Feature home of the month: The Melbourne

Uptown culinary styling, country cottage front porch, handyman’s garage…

This month’s feature home (The Melbourne) is a wonderful home for those people who wish for a larger rear yard. The ‘carriage-style’ design with the garage beside the home as opposed to it being out front allows for more rear yard area. The garage features a shop area at the back and the kitchen is a work of art. Come on out to Carstairs and see for yourself.

The Melbourne at 2 McClung Gate in the Havenfields/Carstairs

(includes lot & net GST)

1436 sq. ft.

  • 3 bedrooms / 2.5 bathrooms
  • 3 pc. ensuite
  • Spindle Railings along stairwell
  • Fireplace
  • Second floor laundry / boot room
  • Double Car Garage
  • Covered front porch
  • Open floor plan
  • Shop area in Garage
  • Stainless Steel appliances

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The Café Radio

The local, family ran café opened its doors; January 3, 2011 they are located at 1112 Osler Street, Carstairs, hours are Monday-Friday 6-6.

Jason and Sheldon Valleau have always talked about having a little coffee shop. “When we walk into a building that’s old, we don’t have the heart to cover it up” said Jason.  With Sheldon’s design and good fortune they stripped down the past 100 years to reveal its original personality.

Researching the origin of the building has uncovered that there had been on separate occasions 2 fires destroying the Histories of Carstairs, but have established the 1901 building was once Downie-Aldrich Lumber Co. and has gone through a wide variety of different stores (deli, TV repair shop, bakery, gift shop and CIR Realty) and is now filled with the aroma of coffee, homemade soup, sandwiches and desserts. It’s great for all ages and they now have a liquor license.

The brothers having played in many coffee shops around the world as a touring band “The Polyjesters” and by living in France got into the coffee culture. Then the Mountain View Music Festival started happening and the Broadcast Radio so they decided to put their roots down.  Being community orientated and having a range of cultures decided The Café Radio would be the home for it all.

Calgary home prices static in March

First quarter see prices, sales and listings fall compared with 2010

By Dina O’Meara, Calgary Herald

 CALGARY — Calgary’s real estate market is in balance, with March seeing lower prices, sales and listings compared with a year ago, according to the latest report by an industry association.  That’s good news for people on the prowl for a new home as the average price for a single family home fell by two per cent from a year ago, the Calgary Real Estate Board said Friday.  The average price of $462,947 was virtually unchanged from February, the board said.

During the first quarter, sales were up four per cent to 3,309 from a year prior, driven by a combination of stable prices, low interest rates and stronger job numbers, president Sano Stante said.  “We’ve come to a period where we have a combination of good affordability, low interest rates and large selection,” said Stante. “That makes it a really attractive market to buy in to.”  Single family homes are more affordable in a wider area of Calgary, enabling people to buy into neighbourhoods which used to be out of their price range, he noted.

The less happy news for realtors is the number of single family home sales in the city slid three per cent last month from March 2010, to 1,355.  However, a 19 per cent drop in new listings, year-over-year, could support the market heading toward the spring.  Sales in Calgary’s northwest quadrant were the strongest, seeing a 13 per cent increase over the first quarter in 2010.  The most affordable quadrant in the city remains the northeast, where single family homes averaged around $282,713 during the first quarter.

Meanwhile, the southwest recorded the highest single family average home price during the quarter, at $570,748 compared with an average price of $464,990 in the northwest and $422,821 in the southeast.   The board considers quarterly results moreindicative of overall real estate trends.

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Breathe Better

Did your breathing sound like Darth Vader this winter?  Maybe there are some things that can be done around the house to improve the situation.

Improved indoor air quality is a very important aspect of new home construction.  As Home builders build ‘tighter’ envelopes in a quest for increased energy efficiency, the necessity to exchange or purify bad air in the home increases.  Gold Seal Homes does a number of things to ensure good air quality in our new homes including power cleaning the HVAC system (heating vents), installing a HEPA filter on the furnace, installing a Humidifier, and limiting products used in construction that may have harmful materials in them.  Here are some homeowner tips to keep your air clean and healthy.

1. Inspect your furnace filter monthly and replace when necessary.  This will improve the air you breath and improve the efficiency of your furnace

2.Inspect the condition of your humidifier pad.  (if it is clogged with minerals you can clean it with CLR) (see Water Deposit Blues blog – March 8th)

3. You may wish to have your vents cleaned.  Many of our customers do this every year or so.  (we use James at Flanagan’s Furnace & Duct Cleaning 403.272.0560)

4. During the winter months, air does not get exchanged due to the fact that windows are seldom opened.  On warmer days you may wish to run your air exchanger or summer fan for 45-60 minutes to exhaust the stale air from your home and bring in fresh air.  Do this on a chinook day when it is not going to cost a fortune to heat up the new air.

5. Many people often to forget to vacuum under their beds.  this is a great place for dust/dander/and other nasties to collect.

May the Force be with you!

Rain Barrel know how

A rain barrel is the perfect way to keep your lawn green and your plants happy. Instead of spending the summer struggling to water your garden without reaching for the garden hose, a rain barrel collects the rain runoff from your roof via the downspout and stores it until you need it.

While not a guarantee against drought periods, having a rain barrel in your garden is a smart way to avoid turning on the tap. A 10- by 10-foot roof will shed approximately 2,300 litres of water per inch of rainfall. Normally, all of that runoff would head to the storm sewer, but a rain barrel can divert and store hundreds of litres of water at a time. That’s a lot of free water!

The benefits of using a rain barrel are more than just environmental; using rainwater instead of treated tap water is much healthier for your garden, as it has less chlorine and salt than is found in hose water. And by capturing water before it gets to the sewer, you’ll help prevent erosion and other problems caused by heavy runoff while saving on your water bill.

Ready for a greener garden the natural way? We’ve rounded up some of the best rain barrels for your garden, just in time for spring!Waubesa.jpg

Fiskars rain barrel

Why this barrel rocks: The downspout diverter prevents the barrel from overflowing; when the barrel is full, water is automatically diverted back down the downspout. It also has a handy flattened back to sit flush against the house.  I like this feature where space is limited.  The overflow feature can be diverted into a second barrel if you like!

The Waubesa model (shown) is available at Canadian Tire in the spring


Algreen Products’ Agua rain barrel with planter

Why this barrel rocks: This terracotta-finish plastic barrel collects your rainwater and looks extremely pretty doing it. Plant trailing vines or bright flowers in the built-in planter for the perfect marriage of form and function. I like this one because the drain is right at the bottom, so you get all the water out in the fall.  The little planter on the top is great for a little herb garden or project area for kids with green thumbs!

Available at RONA

One more sleep…

From all the staff at Gold Seal Homes, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a joyful new year.  May your visitors arrive to your door steps safely, with smiles on their faces, joy in their hearts and tones of presents in their hands!

-Murray Pound (V.P Operations)

christmas fun ideas

Message from Santa

Here are some links we have found on the internet that are a lot of fun during the holidays.  Our kids loved getting a cyber holiday greeting from the old elf himself this year.  After filling in our daughter’s names and wish lists, they received an on-line greeting from Santa: http://www.portablenorthpole.ca/home.  Another great idea comes from JibJab.  This website specializes in turning your favorite people into hilarious characters that play our roles in short music videos.  There are some that are offered during the holidays for free, and you can e-mail the video(s) to friends and family: www.elfyourself.jibjab.com.  The modern Santa is now ‘new-school’ and is addicted to his email (just like the rest of us). You can now email him and he’ll email a nice note back. Either way, it’s a fun approach to learning about letter-writing (or learning the all-important skill of making sure you get what you want).  And speaking of fun, look for Santa’s Corner on the Canada Post website. It’s full of holiday games, crafts and recipes for the whole family—our favourite is the Build Your Own Snowman game.  Make sure to bookmark NORAD’s Santa Tracker and follow his travels by radar and satellites which track the infrared signal from Rudolph’s nose (what else), Santa cams and fighter jets as he makes his way around the globe on Christmas Eve. Volunteers at NORAD have been tracking Santa since 1955 after their Commander in Chief’s hotline number was accidentally published in a Sears ad as Santa’s phone number, and a tradition was born.  Have a Merry Christmas!