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December 01, 2018

What’s mine is ours

Couple finds downsizing condo they can both call their own

Darlene Casten

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Getting comfortable with downsizing can take time, and for Alan and Cynthia, it was no different.


But, moving from a house to a condo was an adjustment that they are glad they made.

The couple met in 2000, when she moved from the Philippines to Calgary to be with her family. A year later they were married and she moved into his 1,400-square-foot home on Elbow Drive, where he’d be living since 1986.

Alan says his garage and garden were great, but that shoveling snow became difficult, particularly when he started having health issues.

Six years into their marriage they decided to sell and find a condo where yard work is taken care of.

We wanted some place new and to downsize,” Cynthia says. “And to avoid shoveling the snow.”

And there was another reason to consider a change of scenery.

“We wanted something to call both of as ours,” explains Alan.

Staying in the southwest or southeast quadrants of the city was important.

“We looked as far as Heritage Drive to Okotoks and all the way to James McKevitt,” says Alan.

They bought a two-bedroom, two-bathroom 1,325-square-foot condominium in Millrise, right in the middle of their search zone. Millrise Pointe is a three building development a block from Macleod Trail and the Fish Creek LRT station.

The location, close to their jobs, shopping in Shawnessy and major roadways like Deerfoot Trail and Stoney Trail, were all selling points.

Alan works at a nearby home improvement store and has a five-minute commute and Cynthia has multiple routes to take to her job at a southeast industrial area. Superstore and Sobeys are minutes away and when it comes to eating out locally, Calgary’s only IHOP, as well
as Kinjo and Swiss Chalet are their go-tos.

But, replacing his home of 30 years wasn’t easy, Alan says.

“You wonder around lost for two to three weeks,” he says.

They had to downsize by 50 per cent, losing the space they had in their unfinished basement and the garage.

It took time and patience to purge their belongings, they say.

“We had people offer us $60,000 more than the offer we took, but they wanted possession in three weeks,” says Alan “We couldn’t do it.”

The size and layout of the units in Millrise Pointe also helped them make the transition from a home to a condo.

“It’s well laid out,” says Cynthia. “The kitchen is spacious and there are lots of cabinets. We have room for everything.”

The master bathroom has a large walk-through closet, but there are also two wall-to-wall closets in the guest room where Cynthia can store her out-of-season wardrobe.

The roominess is also important to them. Cynthia and Alan both have out-of-town family and friends so their large guest room has been put to good use.

“One time I had my eight friends staying with us from the Philippines and they all stayed in there,” Cynthia laughs.

With Cynthia’s large Filipino family, there is often a crowd at holidays and celebrations.

“We have had birthdays and Christmas here, but we have to keep it to immediate family,” Cynthia says.

“That’s around 25 people,” Alan chimes in.

The full-size kitchen helps when it comes to hosting, says Cynthia. The large open space allows several people to cook, set up food and clean dishes at the same time.

Their main living space has lots of space for their six setting dining room table, a large leather couch and recliner chair. An office space, with a computer table and bookshelf, fit neatly in the corner.

“We don’t want clutter and knick knacks,” says Alan. “We have one shelf — so as long as it stays there, it’s fine.”

What they continued to need to store, such as Christmas decorations, they have in a large in-suite storage room. A cube freezer, stackable washer and dryer and a pantry also fit in the storage space.

They’ve also been able to personalize their condo.

Several feature walls are painted a burnt orange — Cynthia’s favourite colour.

They’ve also replaced all of the flooring. In the main living space they chose a two-tone laminate that adds character and dimension to the room. In their bedrooms, plush carpeting keeps things warm and cozy. The main bathroom has been totally renovated to include a
new bathtub, vanity and mirror.

“It’s really ‘ours’ now,” says Alan.

Future plans include renovating the kitchen with quartz countertops and putting in a new dishwasher and range hood.

Alan says he’s still adjusting to living in a smaller space, but says it was the right thing to do.

“We made a good choice,” he says.

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