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June 01, 2019

Glowing in Seton

ZEN is a perfect balance of style, function and performance

Darlene Casten

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Starting over, and over again, has made Laura who she is.


Originally from Costa Rica, she moved to a small town in Saskatchewan around 15 years ago, where she said she focused on gardening to get over the isolation. She then moved to Saskatoon, where she began her career in esthetics. That career move has continued to be a defining moment.

“I’m really passionate about what I do,” Laura says.

When she decided to move to Calgary with her teenage daughter, Laura says, her goal was to combine her life experience to build an amazing life in a new city, with an international airport that allows her mom to visit more easily.

Her first step in Calgary was opening up her medical esthetics, Renew Glow, in the Marriot Hotel spa, on Seton’s trendy Market Street. She says the area had everything she was looking for.

“You get more foot traffic when it comes to your business and it is less busy, less noisy,” she says. “People like that when it comes to a spa environment.”

The more time she spent in Seton, the more she thought about spending even more time there.

The ZEN Urban District townhomes then being built within eyesight of the spa caught her attention.

“I was living in Cranston in a rental and I was working in the spa and saw the construction,” she says. “I was waiting or the sales centre to open and visited a couple of times.”

ZEN Urban District convinced Laura she could add something new to her life experiences.

“I’ve never lived in a condo before,” she says. “It’s kind of a new thing for me.”

She says she was looking for something that gives her and her daughter some privacy and some space to enjoy together that has everything in walking distance and easy access to other areas of the city.

The convenience for the two of them in Seton is huge. Her daughter attends the new Seton high school, which is also home to Calgary’s newest YMCA, a spot they use often.

“We love the Y,” says Laura. “I take some strength training classes. I do some classes, Zumba and swimming. I love the steam room. And it takes five minutes to drive to the gym and I can relax and de-stress.”

Laura is also able to walk to the grocery store, nearby restaurants and pubs and most importantly, to work every day.

“I just love what I do and you don’t even have to drive,” she says. “I walk over there every day. It is really healthy.”

Having a walkable lifestyle is important to Laura because of her German Shepherd and miniature French poodle. She is able to be home in a matter of minutes to let them out into her fenced yard or take them for a walk to nearby.

“I do love and adore my dogs, so I don’t want them home alone too long,” she says.

She upgraded her flooring to laminate throughout to make hair and muddy paw clean up easier.

Her three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath, 1,482 square foot home also allows her mom to visit from Costa Rica regularly and have her own space.

Laura says the thing she loves the most is the shared space her condo offers. The rooftop patio was a major consideration in her buying a Zen Urban District condo.

“When I looked at purchasing here, I just thought about a rooftop patio, she says. “I’m really excited for the (patio) season. I want to get a nice bright umbrella. I have a corner unit, so I have a back patio and a front patio. The front is dining
area and reading area. The view is great. I can see the mountains on a clear day.”

She has a fire pit for her seating area and plans to add a container garden, which she learned from her days in Saskatchewan, has a calming effect.

The main floor, open concept living space is also perfect for year-round entertaining or just spending time with her daughter or guests, she says.

“I can be cooking and I can be visiting my daughter,” says Laura. “Sometimes open floor plans can be tricky because everything is on display, but it allows you to merge every thing together and enjoy three spaces in one.”

Laura has added her touches to the neutral palette of quartz counter tops, dove-grey subway tiles stainless steel appliances to create a truly zen-like home with wood, brass and gold accents, crystals, diffusers and artwork from her mother.

Her vibrant personality comes out in the colourful, eclectic interior decorating, which is a mix of earthy, personal and modern.

“Things I display have a meaning for me,” she says. “Either they remind me of home or they remind me of family. You can follow a trend or you can follow your heart when you are decorating.”

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