Having moved into their beautiful new home in Harmony on July 19, 2017, the O’Brien Family – Frankie, Christina, and their two children Jessalyn (6) and Joshua (4) — have already put in plenty of kilometers on Harmony’s extensive pathway systems.
Christina is a music teacher for K-3 at a private school in SW Calgary and also teaches some private lessons at her home studio “Creative Keys.” Frankie, originally from Portland, is the Canadian Sales Manager for Altra Running, although he admits Christina is really the avid runner.
“I hit the trails and the kids follow along on their bikes. As a routine, we try to take a walk as a family or get to Paintbrush Park most nights after dinner,” Christina says. “This summer, I also led some free outdoor boot camps in the Park. The rubber ground on the playground is awesome for working out, and it allows my friends and me to exercise while the kids play in the park.”
Frankie prefers sports like basketball, baseball, football and golf. Lucky for him there was enough space to build a small basketball court beside their garage in the backyard for friendly games of pick-up.
The O’Briens relocated to Harmony from Arbour Lake in Calgary’s NW, their home since 2005 after just marrying in 2004. “We actually loved it there, but we had been there for over a decade and were ready for a new floorplan to suit our family,” says Christina.
“Our Arbour Lake house was also close to Country Hills Blvd., and we wanted a quieter backyard for the kids to play in and for Christina to run her boot camps,” adds Frankie.
“We spent a couple of months looking at houses in Arbour Lake with our realtor and we just couldn’t find the perfect house without having to put a lot of extra money into renovations to get the open concept that we wanted. Then we discovered Harmony!”
Christina was driving along the TransCanada one day and remembers the Harmony signs and the word “LAKE” jumping out at her.
“Was this the answer to our house search? A new neighbourhood would likely have open concept floor plans, and it had a lake — the one thing that we didn’t want to give up!” Christina recalls.
That evening, Frankie and Christina immediately looked up the LiveInHarmony.ca website and drove out with the kids on the weekend to take a look early May 2016.
“We were impressed there was already a park for kids and fell in love with the ideals the community embraced – healthy lifestyles, more outside activities, lake life, and the Arts,” Frankie says. “The Arts component struck a chord with us because of our involvement with music. Both children love music and singing, and Christina in addition to teaching, directs the music team at our Church.”
“It only took us a few weeks to decide,” continues Christina. “We brought our realtor to check things out and help us with our home contract. He’s been in the business a very long time, and he thought Harmony would be a wise investment, so that helped us with our decision.”
The O’Briens decided to go with Baywest Homes in the Aspen Collection, and they couldn’t be happier.
“We liked that we could make so many changes to their existing floor plans,” explains Frankie. “We loved the openness of the Calliope plan, but it had a contemporary elevation, and we wanted something more rustic. After going through several drafts, we were pleased with the farmhouse elevation they designed for us.”
“We moved walls, redesigned the shape of some rooms, and made minor adjustments here and there just to fit a certain bookshelf, a piece of furniture, or the piano. We honestly feel like now we are living in a custom home!” Christina adds.
“Can we say we love all the opportunities to PLAY as a family?” Christina asks. “We love playing together, whether that’s at the park, the lake, making music, shooting hoops, sledding, board games, or going for a bike ride. With the lake, the amount of green space, and all the running paths here, Harmony has really made fun family time easy.”
The O’Briens have also appreciated the sense of community that has been created in Harmony. The process of making friends and meeting people started right after the family signed with Baywest, describing how they attended the large community events like Picnic in the Park and the Fall Fair, as well as the resident “Paint Night” mingler and community “Potluck Dinner” at The Discovery Centre.
“Community is so important. Nobody wants to feel isolated. Everyone wants to have close friends and neighbours you can rely on and experience life with together. We met many wonderful people this summer, and we’ve been excited to welcome the neighbours as they move in.”
While they are enjoying the quiet atmosphere, active lifestyle, and beautiful sunrises and sunsets –being such a musical family, what’s one special Harmony dream they have?
“To one day perform with my daughter Jessalyn at the Village Amphitheatre!” Christina smiles.