This blog post was originally published on the Edmonton Real Estate Blog by Holland & Associates

A Collaborative Approach for a Japanese Industrial-Style Home

Sitting down with David and Jackie in their home at 10439 Saskatchewan Drive, it’s immediately clear the level of love, dedication, and collaborative effort that went into creating the perfect home for their family. Featured in Western Living Magazine, the house has garnered well-deserved admiration over the years.

It’s bittersweet for the original homeowners to place it on the market, but as they enter a new chapter in life, it’s time to offer another lucky family the chance to create memories in one of Edmonton’s most sought-after riverside locations.

Join us as we explore the meticulous attention to detail and innovative features that make this home a standout in the Edmonton real estate market, highlighting the exceptional partnerships and extraordinary creativity that brought this home to life.


Located in the thriving and historic Old Strathcona along one of the city’s most notable streets known for its river and skyline views, 10439 Saskatchewan Drive stands as a testament to truly unique design.

This 5,275 sq. ft. home, completed in 2003, was a collaborative effort between builder Habitat Studio and homeowners David and Jackie, who infused the home with the perfect blend of industrial design and Japanese influences inspired by David’s cultural heritage.

An interior designer herself, Jackie had a distinct vision for creating a home that felt far from cookie-cutter – something with character that reflected the couple’s unique tastes. Habitat Studio was up for the challenge.

A custom home builder known for its energy-conscious mindset, Habitat has been designing and building homes in the Edmonton area for 32 years. Every home is unique, and the builder prides itself on “turning dream homes into real homes,” something it was able to effectively achieve with this Strathcona build.

“Peter Amerongen at Habitat [Retired, Former Partner at Habitat Studio] – we love him. He really got the vision and understood exactly what we were trying to do,” says Jackie, original homeowner of 10439 Saskatchewan Drive.

“The home turned out honestly perfect. We weren’t disappointed with anything,” adds her partner David. “We had an amazing experience. Everyone – Peter, the Site Sups, trades, office staff… Everyone was amazing.”


The seamless fusion of industrial design and Japanese influence is evident in the exterior of this home, an iconic fixture on Saskatchewan Drive. The homeowners wanted the exterior to mirror the interior’s design style while maintaining harmony with the area’s riverside setting.

An arched bridge reminiscent of traditional Japanese gardens leads to the front entry where reclaimed wood beams capped with iron form a unique pergola design. Rockwork in the front landscaping pays homage to the North Saskatchewan riverbed, while rain chains add a touch of industrial flair.

A tall, peaked roofline accommodates expansive front-facing windows to make the most of the lot’s incredible downtown skyline views, but it’s the home’s copper-clad façade that garners the most attention.

“For years people have been saying to me, ‘You know the copper house on Saskatchewan Drive?’ They still reference it. It’s famous,” says Trevor Hoover, Partner, Senior Designer, and current President of Habitat Studio.

One-of-a-kind, the copper has developed a natural patina over time, a feature cherished by both the homeowners and passersby alike.


“I always thought I’d buy an old house and renovate because then you have that instant character. But David didn’t want to inherit the problems of an older home. I didn’t want cookie-cutter, so we built in the character ourselves. My husband is Japanese, and we lived in Chicago during his residency and fell in love with the lofts and brownstones there. Building this home we were trying to bring some of that here to Edmonton while honouring his heritage. I wanted something very unique.” – Jackie

Stepping into the main floor you can’t help but be struck by the uniqueness of the space with so many incredible design elements that captivate the eye. An eclectic mix of materials is used with reclaimed timber posts, recycled from an old grain elevator, serving both function and flair. These are capped with industrial-style metalwork from Stainless Dreams, a local metalwork company specializing in one-of-a-kind designs.

Steel I-beams not only provide structural support for the 9-foot ceilings but also serve as a design element with a natural patina beloved by the homeowners lending to the desired loft-style feel.

“When the metal beams first arrived they sat in the backyard and developed a rust. I really like the look of it. You can even see rusted boot prints from where workers had stepped on the beams while they were outside. I hope that someone will appreciate that as much as I do.” – Jackie, known for her incredible eye for unique design.

Japanese Shoji-style doors divide the main floor den from the dining space, contrasting beautifully with the rough-cut spruce ceiling. Traditionally crafted from paper, Habitat Studio opted for a thin panel of milky textured fibreglass for the door’s inserts to mimic the traditional Japanese look. This choice still allowed natural light to stream through but with enhanced durability.

“Even the floor is unique,” says David. “We loved the look of a traditional tatami mat but obviously that isn’t practical. Habitat took Medex MDF sheeting and cut it into large tiles for the look we wanted. They stained it and added a urethane on top and it really pops.

We were strategic about how it’s laid. It’s simple, yet has slight variation in each tile. The depth of the colours… It’s exactly what we wanted.”

Sustainability and a mindful use of materials were also important to the couple. On the main floor, they creatively used the offcuts from the timber posts as wooden tiles in the home’s foyers and they salvaged an old window pane from the original structure on their lot to create a beautiful stained glass art piece you’ll find near the side entry.


The kitchen is at the heart of the home, anchored by an expansive island with a custom-made metal hood fan with unpolished edges for a rustic industrial look. A deliberate mix of materials is used throughout the space with a combination of stainless steel and cherry wood flat-panel cabinetry alongside concrete and granite countertops, as well as a glass extension offering additional seating.

A built-in desk with stainless steel cabinetry adds additional functionality to the space.


The sunken great room occupies the rear of the home featuring a striking monolithic concrete fireplace flanked by two terrace doors that flood the space with natural light. Built-in shelving divides the great room from the kitchen to create a space purposefully designed for living.

“It’s big. It’s grand. Family-focused,” says David. “It’s truly a ‘great’ room.”


As you make your way upstairs along the industrial metal staircase, you’ll notice a unique light fixture spanning multiple stories.

“I wanted a soft white stream of light that goes from top to bottom through the stairwell,” says Jackie. “Peter [of Habitat Studio] and I designed this together.”

The upper floor boasts three bedrooms and two bathrooms along with plenty of practical storage throughout, but it’s the little details on this floor that leave a lasting impression. From the slightly lowered ceiling height in the primary bedroom to create a cozier ambience, to the unique concrete trough sink in the ensuite, every element on this floor was carefully considered.

Spacious and functional, the primary boasts its own front-of-house balcony and fireplace, providing the perfect retreat for enjoying your morning coffee, either indoors or out.

More salvaged materials from the lot’s original home find new life on the upper floor. Refurbished parlour doors separate the ensuite from the primary bedroom and walk-in closet, while a clawfoot tub, restored and painted by a local artist to match the tile flooring, adds character.


The secondary bedrooms offer unique features seldom seen in today’s real estate market. Mirrors of each other, both rooms boast sky-high ceilings, a built-in window bench, and ship ladder stairs leading to an upper-floor loft space.

Ideal for little adventurers, a functioning reclaimed window allows passage from room to room, while a “hidden door” off each loft connects the bedrooms to the upper floor office. A salvaged door handle in one of the lofts adds a touch of whimsy to the space.


The upper floor loft stands as the home’s crown jewel, a versatile space perfect for a study, with bamboo flooring throughout. The rough-cut spruce ceiling and metalwork from downstairs are repeated in this space ensuring continuity throughout the home. A skylight, expansive windows, and a unique sloped ceiling complete the room.

“I’ve spent a lot of time up here,” says David, who uses the loft as a home office. “I have the entire River Valley right outside my window. I’ve watched the Walterdale Bridge being built. I’ve watched them build Rogers Place. Sitting up here, I’ve watched the city grow.”

Jackie adds, “When we built this home, we wanted to really take advantage of the view. We bought this lot specifically for the views of downtown.”

As such, a rooftop patio was paramount. Accessible via an industrial-style metal ladder in the upper floor den, the views from the rooftop exterior space are limitless.


Finding a new homeowner who appreciates the care, consideration, and one-of-a-kind design that went into this home would be a dream come true for this downsizing couple. And given the home’s distinctive charm and story behind it, it’s sure to capture the heart of anyone who tours it.

“Back in 2004…I think David and Jackie had been in the house for about a year. I was touring the Director of Western Living Magazine through some homes here in the city and as soon as he walked into this one his eyes lit up. He was walking around the home with his hands like this,” [gestures and makes a photo frame with his fingers]. “It was our first house that made Western Living Magazine.” – Trevor Hoover, Partner, Senior Designer, and current President of Habitat Studio.

10439 Saskatchewan Drive has just recently hit the market and if the home itself doesn’t win you over (though we’re confident it will), you won’t be able to resist its prime Old Strathcona location. For information and viewings, see our friends at Holland & Associates.

This blog post was originally published on the Edmonton Real Estate Blog by Holland & Associates