I lived in FRAM+Slokker’s FIRST condo in East Village for six phenomenal months. Here are some of my highlights.
1. The Kitchen: In FIRST, the kitchen island was the hub of the house. It was my favourite place to work (close to the coffee and bathed in sunshine from the floor-to-ceiling windows); it was more than big enough for baking bread and rolling out pasta; and it was always up to the task of being the centre of attention during a party. Bonus: it’s moveable, so during a cocktail party when I had a lot of friends over, it was easy to push it against a wall to open up the space for mingling, while still keeping the cheese in easy reach.
2. Watching the sunrise… from the shower: My master bathroom was designed with a glass wall that let in loads of light from the huge windows that line the bedroom. In some units in FIRST, the glass is frosted, but mine was crystal clear. I can tell you there’s no wakeup quite like sudsing up in the midst of a fiery Chinook sunrise.
3. St. Patrick’s Island changing colours with the seasons: From summer to fall, the leaves on St. Patrick’s Island’s trees changed from bright green to deep oranges and yellows yet there were no apparent decline in the huge crowds of pedestrians and cyclists crossing the George C. King Bridge or dipping their toes in the water at Trout Beach or taking selfies with Bloom. Then I watched the frost overtake the branches on early winter mornings and the sturdy morning commuters and after-work runners. Next, the muted brown of spring beginning to break through. There’s something to be said for having so much life right outside your window.
4. Spacious gym: I always wondered if maybe I was a gym person, but I wasn’t a “drive to the gym” person. My gym experience at FIRST cleared this up for me. Having a gym a few floors away is a gamechanger. As a bonus, the equipment is all in the great shape, it’s a big, airy space and the windows let in lots of light so there’s no feeling of running on a treadmill inside a box.
5. SkyLounge: From getting a gorgeous 18-storey view of Calgary, to playing pool, to hosting dozens of friends at a party, the SkyLounge at FIRST is a gem. For me, it was a second home office for those days when I needed new scenery to help those creative juices flow. For many of my neighbours, it was a party space to rent out around the holidays and special occasions, complete with panoramic view, kitchen and bar space.
6. Security 24/7: There’s nearly always someone at the concierge desk at FIRST. If they’re not at the desk, it’s because they’re patrolling the premises, which is another layer of comfort in an already comfortable neighbourhood. I know that even if I’m coming home late, there are always eyes on the street.
7. Coffee on the balcony: One of the simple pleasures about living in an active neighbourhood is being able to watch the world go by. Coffee on my balcony in the morning sun is one of the easiest ways to relax and recharge for the day ahead.
8. Walk-in closet: Everyone dreams of having a walk-in closet, right? The master suite closet in FIRST was spacious enough to keep my dresser, hang up anything that needed it, plus store any out of season clothes. I wanted to twirl around the space every day, and yeah, there was room to do so.
9. Bike storage: FIRST’s bike storage is awesome. It’s secure but also conveniently near a building exit, and it’s sheltered from outside dirt. And with a bike wash bay, I was riding no matter the season.
10. Simmons proximity: Some have said it’s dangerous, but I think the deliciousness outweighs the caloric risks of being just steps away from Sidewalk Citizen, Phil & Sebastian and Charbar at the Simmons Building. My research shows that you could literally eat every meal at the Simmons and you would be happier for it.