Winter Fun at SLR: 5 Ways to Embrace the Season

 Happy New Year, everyone!

Hopefully you were able to enjoy some down time during the holidays and are feeling refreshed and ready to jump into 2018. We have so many exciting things on the horizon this year, and can’t wait to share new home designs and properties for sale in the coming months.

But first, we wanted to dive into a topic that is a big part of life for 4-5 months of the year at Spring Lake Ranch: Winter activities. When the first snow arrived, we shared a post on instagram that sums up our philosophy on the snowy season: Embrace it!

Living in the countryside makes it easier to have this perspective, as the serenity and beauty of our surroundings makes for an actual winter wonderland.

That’s not to say that we don’t look forward to warmer temperatures by the time spring rolls around, but while winter is here, our residents make the most of it! We LOVE having nature on our doorstep, and winter provides an opportunity to do so many fun outdoor activities right here in the community.

For kids, the biggest hit is…

SLEDDING

The contoured landscape of SLR offers hilly spots to launch a sled and glide on down. No matter how many times your kids have bundled up and headed out for a day of sledding, the glee on their faces as the sled picks up speed and they soar across the snow is priceless. 

Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing

The stillness and calm found in the nature surrounding Spring Lake Ranch in winter is incredibly peaceful. By strapping on snowshoes or skis and spending a quiet hour among the trees, you will feel rejuvenated. Bonus: it’s a great way to get some cardio exercise too! The lush green of summer is replaced with branches cloaked in snow, and the sunlight casts beautiful patterns across the ravine. As you can see, even our furry residents enjoy these winter adventures!

Ice Fishing

For those who love to fish, being in Alberta means you do it through a thick pane of ice for many months of the year. Bundled up in warm layers, hot cocoa in one hand, a fishing rod in the other and staring down the auger hole in hopes of a nibble. The patience. The calm. The quiet. And then the feeling of hooking something large on your line and reeling it in!

Did you know that Spring Lake is stocked with rainbow trout? So even in winter, you can hang out on the lake and fish for your dinner — just steps from your door.

Ice Skating 

A couple minutes away in The Village of Spring Lake, residents have access to the outdoor skating rink. This is a great spot to teach your kids how to skate and connect with other members of the Spring Lake Community. Many kids have laced up their first skates here, and adults continue to practice their skills! The rink has lights on until 10pm each day and a heated area to put on gear or warm up on a chilly day.

Folks in the community often gather for a game of shinny hockey, which as you can see is an excellent sunset activity.

In exciting news, The Village of Spring Lake has received funding to build a brand new rink this year. This is due to a new intersection that was built in 2017 and improvements to the municipal area. The new rink will be full size and include a new warming area. We look forward to seeing SLR residents continue to enjoy this wonderful pastime so close to home!

We welcome you to visit SLR and take in the peace and beauty of winter. We are currently booking viewings of two gorgeous homes: The Meadowview and The Lakewood. After your tour, you can even borrow snowshoes from our team (or bring your own) and head out to the trails! It’s a fantastic way to experience the community — and we’ll have hot cocoa waiting when you’re done. 🙂

If you’d like to book a home tour or have any questions, please contact Sarah Corker at 780.288.9767 or scorker@springlakeranch.ca. We look forward to connecting with you!

Is Your Home Ready for Winter?

It’s that time of year! Halloween decorations are getting put up, the weather is cooling down, and, if you’re an Alberta homeowner, you’re thinking about what needs to get done to prepare your home for winter.

At Spring Lake Ranch, we like to get a head start on winterizing our homes. This makes for a worry-free winter when it comes to home maintenance as well as an easier transition to spring, This year, we’re sharing our “To Do” list for winterizing your home to help ease the process. Keep this guide handy and let us know if you have any questions! (Email Sarah Corker at scorker@springlakeranch.ca.)

1. Walk the Perimeter of Your Home’s Exterior

New homes typically settle within the first three years. Check for signs of settling and address these before the season’s first freeze.  Ensure that water is draining away from your home properly, and drain rain barrels so they do not crack due to to frozen rainwater. Make sure hoses are disconnected and put away and all hose bibs are turned off. Lastly, check stairs, paths and railings for safety. When the ground gets slippery, falls are more likely, so ensure all footing is even and rails are sturdy.

The TIMBER HAVEN (For Sale)

The CEDARWOOD design

2. Clear your Downspouts and Eaves

Removing tree leaves and needles and other debris will help prevent ice damning. And once winter arrives, remember to remove snow from the roof of your home with a roof rake regularly!

Colourful fall trees and leaves at Spring Lake Ranch

3. Clean the Windows

This is best done sooner than later, before it’s too cold for the task! Clean windows will help brighten those long winter months.

The TAMARACK Bungalow. (Our newest version of this design is For Sale–the first home build in Phase 4.)

Great Room of The MEADOWVIEW Bungalow (For Sale)

4. Clean your Furnace

Over the summer when it’s not running, your furnace collects dust which, if not cleaned prior, gets blown through the house once it gets going! Prevent this by making your annual furnace cleaning occur every fall.

5. Have your Wood-burning Fireplace Cleaned and Gas Fireplace checked

Chimney buildup can be hazardous, so regular cleaning by a certified chimney sweep is important.

Stone fireplace of Scott + Kerri J’s custom bungalow at Spring Lake Ranch

Stone fireplace of The WEST VIEW 

6. Prevent Frozen Pipes

Insulate the pipes near windows, doors and in unheated parts of your home. And remember to keep the heat set no lower than 13 degrees celsius when you’re away.

The TAMARACK Bungalow

7. Prevent Cold Drafts

This is essential for maximizing your home’s energy efficiency. Repair caulking as needed around doors, windows, air vents and outside faucets. Check weatherstripping on windows and doors and seal any cracks in foundation walls.

Fresh snowfall at Spring Lake Ranch

8. Protect Your Entryway

A thick floor mat with rug pad underneath to keep it in place will help stave off the wear that wet and snowy boots can cause on your floors. Keep a boot scraper outside to remove snow and debris from footwear, and place a waterproof tray in the entryway for shoe storage.

Entryway of The MEADOWVIEW Bungalow (For Sale)

Follow these steps, and you can rest easy this winter knowing you’re home is prepared for the season.

Until then…enjoy the rest of fall! The scenery has been truly stunning at SLR this year. (The recent winds scattered a lot of the leaves but there are still some fall colours lingering.) The crisp air is lovely for walking our Lake and Ravine trails. We welcome you to take a drive out and explore the area!

Aerial views of Juniper Lane with three very private Lots For Sale, Meadow Reserve bordering The Meadow View Bungalow, other SLR homes, Loon Lake, and Spring Lake. (Taken earlier this fall.)

Interested in viewing one of these featured homes For Sale? Contact Sarah Corker at 780.288.9767 or scorker@springlakeranch.ca. 

9 Ways to Enjoy Summer at (and near) Spring Lake Ranch

Summer is upon us, and there is no better time to soak up living in a community where nature is on your doorstep.

While every season at SLR offers something special in the way of activities, by the time June rolls around, we are ready to take advantage of the warm sun, cold lake, and long, beautiful days.

If you’re looking to live in a community where you and your family can enjoy the outdoors close to home, look no further! Here, we share 9 of our favourite summer activities at SLR and the surrounding area. 

  1. Canoeing and Paddle Boarding on Spring Lake

Our residents LOVE getting out on the water and taking in the tranquil scenery in a canoe or paddle board. It’s an amazing way to start or end the day! There are no motorized boats on Spring Lake, so the experience allows for quiet reflection, a chance to listen to and watch the abundant bird life, and simply spend time reflecting, either solo or with family members. Kids have so much fun seeing their community from the vantage point of the lake, and learning how to launch, paddle, and steer.

2. Fishing for Rainbow Trout

Did you know that Spring Lake is stocked with rainbow trout? It doesn’t get more peaceful than passing time with a fishing rod and the calm waters of a spring-fed lake. And with our homes’ open-concept kitchen/dining areas leading onto gorgeous spacious decks, you have the perfect set up for grilling the day’s catch.

Speaking of decks…

3. Relaxing on the Deck (and Enjoying the View)

Whether your home feature views of Spring Lake, Loon Lake, the Meadow or the Ravine, time spent on the deck offers a chance to unwind and appreciate your little piece of paradise. In the summer, you can watch the setting sun on a warm evening and hear nothing but the call of the frogs (and perhaps the sizzling of your fresh fish on the grill)!

The best way to follow up a deck session? Your backyard campfire. S’mores and stories around the fire don’t have to be reserved for camping trips. Our residents enjoy this pastime on their very own properties. 

4. Growing a Garden

With a 1/2 acre property, your yard offers plenty of room for growing veggies, flowers, or a mix of both. Seeing the blooming gardens throughout the community each year is so inspiring, with a wonderful variety of colours and scents. And kids are natural gardeners — they love choosing seeds, planting them, and then seeing their project come to life! It’s a bit of magic that the whole family can enjoy together.

5. Picnics at the Beach

The Village of Spring Lake features a lovely private beach that is ideal for afternoon picnics and a swim. (Seasonal passes — June to October — for the beach are $150 + GST for residents.) Launch your canoe, play with your kids at the playground, or simply spread a blanket out and enjoy the sand and sun. 

6. Exploring Lake and Ravine Trails 

SLR is so lush in the summertime! Our native tree and plant species feature every shade of green you can imagine. Taking a walk along our Ravine or Lake trail is a daily pleasure for many of our residents, some of whom are also avid bird watchers. We are proud to provide nesting boxes for native birds throughout the community, and love spotting everything from goldfinches to owls to blue herons.

7. Farmer’s Markets in Stony Plain and Carvel

At SLR we are lucky to be within 10 minutes of two excellent Farmer’s Markets — the Stony Plain Farmer’s Market (10 minutes east) and the Carvel Station Farmer’s Market (10 minutes west).

Stony Plain’s market runs April to end of December every Saturday, 9-1. With 70 + vendors, it offers a range of fresh food products and artisanal crafts. We always find treasures here, and the atmosphere is fun and friendly.

Carvel Station Market runs Thursday evenings, 5-8. With a “Make/Bake/Grow’ theme, the 25+ vendors feature everything from handmade cutting boards to fresh loaves of bread to ripe tomatoes. A rotating range of food trucks and bouncy castle for the kids make this market an awesome Thursday night tradition.

8. Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

Hikers, cyclists and horseback riders visit Chickakoo to explore the beauty along its 14 kms of trails. The lake is stocked with trout and the area is also home to a wide variety of bird species. Just a 15 minute drive from SLR, Chickakoo is a gorgeous spot to spend a summer afternoon.

9. Golf at Cougar Creek Golf Resort (+ 3 other Nearby Courses!)

Championship-length golf course Cougar Creek is located just 15 minutes east of SLR, giving our golf-loving residents an excellent opportunity to play their favourite sport on a pro course close to home. A short drive north of Stony Plain in the Glory Hills is executive par 3 course Duffy’s Challenge. And both Stony Plain and Spruce Grove feature local golf courses: the 18-hole Stony Plain Golf Course and The Links at Spruce Grove.

We invite you to visit Spring Lake Ranch this summer to see the community in all its green + sunny glory. Book your visit (which includes a Home + Lot tour!) with Sarah Corker at 1.888.867.1055 or scorker@springlakeranch.ca.

And be sure to follow us on facebook here and instagram @springlakeranch for updates!

Happy summer, everyone.

SLR Designer Sarah Corker ~ On Vision, Inspiration, and What’s Next at Spring Lake Ranch

Can you describe your role at Spring Lake Ranch? What might you be doing on a given work day?

My role with SLR is tremendously varied from sales to marketing to design and everything in between. A typical day includes: Working with our clients and suppliers, so perhaps a meeting at Robinson’s Lighting and Bath to review a lighting package for a home. Receiving an enquiry sales call to set up a tour for one of our homes or lots. Working with my amazing marketing team to develop new content for social media, newsletters, and blogs. Being in touch with our client’s mortgage broker and lawyer to organize the financing for their home. Also, I walk through our builds regularly to see the progress, ensure the proper selections are being made, check paint colours and finishing details, and take photos. 

At night, after my children go to sleep, I work on design and planning. This is when my creative juices flow and I like to dive into new floor plans, colour palettes and lighting inspiration and check in with the various design blogs I follow. This is also when my husband and business partner and I get a chance to talk about the “big picture”, plan our next builds, bounce ideas for events, and actively discuss our dreams.

SLR is known for its natural beauty and gorgeous homes. What’s it like seeing people discover it for the first time?

Often, people will walk into one of our homes and be in awe with the oversized windows, high ceilings and open concept of the heart of the home (kitchen, dining, great room). After lots of questions and the “getting to know you” conversation, there will be a pause and this is when people all of a sudden realize how quiet it is at Spring Lake Ranch. They take in the sounds of the birds in the summer or just the absolute silence in the winter. It’s magic!

You and the SLR team started creating the community almost a decade ago. What’s the biggest lesson you have learned along the way in bringing this vision to life?

In the early stages of the project when Dad, Rainbow and I had a vision and 66 acres of wide open land, our mantra was UNWAVERING FAITH. Faith that others will find this natural gem on a lake, fall in love and want to call it home. That unique homes will be built. That a community will grow and flourish here.

I have learned that some people, like our earliest residents, can see things before they exist — I call them ‘visionaries’. The rest of us are more tactile, needing to touch, feel and walk through a house in order to understand how it can become a home to raise a family, to rejuvenate in, a home to love in. Now this community is a thriving, special place thanks to all the people who live here, who have chosen Spring Lake Ranch as their home and have seen our vision come to life.

                   Rainbow Williams, Sarah Corker, and Terry Williams

Let’s talk design. Wilcor Homes has always specialized in open floor plans, high ceilings, and natural elements like wood and stone. In what ways has this aesthetic shifted or evolved in the last decade? How do trends shape the way you approach a new build?

We moved here from the West coast, where you see many more two storey homes, whereas here we have the space with our half acre lots to do bungalows. Previously, in my mind bungalows were a home for retirees (my Gran had a charming one in Lloydminster!) but there has been a big shift in the design, making them more open in concept and appealing to all age demographics. We now specialize in bungalow designs and are building them for families of all ages and sizes.

The other big shift in our designs is seen in the more functional parts of the home — the mudroom and laundry room. Alberta mud is a real thing. After one full season here (and getting stuck in the mud many times) we learned the importance of making this space really functional. We now add extra square footage, a window if possible, and an oversized closet for the many jackets you need in this four season climate.

Another area of change has been in our exteriors. We love using Hardie Board siding as it requires no future maintenance, is a fire retardant, and is incredibly durable — important in this climate where a flash hail storm can occur.

We always love incorporating natural elements. Wood and stone give a home a solid, secure feeling of time-honoured design. We use real stone veneer in all of our applications both inside and outside the home and love to highlight the entrance with solid Douglas fir timbers. I would say this has become our trademark on the exterior of many of our homes.

You and the Wilcor Homes team have built several custom homes at SLR. There are obviously many design decisions that your clients need to make along the way. How do you help guide people through the process, while keeping true to their vision?

Building a home requires so many decisions as a family, with the building team, and with the product suppliers — all staying within an allocated budget determined by the bank. But mostly it requires vision, like the ability to see how the paint colour will work with the flooring and cabinets and then adding lights to fully showcase the work. 

We allow our clients the freedom to make selections for their home, as it’s our goal to make their vision a reality. We share our expertise throughout the process, meeting regularly to provide design and finishing options, review selections, and pull all the details together.

They say that every time you build, you learn something new. This is where our experience and expertise come in — we understand every aspect of creating a beautiful quality home. Building custom is not for everyone, so we also build Wilcor Homes to completion, using exceptional materials and finishings that are contemporary while still having that timeless appeal. People love this option — it’s essentially falling in love with a showhome and then moving in and making it your own!

The TAMARACK Great Room

What room tends to be the #1 priority for people in ‘getting it right’?

The kitchen. Hands down, this is the heart of the home, where it all happens. We gather here and share food, stories, love, laughter, tears, and conversation. I love to design a kitchen that fully functions with the different work zones incorporated (prepping, cooking, cleaning, conversing) while having stunning aesthetics: cabinets that will look great today as well as in 10+ years, a solid surface countertop, oversized island, and windows — as many and as big as possible. Lighting a kitchen properly is very important. I love island lights on a dimmer, separate pot lights (also on a dimmer), a light over the sink for late night dishes, and under cabinet lights for example. With this variety, you can really change the mood in the room, from being focused on function and being able to see every detail to toning it down and creating a more intimate experience.

When designing a home, what do you look to for ideas and inspiration? How do you make each new build feel fresh and exciting?

Often my inspiration for colour palettes can come from nature. I love to be active outside all year round and I also enjoy taking photos. In doing so, I capture the natural surroundings around me and draw upon the photos to see how all of the colours and textures work together.

White is a constant colour used in the world of design. Right now there is a big trend of white cabinets in the kitchen, lighter wall colours, and even white washed hardwood floors. When I go for a walk on a snowy day, I take in all the many colours of white and grey and then think about how to integrate these colours into our homes. I just completed a home using the Benjamin Moore colour Paper White which has a slight blue tone to it. My favourite trim colour, ironically, is called Snowfall White!

Overall I love a neutral palette with layers of texture where you can add accent colours depending on the time of year through soft finishings such as pillows, flowers, tea towels. ‘Pops of colour’. By keeping your background simple and neutral, you can play with different colours and have fun with them without fully committing to a purple room.

To stay current, I also follow a number of design blogs and have a daily does on Instagram where I get tons of visual inspiration. Desire to Inspire is a Canadian and Australian team that posts endless photos of stunning homes all around the world. In the real of Instagram, I love to follow @robinsonltgbath (our lighting and plumbing supplier) showcasing their products installed in gorgeous homes; @interiordesignmag for awe inspiring photos; @dominomag for really functional style and ideas; and @styleathome, a Canadian resource for fabulous decorating, design, and entertaining ideas. 

What is the most fulfilling part of your work?

It’s the moment when I get to walk our clients through their finished home. The look on their faces, the happy tears. The feeling of completion. The ‘thank you’ hugs.

I have learned something from every family we have worked with. Whether it’s been an improvement in the design (such as adding a pocket door instead of a door with a swing so you can increase the use of space), a new material selection (we recently installed shiplap in a house for the first time), or the integration of materials (stone, new hardwood flooring or mixed metal lights). I love all of of it, as the process pushes me to stay present and to be continually improving. Our relationships with our clients and trades allow us to feel proud about the quality homes we build. We have made some lifelong friends along the way and I feel truly blessed by this.

What is the highlight of SLR for you when it comes to the natural setting? What views or “nature” moments stand out?

Spring. After a long winter of snowballs, skating and bundled-up walks on the trails, hearing the Canadian geese and other birds returning home is one of my favourite sounds. Seeing the first buds on the trees and bulbs sprouting through the soil makes me do a happy dance! My kids plant handfuls of sunflower seeds in our gardens as we love watching the goldfinches they attract in the late summer days. Spring is also the start of lake activities that our whole family enjoys: fishing, paddle boarding, and canoeing.

What’s next at SLR? What projects are in the works?

This is a very exciting year, as we are releasing the final phase of the community which includes two quiet cul-de-sacs, Spruce Crescent and Juniper Lane, with lots backing onto the treed ravine. We have done the development of SLR in phases, and Phase 4 marks completion. In June, we will hold our spring 2017 Home and Lot Hop, at which people can tour Homes and Lots For Sale — including our new Phase 4 properties! We are also holding an Open House for the Tamarack Bungalow on Saturday, April 29th from 12-4 pm.

I get goosebumps thinking about driving through Spring Lake Ranch in 30 years from now, showing our grandchildren all the homes we built, tree we planted, and friends we made. It’s extremely gratifying to see that the unwavering faith we started out with has resulted in such a unique and beautiful community.

Thank you, Sarah!

*Interested in learning more about Spring Lake Ranch homes and properties? Contact Sarah Corker at 1.888.867.1055

 

 

Join us Saturday, Sept.17 for SLR’s 2016 Fall HOME + LOT HOP!

This summer has flown by, and now the countdown is ON for our biggest event of the year: SLR’s Fall HOME + LOT HOP.

On Saturday, Sept. 17th from 12-4 pm, join us to:

* View 7 Beautiful Homes For Sale

* Tour Phase 2 + 3 Lots For Sale…and get a sneak peek of PHASE 4 Lots prior to their public release

* Enjoy refreshments

* Walk the Lake + Ravine Trails ~ a great activity for the whole family!

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This year’s HOME + LOT HOP is shaping up to be extra special, with brand-new designs unveiled and the chance to preview SLR’s final Phase of development.

There is no better opportunity to see first-hand the craftsmanship of our homes and the beauty of the community. If you have ever considered making SLR your future home, this is a MUST-ATTEND event! 

Check out the event on our facebook page here ~ we’ll be sharing photos of each Home For Sale in the days leading up to the Home + Lot  Hop.

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Phase 4 is Coming…Join Our VIP List!

 

The engineering is now complete on development of PHASE 4 ~ the Final Phase of Spring Lake Ranch.

With larger lots bordered by a forested ravine, this is a phenomenal area of the community, and one that we’ve had enquiries about since SLR launched!

Want to be invited to the PHASE 4 Release? Those who register for our VIP list will have the opportunity to choose their Phase 4 Lot before this phase becomes available to the public.

To join the list: Contact our Director of Sales, Sarah Corker, at780.288.9767 or scorker@springlakeranch.ca with the subject heading: Phase 4 VIP List.

* And remember, we will be giving a sneak peek of Phase 4 at The HOME + LOT HOP on Sept. 17th!

See you soon, at SLR…

Explore our BEAUTIFUL Walking Trails!

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Exploring behind The Meadow

For our residents, a huge highlight of living at Spring Lake Ranch is access to the outdoors. Fall is a particularly beautiful time of year, with the changing colours and clear, crisp air. We have two gorgeous Walking Trails that are each a 10-15 minute walk—perfect for a morning stroll with coffee in hand!

With more and more families moving to the community, it’s been wonderful to see so many kids exploring the trails. Slowing down to observe the different plant species and animal habitats helps them not only learn about the natural world, but grow up appreciating it.

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