The housing market in Saskatchewan is booming these days. Residents seem to have been relatively unscathed by the recession that has dented the rest of the country. The consensus is that houses had been undervalued for a number of years, and as the market declined in neighbouring Alberta, the overflow of business came to Saskatchewan. Local prices are strong and are continuing to rise, and earlier this month, RBC released data that revealed it is more affordable to buy a house in Saskatchewan than in other provinces.
All these factors contribute to a strong housing market. And with that invariably comes a housing boom. We’ve seen it before; cookie cutter houses sprout up that favour quantity over quality. City skylines become overcrowded with condo towers. It’s like the fast food of development: all flash and no substance.
A home is one of life’s greatest and most important investments, and one that ought not to be made with consideration to speed and mass production. Rather, it is one of life’s opportunities to slow down and take one’s time. It is the chance to build something that will serve generations.
Evans Development understands this. The exact opposite of a hasty home builder; they are the Guinness beer of homebuilders: established, admired and worth the wait.
Evans Development has been a part of Saskatchewan real estate development for two generations. The grandmother of owner Merna Evans was the inspiration for the company, as matriarch Mae Silversides bought, renovated and sold homes. Merna’s mother, Venetta Evans, was president of the Regina real estate board and director of the Canadian real estate board. Evans Development was incorporated in 1988 and has been successfully developing the Saskatchewan real estate since then. They channel their efforts into residential construction and specialized infill (instead of new subdivisions).
They are a very small but efficient company. Evans Development has six employees. Evans explains, “we are a tight knit group and we have been working together a long time.” The small company only takes on one or two projects at a time, that it receives maximum concentration and effort.
Their current project is Evans Court, in the established Saskatchewan area of Wascana. The project is done with consideration to the existing community with attention being paid to maintaining the present continence and architecture. For instance, the Wascana development is predominantly done in the Craftsman style. So Evans has educated herself and staff on Craftsman, its 19th century origins and its evolution via Frank Lloyd Wright, and and the company is doing Evans Court in an updated version. It is interesting to note Wright is famous for blending his architecture with the environment. “We have emulated his philosophy and found it to be very successful,” Evans adds. “It’s an update with the best of both worlds, for we are developing the time-honoured Craftsman style, while incorporating new technology. We have very energy efficient homes with all the modern conveniences.”
Evans’ formal education in urban planning is an asset to her company that should not be underestimated. She does not lose the forest for the trees. “I approach the building business far differently than my colleagues. I build total communities.” Indeed, Evans Development has an eye for detail that has not gotten lost in the incongruous landscape of mass-development. “We are very pleased that our clients are waiting for us to continue with our projects,” says Evans. Evans Development has remained a thriving and successful building company the old-fashioned way—by building quality homes that will never go out of demand.