Huntly Wynd – the old world made new
Behind a brick and cedar wall in Richmond stands a luxurious townhouse community that is, in the words of developer Jack Caplan, “very British Columbian and very Californian. Very traditional and very contemporary.”
Certainly the design of the cedar and stone houses suggests a traditional Northern European village; but the ambience is that of the California desert. “We have used ideas that have come out of the past,” says Caplan, “but ideas brought up-to-date.”
The initial idea came to Caplan in 1974. It was an idea “not to enclose space, but to welcome it.” He began with a sketch of the skyline – “structured to admit light.” The completed 10-acre project seems a most happy blend of old and new: the protective warmth of an enclosed community, the serenity of a stream-and-woodland setting, interior appointments that provide the last word in contemporary convenience, and an approach to energy and land conservation that indicates an awareness of the demands of the coming decades.
“Finest in Vancouver” says Nielsen
“Likely the finest development of its kind in the Vancouver area,” said Environment Minister James Nielsen, at the official opening of Huntly Wynd.
Mr. Nielsen made the statement in an address to 300 guests at a reception in Huntly Lodge, the country club centre of the walled townhouse community.
The Minister, MLA for Richmond, complimented Caplan Builders on a fine addition to the municipality. “I’m most impressed,” he said.
Richmond Mayor Gil Blair also addressed the guests, including representatives of government, business, community groups and news media. “We welcome such as imaginative development,” said Mayor Blair. “And we welcome the new Huntly Wynd residents to Richmond.”
Jack Caplan praised the District of Richmond and the Greater Vancouver Regional District for co-operation received during development of Huntly Wynd.
In 1974, the firm won an award for its Somerset Mews project. “We are developers,” said Caplan. “not land speculators.” In 1975, Caplan’s Osterley Park was described as “an illuminating example of how flatlands can be converted by talented landscapers into an area of delightful vistas.”
Elegance in the age of ecology
The miniature village, while it reflects other times and other places, is unique. No further development will be allowed to alter the designer’s concept. Huntly Wynd will sit in its ocean of green space, a tranquil world unto itself. And, says Jack Caplan, “it will never be repeated.”
A model for tomorrow
“This is what society will have to do,” says Jack Caplan. “Less use of land, less use of energy – yet with a higher standard of living. This is how we will get people to conserve.”
Huntly Wynd is, in this ecological sense, an avant garde community – leading the way by consuming less. “The individual here may enjoy more,” continue developer Caplan, “but the group, as a whole, consumes less.”
The arrangement of townhouses, lawns, rockery, streams, waterfalls, tress, shrubs and tiny bridges is such that maximum use is made of available land. “I can tell you why every tree is where it is,” says Caplan.
The walled community has been designed to draw in sunshine and use less heat. Superior insulation requires less furnace use in winter, less cooling in summer. There is a significant energy saving realized.
The principle of recycling materials is part of Huntly Wynd’s new way of life. It may be the first community without garbage cans. Compactors and garburators in each townhouse have made the garbage can obsolete.
“What we have attempted to show at Huntly Wynd,” says Jack Caplan, “is how an economical use of land may be combined with a high standard of living.” The success of the concept may set a pattern for luxury developments of the future.
Design your own lifestyle
Lifestyles at Huntly Wynd may range from serene seclusions to butterfly brilliance. A contented life probably includes a little of each. And contentment is what there seems to be an infinity of, at Huntly Wynd.
Strolling the winding pathways of this picturebook village, one feels part of an unhurried way of life that has all but vanished. And Huntly Wynd has the warmth and friendliness of village life, as well. “Historically,” says developer Jack Caplan, “people live in groups.”
Within the walled world of Huntly Wynd, residents find the time and opportunity to develop new friendships and pursue their special interests. In Huntly Lodge, one may play a rubber of bridge or match cues over the billiard table. There is a large pool (used for aquatic highjinks at the grand opening by members of the Dolphin Swim Club), with adjoining sauna, whirlpool and exercise room.
The lodge has a large library and colorful party room when residents want to celebrate. And there is a workshop for hobby craftsmen.
Homes for Individualists
Step into one townhouse and you’ll feel that you’re in California, coming for sunset cocktails on the patio. Go to another townhouse along the winding walkway, and you’ll feel suddenly transplanted to the Mediterranean. Then visit a third, and sense the ambience of a home in an old Eastern university town.
The design of townhouses at Huntly Wynd is such that persons living in them may create exactly the environment they desire. The shape of the townhouses is wonderfully adaptable to any decorating concept.
Fashionable interior designer Peter Garrett has demonstrated this most dramatically in the three display homes at Huntly Wynd. Walking through them inspires ideas of their own in visitors’ minds.
The loft area of each townhouse has been left for use as each resident desires – roughed in, ready to become a sewing room, a studio, a plant room, or whatever.
Certainly Huntly Wynd welcomes individualists – persons who want to come in and make part of this unique community their own world within a world.
A park for your neighbor
A major Richmond park is to be developed beside Huntly Wynd. Twenty acres have been set aside by the municipality for use as parkland.
Huntly Wynd borders on what is described as “the passive part of the park.” Thus, the townhouse village will be surrounded by tranquil green space. “It was so quiet,” says developed Jack Caplan, “we had to have running water to break the silence.”
The carefree life
The uniformed gate-keeper touches his fingers to his cap in salute. “Good evening, sir, ma’am,” he smiles. “May I help you?”
This is one’s introduction to Huntly Wynd, the Richmond luxury townhouse village quite properly described as “a world unto itself.” The rambling acres of forest, stream and rock are surrounded by a high wall, and, to gain entrance, one must first speak with the keeper of the gate.
There is a gateman on duty 24 hours of the day at Huntly Wynd. As graciously mannered and discreet as a butler in a Wodehouse novel, he helps guests park, and then uses the Enterphone system (a direct connection to each residence) to inform the host of his guests’ arrival.
Of course, the presence of a gate-keeper at all times is an assurance of high security for Huntly Wynd residents.
There is, in addition, a resident caretaker. This maintenance expert supervises the care of grounds and all of the day-to-day upkeep required by the property. A Huntly Wynd resident may harden for pleasure, but he will never have to give a moment’s thought to the sort of maintenance that fills up many homeowners’ weekends.
Who’s who at Huntly Wynd
It was a veritable Who’s Who of government, business and media folk at the official opening of Huntly Wynd. Jack and Estelle Caplan were the hosts with the most, and they welcomed all sorts of beautiful ladies and distinguished gentlemen. (At least two of whom sported extremely nobby canes. Is this the beginning of a vogue?)
Swept along on the satin jazz of Al Wold, accepting a cream puff full of crevettes from cher Andre, but declining an opportunity to match strokes with Cliff Thorburn, we went snooping.
The Huntly Wynd concept is clearly reminiscent of places like Irvine, California and Phoenix, Arizona. The walled community nestled on 10 sun-drenched acres of Richmond is Ultimate Posh, from the livered gatekeeper to the babbling brook. The townhouses are esthetically pleasing, in a combination of brick and cedar, modern leaded glass, brass appointments and real shake roofs.
Residents, I imagine, will be the young and affluent who have made their personal commitment to zero population growth and the older, highly mobile set whose families have grown, leaving them ready to shed the responsibilities of the ancestral home but not prepared to settle for a highrise.
So far, the movers-in include the Jack W. Grahams, the John de Wolfes, the Duncan Browns, the Clark Robertsons and the Peter Birks. (Some have commissioned trendy Peter Garrett to design their homes’ interiors.)
Variations of the townhouse design include Wyndermere, Ryecroft and Croydon. Each is distinguished by the kind of long, dramatic stairway you’ve always wanted to sweep down (or be swept up). Master bedrooms lead to sunken marble tubs (divine decadence!) and other sensuous pleasure. In some of the front hallways there is a wet bar for an instant splashdown. And the kitchens include dishwashers and garbage compactors. You may never see the Man from Glad again.
The country club in the centre of all this (which is where the hoopla was going on, before I took you by the hand for this tour) is Huntly Lodge. It accommodates lounge, card room, pool, sauna, workshop and other play areas, all geared to the adult community that will reside here. It’s a good thing they have that pool and exercise room; if you’re not going to reproduce, you have to use up all that excess energy somewhere.
Sell the lawnmower
All of this luxury (and privacy, serenity and security) can be yours for about $125,000 – $150,000, depending on the townhouse chosen and its location. There is also a maintenance fee of $120, so you can definitely sell the power mower and watch someone else do the work.
The other nice thing about all that built-in security and maintenance is that you can trip off to Europe or Hawaii or the desert and leave your house with a care.
Alas, all too soon it was time to depart from this idyllic setting, driving past the smiling gatekeeper, through the brick gateposts and out into the workaday world.
“But that’s the appeal of Huntly Wynd,” said my companion, as we sped away. “It’s such a wonderful place to come home to.”
By Bill Forst
Right in the swing of things
For the golf enthusiast, an attractive home is second in importance only to the availability of golf courses on which to perform their club-swinging rituals.
For those who live in the Greater Vancouver area, these masochistic hungers can be readily gratified with a minimum of travelling. Few, if any, of the world’s major cities can make this boast.
The builders of Huntly Wynd, with thoughts of gracious living and readily accessible recreation uppermost in their minds from the very beginning of their planning, are certain to get top marks from their golfing friends.
There are no less than seven golf courses in the immediate vicinity (within 15 minutes or so of driving time) of Huntly Wynd. From the point of view of degree of difficulty (how many strokes will I use? and how long will it take me to play?) they range from pitch’n putt to the championship variety.
Marine Drive, Point Grey and Shaughnessy of the private courses are readily accessible, entailing a turn right on Marine Drive at the north end of the bridge and a straight run to the first tee.
Two of the toughest tests are Quilchena Golf and Country Club and Richmond Country Club. Both are private but have openings for individual men and women, as well as family setups. Quilchena, at 3550 Granville in Richmond, has reduced its entrance fees to $900 for men and $500 for women. Men can get in which a $500 down payment, with two years to pay the remainder. Al Kennedy heads an excellent pro staff and the course itself is in excellent condition.
Richmond club at 9100 Steveston Highway, has an attractive family plan. Entrance fee for mom, dad and all the kids is only $500. After that they pay dues ranging from $24 a year for youngsters to $80 monthly for a man and wife. Alf Tate is the pro, and a good one.
Beach Grove in Delta is another fine private club. The waiting list for men is down to about 10, with about 45 women in the same situation. Dave Roach is pro, a very easy guy to get along with.
Of the public courses, Greenacres at 504 No. 6 Road, Richmond presents perhaps the stiffest test. A very entertaining layout.
Tsawwassen, not far off the freeway on the way to the Vancouver Island ferry, is a beautifully kept layout. Pro Bill Hodgson will give you a warm welcome.
Delta Golf Course, at 11550 Trunk Road, through the Deas Tunnel to just below Scott Road, is a full length layout offering fine golf, full dining room facilities and a well-equipped pro shop. Esmond Lando built this course about three years ago and it has matured beautifully. Gert Niekerk is the pro.
Newest course in the Huntly Wynd region is Mylora, just off Highway 99 at Sidaway Road. Al Austin has a most attractive “executive type” layout, a great place for a fast but testing round.
For those Huntly Wynd residents who are members of clubs on the North Arm of the Fraser, the drive via Oak Street Bridge is short, with little traffic hassle during the off hours. Also readily available are Langara and McCleery among the public courses, with University and Fraserview not that much further off.
The fastest-growing sport in North America is tennis, and the community around Huntly Wynd is covered with courts; among them those at Richmond Tennis Club, Richmond Country Club, Richmond Squash and Racquet Centre, and Western Indoor Tennis, where a match will never be called because of rain.
Boaters will find Richmond’s River Road dotted with marinas, and both Richmond and Tsawwassen boast yacht clubs.
Come winter, there’s Richmond Winter Club at 8100 Cambie, to accommodate local Cranstons and Magnussens.
When they speak of “Country Club Living” at Huntly Wynd, one can readily appreciate the true meaning of the term!
The Highlands of Richmond
About thirty miles from Aberdeen and only ten miles from the North Sea stands Huntly Castle, rising from the rocky cliffs of the Highlands. While in Richmond, British Columbia, stand its namesake – Huntly Wynd.
The Scottish woodland setting of Huntly Wynd was created by landscaper Bob Buemann. Buemann brought 2,000 tons of rock from Cathedral Mountain for his design. Now ancient boulders punctuate the cool green lawns of this park-like land near the Fraser. One almost expects to hear bagpipes.
Some 400 trees and 3,000 ornamental shrubs decorate this suburban Brigadoon. Evergreens and deciduous trees form shadow patterns on the winding walkways; shrubs change colours with the seasons. In winter, the arrangement of trees allows maximum sunshine.
More than one-tenth of Huntly Wynd’s winding acres have been given to waterscaping. Running streams separate the townhouses and waterfalls gently ripple. It is often the only sound that can be heard.
The unwinding time
The pastoral charm of Huntly Wynd gives one the sense of being in Constable country, rather than a suburb nine miles from the corner of Granville and Georgia.
“It’s the closest country living to the city,” says Jack Caplan, explaining why Caplan Builders chose Richmond as the setting for their walled world of townhouses. Certainly Richmond is one of the last parts of Greater Vancouver offering the landscape the way it was. Low-rise development has preserved an unobstructed horizon. And probably other municipalities wish they could carry away some of Richmond’s clean air and abundant sunshine.
Life within the walls of Huntly Wynd is unusually tranquil and serene. Indeed, it was so awesomely still that landscape designers added running streams and miniature waterfalls to break the silence.
Outside the walls, there is a fine choice of restaurants and theatres, and excellent shopping areas (the large and lavish Lansdowne Centre is under construction five minutes away).
Two bridges, Oak Street and the new Arthur Laing, connect the peaceful community to the city – and the separation is, perhaps, a cause for thanks. The drive home in the evening is, in the words of one Huntly Wynd resident, “the unwinding time”.