmvale Acres), Arlington Woods, Glabar Park and on Shanegal Crescent in Windsor Park Village (Hunt Club). There is a pocket of large, sprawling Chalmers homes located next to the Billing’s Estate. This neat little area of houses also has a street named “Chalmers” and I have heard that the builder constructed a house in the neighbourhood for himself.

In Faircrest Heights the Chalmers semi-detached houses are quite wide and designed to look like one large sprawling house, instead of two units. In some cases a two-car garage is located to one side, yet one half is for each unit - meaning the homeowner of one unit has to walk over to the front yard of the other unit to get to their garage.
Here are a few examples of Chalmers houses across the city:

The real estate team I work for has a Chalmers-built house for sale on Chalmers Road. The house has an extremely large living room at 26 by 18-feet! The kitchen and family room space has a vaulted ceiling with exposed beams and skylights. Huge windows and 3 fireplaces make this a perfect example of a Chalmers design. We have a 3D virtual walk through tour of the house on the website, so check it out at this link (scroll down to find the 3D tour): 2115 Chalmers Road

If you are looking for a house to purchase and you think this is the house for you, please contact me at: 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

New Year - New Changes!

This new year will bring some new (and improved) changes to this blog as well as my personal life.

On a personal front, I have taken on the full-time position as the listing manager for the John King Team at Royal Lepage Team Realty. I have worked for John King in various roles (including Realtor) for 11 years and feel that working in the “back office” of real estate is where I belong.

I will continue my regular blog posts on mid-century and 1970s modern housing in Ottawa, but I will also be adding new features and posts related to the real estate market. My connection to the real estate world will allow me to share insights on mid-century modern houses for sale in Ottawa. 

I do not want this blog to become an ad for my real estate job, but I do want to let my readers know that I work with a great team of real estate professionals and we are available to help out with selling or buying a mid-century or 1970s modern house.

Feel free to contact me any time:
Saul Svirplys
Listing Manager
John King Team
Royal LePage Team Realty

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Over 200,000 page views!

In November 2010, I decided to start a blog to share my passion for mid-century modern housing design in Ottawa and as a way to share my collection of floor plans, site plans and old advertisements. In just 5 short years, I have reached a milestone of over 200,000 page views of my blog! 

I want to take the opportunity to thank all of my readers. Over the years I have enjoyed receiving emails and comments with questions and suggestions for blog posts. 2016 will be an exciting year for the blog - I will continue my usual posts, but have some new ideas in store. So, stay tuned for more mid-century modern Ottawa!

Many thanks,
Saul Svirplys

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bel-Air Heights and Queensway Terrace

As always, I take requests for blog postings. A while ago I was asked to post on the Bel-Air Heights neighbourhood built by Campeau in the 1950s and 1960s. Below are the pages from a brochure that Campeau produced around 1959 for both Bel-Air Heights and Queensway Terrace.