Featured in the Winnipeg Free Press on August 9th, 2015.
Ask prospective homeowners which neighbourhoods they'd most like to live in, and you almost always get the same answer.
As you might have suspected, the neighbourhoods that are most often mentioned are (in no particular order) Crescentwood, Charleswood, River Heights and (if you possess the financial wherewithal) Tuxedo. You can add one more neighbourhood to that list, though it's a neighbourhood that, for some unfathomable reason, tends to fly under the radar more than it should.
That neighbourhood is Riverview, an enclosed, mature little enclave situated off Osborne Street's east side. Like River Heights, it features a wide variety of home designs that date back a century or more -- and beautiful collections of mature trees that date back much further.
Unlike River Heights, it's a self-contained community, said Realty Executives Premiere's Scott Moore.
"There are no through streets as is the case in River Heights, so it's an extremely quiet area," he said. "It's also a close to all kinds of amenities. It's quietly moved into the top-five most desirable areas in the city due to its beauty, convenience and the great character that all the unique home styles creates."
It also turns out Moore has a home for sale in Riverview, this one a 1,200-square-foot bungalow located at 268 Balfour Ave. on a pristine 50-foot by 128-foot lot.
"The home was built in 1920 and then added on to in 1950 -- the living room/bedroom side is the original home, and the kitchen area is the addition," said Moore. "Most importantly, virtually every part of the home has been touched over the past five to 10 years. The wiring has been updated, while recent upgrades include hardwood floors, most of the windows, a high-efficient furnace, newer hot-water tank, backwater valve, light fixtures and paint. This is a well-maintained, carefully updated home ideal for a young family."
Unlike many turn-of-the-century designs, 268 Balfour features an abundance of usable -- and livable -- space. One of its greatest attributes is the home's hub, a.k.a. the kitchen.
"It's a wonderful open-concept space that's been nicely updated with refaced cappuccino cabinets (including a large pantry next to the fridge), grey laminate countertops, stainless appliances, a tile backsplash and new light fixtures," he said. "There's tons of space to move around and create in the kitchen. There's a large dining area next to a big window at one end, while there's a flex area next to the sliding patio door that could be either a dinette or study area."
Not only does the patio door inject natural daylight into the kitchen, it provides access to a two-tiered deck, added Moore.
"It's a great place to barbecue, have a cool drink and relax with family or friends. With its depth and all the mature trees, it's a private, park-like area that's ideal for entertaining, or for the kids to go out and play in with plenty of room to run around."
There's also more livable space downstairs, a feature that's not necessarily the norm for a home built in 1920. The 1,200 sq. ft. upstairs translates into a lower level that offers no less than 800 sq. ft. of inhabitable space.
"The basement is fully finished and features a rec room (with newer carpeting and decent ceiling height), flex room that's ideal for an office, play room or fourth bedroom, three-piece bath, laundry room and workshop," said Moore. "Cabinetry on the far left-hand wall of the rec room could be kept for storage, or removed to add more space."
Head back upstairs, and there's a living room that features a wood-burning fireplace with white brick surround, new oak hardwoods and a large window that provides a view of the mature trees fronting the home.
"It's right off the kitchen, which makes for a perfect spot to sit down and visit with company after dinner," he noted. "Flow from the living room into the kitchen and through the patio doors is excellent, so the home's main-floor layout is ideal for entertaining."
Another desirable feature can be found off the living room in the form of a bedroom wing that contains not two, but three bedrooms -- again unusual for a home built 94 years ago.
"The master suite is a good size, while the kids' bedrooms are mid-sized. Closet space is decent, and the newer windows are big and let in lots of natural light. There's also a four-piece bathroom that's been beautifully updated with grey tile flooring, white vanity, tub with grey tile surround (with a big obscured glass window above) and low-flush toilet that will cut down water-bill costs."
Moore said 268 Balfour is an ideal spot for a young family or empty nesters to put down roots because it's the complete package.
"Most importantly, it's a solid, well-maintained home that's been updated over the past five to 10 years. Its location is also incredible -- it's in a quiet, walkable area that's close to all kinds of amenities, including stores, shops, restaurants, schools, community clubs and downtown Winnipeg. It's also a house that's not a flip; the owners have been here for 30 years. There's nothing that hasn't been touched. It's ready to go for a family or empty nest couples who want to live in one of the city's most convenient, mature and desirable locations."