A homebuying journey that beat all odds, and satisfied all needs.
As a writer, I am often presented with the task of bringing shine to that which is dull; creating a compelling narrative out of stories that may, at their surface, appear not worth telling. This ability to spin literary gold out of information that presents itself as straw, is what separates the true storytellers from those who simply record the facts and leave the opportunity to appeal to a reader’s emotions out of it.
However, every once in a while, I am presented with the type of story that merely requires my attention to the remarkable details, and due diligence in delivering them.
This story is one of the latter.
More than a story about a new homeowner finding the perfect fit for their unique style and lifestyle, this is a story of two masters of their own destiny, finding the home of their dreams within a community that checked all the boxes, thanks to a concerted effort by Brookfield to deliver an experience free from compromise.
Homebuying wasn’t new to Arnie Cay and Becky Liu; between Canada and China they had designed, built, bought and sold multiple houses and apartments over the years as they pursued their careers as entrepreneurs. Cut from similar cloth, Arnie and Becky both found themselves running businesses that came as a result of keeping their eyes open and pursuing that which brought them joy and satisfaction — and their path to finding the home of their dreams took a similar path.
The Cay’s first custom home was built in Evergreen, by Albi Homes (a company now owned and operated by Brookfield) and the same attributes that attracted Brookfield to purchase Albi, made loyal Brookfield brand ambassadors out of Arnie and Becky on the community side as well.
“Since the mid-80s, whenever we would buy a house, we would drive through neighbourhoods like Douglasdale and take the time to compare four or five of the show homes. Without fail, we found that Albi (Brookfield) homes were simply the best; their touches were just amazing!”
After moving back to Calgary after spending a few years in Montreal and Newfoundland, the Cay’s were excited to finally design their dream home, and Arnie hired a project manager to ensure he could get exactly what he wanted. They knew they wanted to build in Calgary, and already had a love for Albi-style homes, but aside from that, they had a whirlwind of decisions, adjustments, proposals and evolutions to make as they began to the plans for their ideal fit home.
“The process was intense, and both me and my wife dove into the planning headfirst. I’d have a business trip to Houston and I’d get a call saying that my wife had added another window or wall, in fact, it seemed the more I traveled, the bigger the house got — but in the end we had a true collaboration that reflected our style, preferences, wishes and more! Everyone said it was perfect for us, and it was, because we had added our personal touch to literally everything.” recalls Arnie.
The resulting home was the perfect fit, for a season, but like most things, the Cay’s lives evolved and their idea of the perfect fit evolved alongside it. And while many things about their home was open for change, who they trusted to do it right remained steadfast — and so they began looking for an appropriate Brookfield neighbourhood in which to build their next dream home.
Equipped with the perfect-fit builder and experience working to ensure the best-fit home, they began to seek out the ideal community in which to build their next (and potentially last) estate home.
Even before the Cay’s understood all of the high-value benefits offered by 2018’s Community of the Year, Artesia was a top choice, in part due to their love for homes built by Brookfield (formerly Albi). Sure enough, after a few visits, their draw to the Carrara 2 model and Artesia’s spacious lots, paired with the ability to live central to those in their family who already lived in Calgary, had them quickly eliminating previously considered alternatives.
In addition to its ideal setting and location, Artesia offered the type of lifestyle and attracted the type of like-minded homeowners that make for a community focused on offering that which matters most — respect, sustainability and the chance to escape the stress and chaos of the big city. As a couple that was far removed from wanting to settle in any area when it came to their estate home, the fit was undeniable.
There was just one small catch: Arnie was scheduled for a major heart surgery, and there was a chance, however small, that he may not live through it (odds which had recently not worked in a close friend’s favour).
Arnie explained his situation to Brookfield and suggested, tongue in cheek, that the only thing that could keep him from building his next home with Brookfield, would be if the results of his surgery were unfavourable.
Arnie remembers, “I didn’t want to build a dream home that my wife would have no interest in owning should I not be there to enjoy it with her, and I explained this to Brookfield.”
Arnie literally stated an “over my dead body” prerequisite for completing their home. Becky seized on the opportunity to give Arnie something better than his future procedure to focus his attention on.
“Designing our dream home became a pleasant distraction for Arnie, I wanted him to get his mind off of the surgery and onto something that could challenge him, consume his attention and bring him joy”, said Becky.
They had decided on the neighbourhood, the lot and the home model, but admittedly, this home would be the biggest, most customized home they had built, and they would need a building team that was willing to listen to their needs, consider their requests and deliver a final product that checks all of their boxes — fortunately they had all of this and more with Brookfield.
Leading up to the surgery, the Cays dove head-first into designing their home. Every detail was presented and examined before instructions were given. Wherever necessary, Brookfield would seek to understand the need that was being designed around, and make expert recommendations to ensure the goal was achieved as best possible.
Arnie’s surgery, perhaps serendipitously, landed on Christmas Eve. He awoke Christmas Day to learn that the surgery was a complete success, and excitedly got back to planning the build of their dream home.
On October 25, 2019, the Cays moved into their dream home in Artesia.
“The Only thing Missing is Hippopotamuses”
Becky’s business plans and facilitates African safaris, and they often long for the quiet evenings sitting at the edge of the waters listening to the hippos grunt in the Okavango in Africa. If possible, they longed for a home that could afford them the same connection to nature.
Arnie explained, “The reason we took the lot on the pond was for the familiar view over the water. And even though there aren’t any hippos or alligators here, the relaxing scene presented by our lakeside lot offers the tranquil evening views we both enjoy.”
Furthermore, even though the wildlife in Alberta is very different from that which the Cays see on safari, the fact that deer, elk, coyotes, (a neighborhood moose) and a plethora of Alberta-native wildlife can be viewed in the surrounding areas of Artesia provides the connection to nature that is so hard to find in other urban neighbourhoods.
Arnie explained, “We crave connection with nature, and Artesia not only offers that thanks to their natural surrounding environment, they also adhere to unique sustainability practices that ensure a longstanding fit between nature and that which has been built upon it.”
For example, Artesia prides itself as a community that has embraced sustainable practices that include solar energy initiatives, the preservation of native flora and one of the most innovative and environmentally friendly irrigation and rainwater harvesting systems in Alberta.
As well, the community of Artesia has gone to great lengths to leverage their location to offer as little light pollution as possible, making the night sky shine bright with the natural light of our solar system. This allows for stargazing and other night-sky viewing activities you just can’t get in the inner-city; and thanks to like-minded neighbours and neighbours who are equally invested in community, there’s plenty of organized activities for Artesia homeowners to enjoy.
Today, the Cay’s split their time between Calgary, Africa and China, but love to call Artesia home and revel in the ideal fit of every detail.
From curb appeal to community culture and impressive, estate-built homes, the community of Artesia has the ability to impress even those lucky enough to travel the world. If you are looking for a community that is truly unique, advantageously located and strategically operated — look no further than Artesia, and let nothing get in the way of you finding your ideal, forever home.