With Careful Creative Design A Home Can Truly Be Transformed into a Work of Art: The Story of 12511 Grand View Drive

As you drive into the picturesque community of Grandview Heights you’re surrounded by beautiful mature trees. The community is like an island, bordered by the North Saskatchewan River valley to the north, Whitemud Creek Ravine on the south, and the University of Alberta’s farm. Grand View Drive itself takes you down along the north edge of the community which overlooks the stunning river valley, and that’s where you’ll find 12511 Grand View Drive. 

The house you see today is absolutely nothing like the original. Yet to stand back from it and really look, you would think that this beautiful modern luxury home - with its mix of black steel trim, pure white facade, and big beautiful glass windows and sleek sloped roof - has always been there. It looks like it was designed perfectly for the lot, fitting like a letter in an envelope under its mature tree canopy. For the homeowners – that was the goal! 

“When you’re doing a renovation/rebuild, you have to make it look like it was always there, but make it better than the originally designed home. It’s quite hard to do, but that’s what we specialize in,” says the homeowner. 

The owners of 12511 Grand View Drive - are professional designers, engineers, creators and artists. They live and breathe function, design and art. 

The homeowners laugh, as they tell the story of how they came to buy the home. 

“It was built in 1961. For sure it was the ugliest house on the block – a mustard coloured and whipped cream home. But we could see past all that. It had really interesting bones and had this very cool 60’s vibe. It was built by two brothers who were hotel builders in the city and so it was built to commercial standards. It was solidly built but not very attractive. It had a dance floor, a huge bar, and the pool. There is no doubt this place used to throw incredible parties and was quite the place in its heyday. We would always drive by and say, ‘We need to see the inside of that house.’ When it finally came on the market, it was out of our price range, but we drew up plans anyway as we had a vision for the house. Fortunately, the price came down and we were able to buy it,” say the homeowners.

There are so many incredible features of this house, it’s hard to know where to start.  The homeowners, being professional builders, designers and artists, have designed everything to perfection right down to the home’s newspaper holder at the front door and the custom address numbers/letters. With 7,443 sq.ft. of finished living space, 4 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, you are in awe with something every turn you make. 

Much of the wood removed from the original home was re-used in the new design to make stunning fir hardwood doors, floating desks, vanities, seating and shelves through the home. The front of the home is accented by a custom steel tree sculpture that stretches from ground to roof – a tribute to the two large tree that were removed to work on the house - creating both the structure for the exterior of the home’s glass front elevator, but also an artistic sculptural element to the front of the home that matches the treed vista that surrounds it. 

“We wanted crisp black and white styling as a background palette to make the natural wood features pop. This is consistent right through the house. This wood, concrete, glass and raw give it a zen/organic character.” 

The couple wanted to add an elevator which is difficult to do in a house because it takes valuable space out of all three floors, but they found a solution that actually adds even more artistic appeal to the space.  The elevator is tied into the upper floor cantilever and wrapped strikingly in Shou Sugi Ban (charred cedar) as a contrasting feature.

“We added the glass elevator to the exterior of the house to achieve functionality without interfering with layout or views . This however meant that it needed walkways to access the house.  The steel & glass platforms adjacent to the floating stairs became an art feature in themselves - the front entrance is vaulted so you can see up and into the home which creates an incredible feeling of space as you walk in.”

The pool in the basement was existing but has been completely re-done to make the pool area the perfect oasis. 

The hotel-sized 80,000 litre, fresh water indoor pool has an ECOsmarte® purification system.  It uses titanium plates and copper bars to sanitize and clean instead of chlorine or salt.  This makes the pool completely odourless, yet incredibly low maintenance.  It is also independently heated with humidity control and a heat recovery system. 

The fresh water means you can swim and not have to shower when you get out. The pool goes from 4 feet to 10 feet in depth with in-pool lighting, in-pool seating area and beautiful cedar wood accents. The space has a relaxation sauna and pool-side lounging area with artificial tropical plants and a large banana palm feature pot under a skylight at the far end. It truly is a magic space with great acoustics! 

On the second floor you’ll find 4 bedrooms, 3 of which have their own walk-in closets and en-suites. But unlike most homes with skinny hallways and many smaller bedrooms, the homeowners wanted fewer rooms, with generous hallways to create separation, privacy and space between areas.   

While the elements of white, black, glass, concrete and steel, might seem cold – this house is anything but. Skylights throughout the home let in lots of natural light on all 3 floors, and there is large artwork everywhere that brings in colour and visual awe. There is also an abundance of greenery throughout, with large oversized pots filled with stunning trees and plants that add pops of green and life everywhere. 

In the living room you’ll find a 4-foot diameter round pot with a large cocktail citrus tree that produces lemons and limes all year round, two giant fig trees in a zen garden divide the stunning kitchen and living room space. On the exterior there are herb gardens, plus ferns and potted plants everywhere throughout the home’s hardscaping that elevate the backyard design with concrete steps, retaining walls and a pond feature. The garden design is complemented with outdoor lighting throughout the backyard spaces.

The second level opens onto an absolutely breathtaking 1200 sq ft pool top entertaining area. This features a BBQ area with bar, a 12 ft. 12 person live edge dining table, spacious lounging area with pergola and overhead lighting, framed by attractive artificial grass on the perimeter, with plenty of room remaining for other activities. This deck space is the ultimate for outdoor entertaining and spending quality time together with family and friends or to host events.    

What makes this home different is that the living spaces are on the top floor with the bedrooms on the main floor. The result is that bedrooms remain naturally cool all summer, and warm all winter. The living room and kitchen take advantage of being right in the treetops of the home, with patio doors on all sides of the living space to let in a fabulous cross breeze and give incredible views of nature and wildlife.

The kitchen is a true chef’s kitchen. The white and steel kitchen has an immense island that immediately impresses. The island is made of 15 ft of engineered floating Statuario marble. This was created by constructing an engineered steel base hidden inside the floor. The island houses a Meile® cooktop, two sinks and custom wine rack. 

Just off the kitchen, enjoy easy access to the culinary kitchen garden with raised planters where you can enjoy your morning coffee at a café table for two in the sun. You will also appreciate the ability to eat alfresco on the covered and skylighted top front veranda.

Much thought was also given to the environmental function of the home. The slightly sloped roof  has the ability to capture all the water off the top of the house into a tank for home use.  The house has also been plumbed for greywater capture to water plants. The home has also roughed in the potential for solar panels on the south facing roof – so the home could potentially be self-sustaining if someone wanted it to be. 

Nothing has been overlooked in this home – it truly is a masterful rebuild, created out of all the passion and design skill of its homeowners to make it into one of Edmonton’s most stunning luxury homes on the market. 

To view the listing, visit the Holland and Associates website and reach out for a tour or more information. 

Photos Credit: Cheryl Silsbe Photography

Posted by Kerri-lyn Holland on


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