VANCOUVER SUN: COMMUNITY CONSULTATION HELPED SHAPE THE DESIGN OF POLYGON'S MASON&GREEN


When it came time to design the townhomes at Mason&Green, Polygon decided to go with the idea of “giving people what they want” — literally.

The team interviewed 16 people from the target market — those who already owned and lived in townhouses in Langley — and asked them about every aspect of their existing homes.

“It was lots of one-on-one intensive research with consumers, asking them what they liked, loved, or would want to be different,” says Monique Janower, Polygon’s senior vice-president of marketing. “That included them actually making storyboards of how they would recreate their homes if given the chance.”

The hands-on research has translated into several distinct design choices at Mason&Green.

A key highlight was the decision to go with garages that allow cars to be parked beside each other, rather than having one vehicle in front of another.

“People don’t like having to pull the vehicles in and out based on who will have to leave first in the morning, and having to juggle different sets of keys for different cars — side-by-side parking means freedom,” Janower explains.

It also means a wider base floor plate for the other floors in the townhouses, rather than the long, skinny rectangles seen in townhomes with tandem parking. Within Mason&Green’s homes, that allows for more of a single-family residence feel.

The focus group also expressed a strong preference for as much storage as possible.

In the first show home — the “B” plan with two bedrooms and two bathrooms — there is a specifically designated work area in the garage, and storage tucked under the stairs to the main floor.

A closet is strategically located right in the front foyer, so residents won’t have to lug coats, shoes, and backpacks up to another level of the home. Cabinets in the kitchen rise to the full height of the nine-foot ceilings, providing ample room for pots and pans and pantry goods. There is more storage in the kitchen island.

On the upper floor, a nook has been carved out of a central hallway spot, exactly the right dimensions to fit a shelf from Ikea’s Expedit line. That too, relates back to the consumer research, showing that the giant Swedish company was the most likely place for people in the target demographic to buy furnishings. It also saves Mason&Green purchasers the time and expense of finding exactly the right shelf unit to slot into the niche — or to have something custom-fitted to the spot.

A corner of the master bedroom in the three bedroom “D” plan home is also exactly sized for an Ikea Expedit shelf.

On the ground floor of that plan, there’s a flex space just off the front entryway door. It could easily be used as a craft space, home office, play area, or more storage, depending on the needs of the homeowner.

Both homes have a powder room on the main floor — something the focus group said was important when entertaining family and friends.

The Mason&Green homes also have defined laundry areas. In the “B” plan, it’s actually a separate room entirely, with overhead shelving and a counter for folding. It can be closed off when not in use, or to keep curious kids from digging into piles of clothing or pressing buttons on the side-by-side washer and dryer.

In the three-bedroom home, the side-by-side washer and dryer is concealed behind two folding doors, but is also a distinct area including a folding counter and shelves for storage.

It’s another touch added after the research conducted with the focus group.

The homes also feature secure outdoor space accessed from the main floor of the home — either deck or patio space, or a raised, enclosed yard. It’s ideal for a parent to keep a watchful eye on a little one, while getting dinner made.

Most of the people deciding to sign sales contracts for the project are first time homebuyers with families, Janower reports.

“They’re being drawn in by this location — right next to a school (Richard Bulpitt elementary),” she says. Pedestrian pathways between the different buildings lead to the school or an outdoor play area surrounded by a grove of trees.

“There’s also all of the additional value they’re getting,” she points out. “That includes access to The Maples, which means they won’t have to pay for gym memberships.”

The Maples is the 8,400-square-foot recreational facility for the residents at Mason&Green. It includes a gym, an outdoor swimming pool and whirlpool, guest suites, an indoor playground, and a theatre room for movie nights.

Purchasers also have ready access to Willoughby Town Centre, a complex that includes restaurants, a grocery store and banking. It will soon have other amenities, like doctors and dentists.

Slightly further afield are more restaurants and coffee shops, supermarkets and major retail shops, and a number of other schools. Two high schools are within ten blocks of the project, and once children are a little older, Kwantlen Polytechnic and Trinity Western Universities are options for those wanting to study in the area.

Parks are within easy walking distance, and there is plenty of other recreation as well, with the Langley Colossus movie theatre, the Langley Sportsplex, the Langley Events Centre, two golf courses, and a community centre.

Polygon believes listening directly to what consumers want is going to pay off — for everyone.

Source: Vancouver Sun

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