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December 01, 2013

The call of Cranston

Cranston Place is more than just an empty-nester’s home

Karen Durrie

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When forces conspire to tell Shari and Bill Karns that it’s time for a change of scenery, the couple throw themselves full bore into house hunting.

A number of years back, the pair had built a modest home in a northeast community, intending for it to be their  “empty nester house,” since their two children had grown up and out.

Ten years later, the neighbourhood had changed drastically.

The night that Bill was putting out the garbage, heard a car crash, and then watched two men tear through their backyard — robbers on the lam from pursuing police — they decided that was it, it was time to move.

They purchased a 1,600 square-foot home in Copperfield six years ago, and loved the neighbourhood, but the pair — now both retired — decided it was really more house than they needed.

“It got to be too big. We didn’t need to clean all that and have all that stuff,” Shari says.

Once the decision was made on downsizing, they visited a number of condo developments in the southeast, and Shari got down to business paring down their belongings, listing items for sale on Kijiji. They knew they wanted to stay in the same general area, because they love the feel of the community, and the quick access to so many amenities.

The For Sale sign went up, and they began looking around. Many condos in the area were going up, but were at least a year away from possession, and the pair also worried about not selling their own home and ending up with two mortgages.

“There were a couple of foreclosures on our street and they were letting them go for next to nothing. We pulled the house off the market in spring. Then we were looking around on the Internet. We came by here one day, and met Judy-Lynn (Lavelle, area manager for Cardel Lifestyles), and she was so good. She said ‘Do you think you can sell your house in 10 days?’ Houses were going like crazy right after the flood. So we put it up and it sold in seven days,” Shari says.

The “here” Shari is referring to is Cranston Place by Cardel Lifestyles. The development, which is still under construction, includes three condo apartment buildings, and several rows of townhomes.

There were a few places left in the second building, including a spacious corner unit with extra windows, and possession could be had quickly.

It had everything the Karns wanted. It had been difficult to find a place that would accept their two dogs — French Bulldog Hank, and Boston, their Boston terrier.

“Some places will accept one dog, but not two,” Shari says. “These guys are part of our family and we didn’t want to give them away.”

And Bill’s beloved Douglasdale Golf Course is just a few minutes’ drive away.

The building also has heated underground parking with individual storage, tons of amenities within walking distance, and a community flavour that the couple noted was lacking in some condo developments they viewed.

“You don’t feel like you’re in a complex where you don’t see anyone. It feels like a real neighbourhood. You see the kids going by on their way to school, and there’s a park across the street where the dogs can play,” Shari says.

The 941-square-foot, two-bedroom unit they chose includes a large master bedroom and ensuite, a contemporary kitchen loaded with cupboards and drawers, and a cozy open-concept living room.

Shari says the reduction in square-footage from their larger Copperfield home was surprisingly easy to adjust to.

“When we lived in the house, we really just sat at the kitchen table, and watched TV in the flex room. Here it’s the same thing, but it’s all on one floor.”

After selling loads of items on Kijiji, the pair purchased some new furniture for their condo, including French country barstools for the island, and a matching dining set.

Bill’s collection of railroad station prints from places he’s worked around the country is hung in the second bedroom, which he calls his “theatre room.” He worked for Canadian Pacific Railroad for 40 years, and lived and traveled across Canada. The “theatre room” includes a plush recliner sofa and big-screen TV, along with shelves featuring some of Shari’s miniature village collection.

Shari retired from Loblaw last year where she’d worked as customer service manager for independent grocers across Alberta and B.C.

The Karnses enjoy having their grandchildren visit, and the smallest ones love the oversized soaker tub in the master bath.

“They call it a pool,” Shari laughs. “They say ‘Can we have a swim in the bathtub?’ when they sleep over.”

The jovial couple is thrilled with their purchase and says they have a deep appreciation for the good service they’ve gotten from Cardel Lifestyles.

“They are just awesome. Everybody in Cardel has been awesome. Any little issue has been looked after, and right away,” Bill says, adding that when he had trouble turning on the gas barbecue on the balcony, he chatted with a plumber on site, and the man was happy to come up and fix the problem on the spot.

With pathways nearby for walking, the new South Calgary Health Campus minutes away, and a planned rec centre and theatres on the horizon, Bill and Shari are thrilled with their new condo and the neighbourhood.

“We just love this place. It’s beautiful out here and we’ve got everything we need,” Bill says.

Including the peace of mind knowing that making a home at Cranston Place means no more moving.

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