The north end of the city of London, Ontario is in a constant state of development these days, and a big part of the reason as to why is The Ironstone Building Company. Founded in 2010, the Ironstone Building Company is one of the newest and busiest new home builders in the city of London. Managed by David Stimac (formerly of Stoneridge Homes) and Allan Drewlo (formerly of Drewlo Homes), the Ironstone Building Company practices a simple, yet devastatingly effective philosophy. They build affordable new homes with top-grade materials and using top-grade skilled trades workers. This sounds uncomplicated but underneath it lies a lot of key assumptions about how the business of building homes should work. It’s a philosophy that means that, underneath everything, the potential homeowner should have some say in the house that’s being built; it should be done right, and to specification.
The neighbourhood of Napa is the latest building development featuring homes by the Ironstone Building Company. Located between Clayridge Way and Valhalla Street at the northeast end of the neighbourhood of Hyde Park, Napa is characterized by California style homes with beautiful modern finishes. The exteriors are gorgeous, and the interiors feature state-of-the-art touches across the board. Furnaces are natural gas fired, high-efficiency forced air. The hot water heaters are also natural gas fired. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are all hard-wired into the house system. All homes come pre-installed with four cable television inputs and three landline telephone inputs. Exhaust fans are built into all bathrooms. All bathroom faucets are MOEN brand single-lever faucets. The main bathroom in all houses features a one-piece acrylic tub and shower, and all showers feature pressure balanced faucets.
The Delano is a gorgeous two-storey California-inspired home with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms, comprising 1690 square feet of space. The covered porch – a perfect place to put a seating area – leads into a foyer with a stairwell that has the option for a railing along the bottom half. The foyer also has an entryway into the garage and into the downstairs half-bathroom. The living room has a large window to let in vast amounts of natural light, and comes with the option for a gas-fired fireplace. The kitchen and dining room are open concept. The division between the two is in the form of an island with dual sinks and optional space for dishwasher. The remainder of the kitchen has a large amount of counter space for elaborate meal creation. The dining room also has a sliding glass patio door that leads out into the backyard.
The upper floor has a study nook in the front corner of the house, around the corner from the top of the main stairway. Both standard bedrooms have ample closet space; the front bedroom has a corner-window setup that makes a perfect spot to put a reading nook in the rom. The main bathroom features vanity, toilet, and combination bathtub-shower. The master bedroom has a large walk-in closet with enough space for both occupants and an ensuite bathroom with vanity, toilet, and glass shower stall.
The Fresno is a large three bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home comprising 1,839 square feet; it’s expanded size makes it perfect for family living in a comfortable, California-inspired home. Like other Ironstone designs in the Napa neighbourhood, it features a covered porch that is the perfect spot for a breezy summer seating area. The foyer is beautifully tiled and contains the downstairs washroom, which comes with vanity and toilet. Outside of the foyer, the rest of the main floor is open concept. The great room is spacious, with large windows in the corners that let in the perfect amount of natural light. The kitchen offers a great deal of counter space as well as an island that contains the dual stainless steel sinks. An option for a breakfast bar also turns the space between the kitchen and the great room into the perfect little breakfast nook. The breakfast nook area is also the space where the glass patio doors allow access into the backyard.
The upper floor contains the laundry facilities as well as the main bathroom, which features vanity, toilet, and a combination bathtub-shower. The two standard bedrooms are located at the front of the house; both have large closets and feature large windows. The front half of the upper floor also contains a loft area, perfect for a small television room, studying area, or artist’s space. The master bedroom features a large walk-in closet with enough space for division into ‘his and hers’ sections, as well as a large ensuite bathroom that has a dual sink vanity, toilet, and glass shower stall.
The Fresno build also has the option for a finished basement space that adds 569 square feet of space, including a spot for a gas-fired fireplace and an additional full bathroom.
The Carmel is the smallest of the three houses on offer at Napa, but you’d never know it from the efficient way it’s designed. It’s a two bedroom, two bath build, comprising 1,530 square feet. Inside the front entrance is a small foyer, with the main floor bathroom to the left when you walk in. The foyer opens into the open-concept dining room, kitchen, and living room. The kitchen is set apart by the wraparound counter, which gives enough space to put together even the most complicated meals. The master bedroom is entered from the living room, and features both a large walk-in closet and an ensuite bathroom with sink, toilet, and tub-shower.
The upper level has room for a small seating area off of the stairs, in an area that functions as a balcony that looks out over the living room. The rest of the floor is the second bedroom, with closet; another bathroom also opens out on to the upper floor seating level. This configuration makes the Carmel the perfect house for a variety of living situations. Are you a couple with an older child? Parents don’t need to have their living space cluttered up with their child’s belongings. Young professionals looking to room together rather than take on the added financial burden of sole home ownership? The Carmel can be practically divided into two pseudo-apartments with a shared kitchen and dining area. It’s a versatile, efficient build that maximizes the potential of the space it occupies.
The Catalina is a spacious three bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom build taking up 1,632 square feet that offers a little something for everyone. The main floor opens up into an open concept area that contains the perfect space for a seating area in one corner and the kitchen in the other. The kitchen is a wraparound counter-and-cupboard concept that offers a huge amount of counter space that offers more than enough space to put together even the most complicated of meals. The kitchen counters also offer a small breakfast bar area, and the space behind the breakfast bar offers a great area to put a small, intimate family dining area together. The open concept downstairs makes it a great place to have family or neighbourhood gatherings, and makes hosting a breeze.
The upper floor’s two standard bedrooms are both at the front of the house, with large windows and closet space. The main bathroom is at the end of the hallway off of the stairs and features a vanity, toilet, and combination bathtub and shower. The master bedroom is quite large, and the natural light let in by the window shows off just how spacious it really is. The walk-in closet is large enough to accommodate a ‘his and hers’ section and the ensuite bathroom is roomy, with a vanity, toilet, and glass shower stall.
The Berkeley takes up 1618 square feet (with an additional 446 square feet of finished basement available if desired). Three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and up to two half bathrooms fit into this space, and the emphasis on making everything work comfortably means those rooms end up being quite large.
The front porch opens onto the entryway, where the first half-bathroom gives comfort as soon as you step into the house. The entryway also provides easy access to the single-car garage. A small stairwell brings you up into the bright, spacious open concept kitchen, living room, and dining area. The wide counters provide more than enough room for meal preparation and also for quick, casual meals when a full setup at the dining area would be impractical. On the other side of the dining area, sliding glass doors provide a great deal of natural light and easy access to the back yard.
The upper floor of the house provides the real genius of how much can fit into this space. The upper floor is a split-level, combining two tiers of living. The first level contains the spacious master bedroom, with full ensuite bathroom and a large walk-in closet.
The second level contains two bedrooms, roomy, well-lit, and with closet space. A full bathroom occupies this level as well, with separation between a ‘powder room’ with vanity and a small section with toilet and a bathtub-shower combination. The basement level adds even more living space, although the finish for the basement is optional. If the basement is finished, it adds a large open space that is perfect to make into a rec room, or to install a bar in, or to turn into the ultimate home theatre.
The Monterey is the ultimate mid-size offering at Napa; at 1654 square feet it features three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. The entryway is spacious and provides access to a half-bathroom, a front hall closet, and the single-car garage. It opens onto a large open-concept living space that combines a seating area, dining area, and kitchen. An island sits in the midpoint between the three parts of the room, providing extra counter space as well as a breakfast bar with extra seating. It’s a design that gives itself over to space and light, and makes the perfect place to have both family dinners and neighbourhood get-togethers.
The upper floor is perfectly laid out so as to fit two regular bedrooms, a full bath, and a separate living space with room enough for television, seating, and a spot to hunker down and get some work done. Down the hall from this second living space is the master bedroom, which features a full ensuite bathroom and a large walk-in closet with room for storage. It’s an intricate design that manages to pack an impressive amount of elements into one space and yet not ever once feel crowded.
The basement comes unfinished naturally but like the others has an option to be finished; finishing the basement brings another 562 square feet of space, a third living area, another full bathroom, and the option of an installed fireplace.
Having grown up around London, it’s sometimes hard to see Hyde Park as something other than the tiny little farming village that it was even as short as twenty years ago. Back then there were a few shops, a few houses, and acres upon endless acres of farm fields stretching out into the horizon. Now, though, it’s an up-and-coming neighbourhood, the kind of place that drives growth in the City of London. Many of the residential homes, schools, and shopping destinations are fairly new, and it’s the now the model of how to successfully blend urban living with rural comforts.
There are three main London Transit Commission routes into and out of the Napa neighbourhood. The #19 route offers access between the Hyde Park Power Centre (SmartCentres London Northwest) and Downtown London. The #31 connects the Hyde Park Power Centre and the campus of Western University, dropping riders off at Alumni Hall. The #39 connects the Hyde Park Power Centre to the shopping hub of northwest London, Masonville Mall.
The local public elementary school is Emily Carr Public School, located on Hawthorne Road. For Catholic families, the Saint Marguerite D’Youville Catholic Elementary School is the nearest Catholic elementary school. Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School is the local public secondary school, and for Catholic secondary school education Saint Andre Bessett Catholic Secondary School can be found on Fanshawe Park Road West. Both Banting and Saint Andre Bessett offer specialist programs that allow students to complete the requirements of the Ontario secondary school curriculum while focusing their efforts on a particular industry
Protestant families will find a number of churches in the vicinity of Napa, including St. Ansgar Lutheran Church on Lawson Road; West Park Church on Gainsborough Road; Forest City Community Church and Forest City North Church (both non-denominational); Trinity Presbyterian on Gainsborough Road; and Goodness and Mercy Baptist, just south of the two “Forest City” churches. For those of the Anglican or Catholic faith, St. Aidan’s Anglican and the Holy Family Parish are just a little further south along Hyde Park Road.
Members of the Muslim faith will find that their closest mosque is the North London Islamic Centre, located a little ways out into the country along Fanshawe Park Road West in the village of Lobo. Jehovah’s Witnesses will find a Kingdom Hall on the other side of Fanshawe Park Road West, closer to Wonderland Road. Jewish practitioners, meanwhile, will find a reform synagogue at Temple Israel of London along Windermere Road, near the Western University campus; a conservative synagogue at Or Shalom Congregation on Adelaide Street south of Windermere Road; or an Orthodox synagogue at Beth Tefilah Synagogue a block or so north of the Or Shalom Congregation.
Napa is surrounded by spots where you can get both quick meals and longer table-service meals, depending on what you’re looking for at the time. The SmartCentres just next door has most of the fast food options you’re looking for, including KFC, Taco Bell, McDonalds, and Wendys, but also Sushi Galore, which has an excellent lineup of buffet sushi and features the coolest aquarium in a London restaurant. On the corner of the SmartCentre is one of the best breakfast places in the city, The Singing Chef; the restaurant fills up quickly on the weekend so it’s best to get in early. This part of the plaza also features the local Starbucks. There are two ice cream shops in the SmartCentre, so on busy summer nights you don’t have to wait in line quite as long. On the north side of Fanshawe Park Road West are the bigger chain restaurants, including Boston Pizza and Kelsey’s. A little south on Hyde Park Road, near the intersection with North Routledge Park, is the city’s newest Mandarin, which is perennially the premier destination for birthday dinners in the area. If Thai food is what you’re looking for, the little restaurant of Thai Cuisine at the corner of Hyde Park Road and Gainsborough Road is one of the best-kept secrets in the city. At that same intersection is Sissio’s Pizza, which will quickly become your neighbourhood pizza joint. For those nights when Chinese food fits the bill, Wong’s Garden is located down Fanshawe Park Road West, near the intersection with Wonderland Road.
The area around Hyde Park Meadows has a wide variety of recreational options to suit whatever your personal needs are. Nature lovers will find lovely trails to walk in the Walnut Woods Trail, perfect for whiling away a couple of hours with the family and/or the dog, or an entire afternoon in the Medway Valley Heritage Forest, which can be accessed on the east end of Gainsborough Road. Baseball diamonds and playground equipment can be found a Nor’West Optimist Park and Jaycee Park, both of which can be found within the area around Hyde Park Meadows. A number of fitness firms operate in the area as well, including gymnastics clubs, dance studios, yoga studios, and martial arts dojos.
With the PowerCentre right next door, virtually anything you need is available. Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire are the anchor stores of the complex, but there are a staggering amount of other stores that can get you what you’re looking for. If you can’t find it, however, the commercial hub of Masonville Mall is just a few minutes drive to the east. If what you’re looking for is a little more industrial (or expensive), the area on the other side of Hyde Park Road has stores that offer items ranging from computers to bathroom fixtures to crafting supplies and more. Over on the other side of Fanshawe Park Road West, the wonders of rural Ontario await, giving you access to all the fresh produce that summer living in the country can provide.