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May 26, 2011

Peaceful, easy living

The peace and quiet of Pencross suits busy lifestyle

Jessica Patterson

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Ali Hampshire leads an active life that’s as hectic as the day is long.

The 27-year-old keeps two jobs - she works for the publications department at Southview Alliance Church in Calgary, and also as a dance instructor at her sister’s Bhriomar School of Irish Dance in Okotoks (and Lethbridge). Her days (and nights) pass by in a whirlwind of paper shuffling and feet bopping, so when she comes home, she appreciates the calm of her own place.

It’s no wonder she chose to live at Pencross, Streetside Developments’ popular 147-unit multi-family complex in Okotoks.

“I’ve been here for just over two years. I moved in shortly after it was built,” Hampshire says. “I like it because it’s right on the edge of Okotoks, so it almost feels like you’re living in the country. When I look out, you see trees and fields and stuff. It’s nice and quiet. I’m enjoying it.”

Pencross is situated along Okotok’s idyllic northeastern side, and its entrance is across from a field with horses with the Crystal Ridge Golf Course at its backyard. 

Hampshire says she can’t believe how quiet the area is, even her neighbours. “I lived in the city for a couple of years, and it was a very different environment. I lived close to Mount Royal College, and there were a lot of university students.”

At Pencross, the population is split between retired couples and young professionals.

“It’s perfect for me. I live here and I work in the city, I’m about 15 minutes from work.”

Okotoks is great, Hampshire says. “I don’t find myself going to Calgary too often for stuff, because everything is right here. There is one of everything in Okotoks.”

She loves the space in her 950 square-foot one-bedroom condominium, the large kitchen with its dark, stained maple cabinets, the centre island with lots of counter space. 

“I like that the ceilings are nine-feet-high, it opens the condo up a lot and makes it feel bigger than it is,” she says. 

Her modern kitchen has three standard appliances and brushed chrome lighting fixtures. “I would love to replace the countertop with marble, change up the backsplash, but that’s for future projects,” she says. 

When Hampshire first moved in, there was bright white carpet on the floors, which she soon replaced for dark laminate flooring.

Floor plans in Pencross are designed with a large corner pantry — Hampshire uses the corner area as a small dance studio and storage area. Each of Pencross’s units come with a private deck with natural gas barbecue line, looking out to green courtyard with putting greens, a gazebo and walking paths.

Hampshire and her little dog, Ceili, love to hang out on the patio on warm summer nights.

Pencross’s building features include a fitness centre, indoor putting greens, a games room and a library.

Hampshire says she likes condo living because it is easy to keep clean. There are no stairs to vacuum, and she enjoys decorating. “My sister, who has a degree in interior design, helps out,” she says. “It’s fun, it’s nice to have a place that’s your own.”

Hampshire’s condo is a study in black and white, and shades of brown punctuated by splashes of apple green and turquoise. “I wasn’t sure if I would love black and brown together, but it works,” Hampshire says of her condo’s colour scheme. “With black and white, you can change your accent colours any time.”

The Okotokian has a lot of art on her walls, a big three-piece design behind her couch, that is an original acrylic done by her mother. “The artwork, 95 per cent of it is original because my mother is an artist.”

Hampshire was an English major at university. Though it has been a few years since she graduated, words still hold great meaning, so it’s interesting to see that she’s put her love of words on her walls. Verses of poetry are hung in striking little black frames throughout her condo. “I like words, I think they’re pretty powerful, when they’re up on walls.”

Her chic, modern condo is mostly furnished by Swedish megastore IKEA, which she likes for their affordability and wide selection. 

“I decided my one investment piece would be the sofa, I got it at Urban Barn,” she says. “Most everything else is from IKEA. For now, these work. And, you can always replace them later on. I figure things like sofas and chairs you’re going to keep for a while, but kitchen tables and coffee tables and storage units, you can invest in other ones later on.”


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