Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Vancouver Sun - Bose family farm opens up for development in Surrey

"If you should happen to arrive at the old Bose Farm on the right day at the right time, you might spot a man with a full head of white hair walking around. He has good posture and bright blue eyes; it seems hardly possible that he is in his eighth decade.

Roger Bose has made a habit of watching the development occurring on the Surrey land his family owned for more than a century, beginning with patriarch Henry Bose in 1892. As Bose walks the property, he reminisces about what the homestead used to be like.

“We used to have the cows pastured over here,” he gestures as he walks over a ridge of land. “We had registered purebred Holsteins, 125 when the herd was at its largest. They were some of the best cows in the country.”

They used horses to till the soil for potatoes. In the winter, the lower fields would flood and freeze, and people would come over to ice skate. The same horses would be pressed into service to pull sleighs.

In 1950, the land was subdivided into two parcels for two branches of the family; that partly triggered the decision to sell off the herd and convert the farm to producing vegetables, grain and hay. In later years, Roger Bose remembers holding huge community salmon barbecues, and allowing Girl Guide units to camp out.

In 2009, Rempel Development Group bought the parcel where The Ridge at Bose Farms is to be located. That began the delicate dance of preserving some areas of the land, and opening up other areas for development.

“The decision was made to pull the homes back to one portion of the property, to allow 12 acres of forest to be saved,” explains Nicole Castle of project marketer Fifth Avenue Real Estate. “Those lands were then donated to the City of Surrey.

The conservation efforts have also extended to some of the original buildings. A shed, built in 1948 to milk the cows, will become a potting shed for residents using the community garden.

The family home, which housed four generations of Boses (Henry, Roger’s father, Roger and his siblings, including former Surrey mayor Bob Bose, and Roger’s children), has been saved as well. It has been moved 350 metres to a new foundation.

When the 1924 residence is restored, it will contain two guest suites on an upper floor.
“The main floor will have a layout similar to what it would have been like in Henry Bose’s time,” says project architect Colin Hogan.

“There’s a kitchen, a living room, a library, an amenities room with a fireplace. We’re keeping the spirit of the space, instead of just using it as a shell for residential units.”

The old potato barn has been lovingly restored with wood salvaged from other structures on the farm.
They matched the old growth timber by species, and cut it to size using old-fashioned square cuts, meaning no rounded edges.

They fastened the new sections in by hand — no power tools allowed — and since all of the joins were exposed, every cut had to be perfect.

The gambrel roof soars overhead, supported by huge buttresses.

Gambrel roofs are no longer common. Think of an elongated trapezoid.

The upper portion of the roof slopes at a shallow angle, forming a broad, flatter surface; the lower part slopes sharply to the ground, creating “walls.”

The barn is naturally cooled by its foundation, and strategically placed cut-ins allow light to stream through. That makes it ideal for future use as workshops or artist studios.

The second floor will be set aside as an event area for the strata, to hold movie nights or celebrations.
It will be paired with a “country club” new amenities building with a giant glass wall facing the potato barn. People in the barn will always be able to watch the hub of activity, enlivening the development.

“Surrey has a very new feel to it. The city is growing very rapidly, and there is not a lot of heritage. It was important to help preserve all of this,” Hogan says.

The new homes have been designed to appeal to first-time buyers, young families and downsizers alike.

The hope is that they will form a mini-community of their own — of people who want the experience of living country-style, surrounded by farmland, while being only minutes away from city amenities like shopping, schools and entertainment.

The homes show off clean new details like kitchen islands with drawer storage, square dual kitchen sinks, stainless steel appliances, and high ceilings.

Central living areas are airy and filled with light; bedrooms are big enough to accommodate full-sized furniture.

Bathrooms have frameless glass shower doors, oversized floor and wall tiles, and contemporary vanities with deep sinks and plenty of storage space. Tubs are deep, suitable for soaking in, or cleaning up a couple of children at the same time.

They are modern touches for buyers who will own a part of Surrey heritage.

In keeping with the spirit of the Bose farm being a gathering site for the community over the years, the public release of the homes today will be marked with a harvest-style festival.

There will be live music, prizes, and not a few slices of pumpkin pie eaten. Don’t be surprised if you see a Bose or two too, marking the next stage in both their family history and the history of the city.”

Read the full article in The Vancouver Sun here.