Calgary Living

  • The sofas with fabric from Kravet are custom through Elle Design. The stone top coffee tables are from Ethan Allen. Wall colour, Pittsburgh Paints Ostrich Feather.
  • Dining Chairs custom through Elle Design, fabrics by JF fabrics and Kravet. Dining Table and Sideboard custom through Modern Country Interiors. Lighting custom Zia Priven light through Stonegate Designs. Mirror Chintz & Co.
  • "Not everything has to be the star in a room. Some finishes and elements are supporting players. Pick your focus." ~ Leanne

“There’s no greater compliment to a designer than being asked to do a second (or third) project for a client,” says LeAnne Bunnell of Elle Design in Calgary.

When repeat customers hired interior designer LeAnne Bunnell to transform an intended bachelor pad into a comfortable family home they knew they were in great hands. After all, they’d worked with LeAnne before and were confident she had the skill to bring their design and lifestyle visions to life.

Were they pleased? They’re already working on their next project together.

LIVING
The living room is open to the kitchen and provides access to the backyard. LeAnne resisted any temptation to make this room “formal” as the family wanted a cozy space for casual entertaining.

DINING
The beadboard ceiling and textured grass cloth walls emphasize the more traditional elements of the design while providing a comfortable atmosphere for adult or family entertaining. The fabrics are all washable.

“Dining rooms should be used frequently. Obviously for eating, but also for making family memories.”

Photography by Adrian Shellard

Modern History

  • Sunlight fills the entry, throwing light onto stone walls likely more than 400 years old.
  • A series of glass paneled doors greets the entry and closes to offer privacy (when combined with blackout shades) in the master bedroom.
  • The building’s shell is composed of a combination of pottery and beach sand. The bisque and terracotta colours create natural warmth in the coved dining room.
  • The architects created distinct viewpoints in each of the rooms, often providing a glimpse into adjacent spaces. The organic shaped coffee tables and rustic woven rug support a mandate to use natural, raw materials.
  • The Mediterranean Sea is reflected in a mirror that brings light into the spare living space. The cable strung staircase rises gracefully to the master bedroom above.
  • The galley kitchen efficiently carves utilitarian space into the home and provides those in residence with an expansive view of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Sleeping quarters are stacked above the living room, where they enjoy full ocean views.

Set above the harbor, facing the majestic Mediterranean Sea in Old Jaffa, is an ancient structure given new life by the thoughtful architects hired to restore its integrity.

Though it’s difficult to determine the structure’s exact age, it is clear that it is hundreds of years old. Over time, changes and additions had damaged the original integrity of the dwelling. The central ideal, therefore, was to restore the original characteristics—the stone walls, the segmented ceilings and the arches—to peel back and expose the original state.

The language of minimalism embedded in a historic residence in Old Jaffa.

“Surprisingly modern, minimalistic construction styles (especially ancient ones) allow us to create new spaces that blend periods together—even intensify them because of the contrast and tension between the ages.” ~ Pitsou

The historical is expressed by preserving the textures and materials of the building’s outer shell and by respecting the engineering accordingly.

The modern is expressed by opening spaces and altering the internal flow, and by incorporating natural materials such as stainless steel, iron and wood.

Pistou’s project succeeds in both honoring and preserving the historical and romantic values of the structure while creating a contemporary project suited to today’s lifestyle.

Designed by Pitsou Kedem, Raz Melamed & Irene Goldberg

Photography by Amit Geron

Spring Forward

  • Panelled walls and cofferred ceiling, were designed and installed to satisfy the clients’ craving for architecture more commonplace in stately east coast homes. The sunburst mirror is a “placeholder” to enjoy until a large scale piece of artwork is purchased.
  • Art: Oil painting by artist Michelle Armas provides a counterbalance to the geometric prints on the furniture and pillows.
  • Kitchen: The all-white kitchen gets its drama from dark stained 5” wide rift cut white oak floors, with a Rubio Monocoat oil finish. The table and Navy chairs are Restoration Hardware.
  • Dining Room: White panelled wainscotting is handsomely paired with a Phillip Jeffries grass cloth (Manila Hemp Graphite 3444). The head chairs, backed in raspberry, create a flow of colour from room to room.
  • Children's Bedroom: Fiorella likes to take her colour cues from the clients—pink and green are obviously a favourite combination for the girls (age 4 and 6) in residence.
  • Family Room: “We rotated the kitchen and removed walls so all the rooms face the back yard and pool area.”

When clients moved from Connecticut to sunny Menlo Park, it didn’t take them long to shed those extra layers required for warmth back home and embrace their new lighter California lifestyle.

The designer created a blend of east coast-west coast that would respect her client’s love for architecture with a pedigree and inject a more playful west coast palette.

The result? Springtime, year round.

Photography by Frank Paul Perez

Less is More? Which way do you Dabble?

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Sure. We can appreciate the purity of a room with no visual distractions. But we can also appreciate a room that’s actually decorated.

Who’s having more fun? The spare and disciplined? Or those who surrender to colour,  pattern and accessories?

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Which way do you Dabble?

Colour Flow – From One Room to Another

Calgary’s Nyla Free is one busy designer. Little wonder as her work is fresh, original and always engaging.

Watery blues from the oil painting that dominates in the dining room are echoed in the sofa’s toss cushions, creating harmony and flow within the space.

How do you create flow from one room to another? Do you think flow is important? 

Sophisticated Gray

Just as there’s no piece of clothing that actually conforms to the body size of everyone, there’s no such thing as a single gray that is always right.  In fact, gray can be one of the trickiest colours to work with as its undertone is so prevalent.

We relied on a variety of gray tones in this recent urban condo redesign.

5 shades of gray

Here is a guide to some of our fave gray categories from lightest to darkest. Enjoy Oyster has a slight blush beneath the surface owing to its pink base. It’s lightness makes it ideal for a sunny, light filled space. But come evening, its deeper side takes over and the sultry gray undertone shines.  Try Benjamin Moore’s Heaven 2118-70.

Barnboard is a warm gray that looks perfectly weathered by the sun. Benjamin Moore’s aptly named Barnwood CSP-115 is a toasty brown gray we use frequently.

Gunmetal is a cool gray, meaning there’s a hint of blue just below the surface. Benjamin Moore’s Metropolitan AF-690 is a go-to gray for contemporary urban spaces.

Charcoal is a dramatic choice sophisticated enough for a formal living or dining room. We love the navy-esque feel of  Benjamin Moore’s French Beret 1610. Use this in a family room where cozy TV watching takes place.

Nearly Black is the category to reach for when you want drop dead glamour and formality. The deepest, darkest sky looks something like Benjamin Moore’s Universal Black 2118-10.

Home Tour with Erinn Valencich

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We loved learning more about Erinn Valencich in our recent interview with her for Dabble’s inaugural issue. We titled the column ‘Swimming Pools and Movie Stars’ as a riff on the Beverley Hillbillies theme song, since her project was in that well known high-rent neighbourhood. Our editorial team was immediately attracted to the interior’s easy, carefree spirit as it seemed ideally suited to southern California.

As with any magazine, it’s not always possible to include every photo in a feature spread. Here are a few of the photos that didn’t make our first cut, but are nonetheless worthy of attention.

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This guest bedroom and adjacent bathroom would be a welcome sight for any guest in need of overnight accommodations. The luxury of bathing with the windows wide open is not lost to a majority of North Americans who live with cold weather temperatures.

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With everything close at hand, the office commute doesn’t have to be a long one. We love how simple, almost austere, this working space feels. Who needs distractions when deadlines are looming?

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Still another room with exquisite views to outdoors framed in ebony.

Southern Belle

  • Designer, Lucinda Robinson, stands in the doorway of the 50s bungalow she decorated for downtown clients in Charleston. In addition to interior design, Lucinda is an established clothing designer. She models a dress from her popular Lucinda Eden shop, located on King St. in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • Green subway tiles on the double-sided fireplace are original to the home, providing colour inspiration throughout. The wool and sisal carpet from GDC home embraces the living room seating and offers the homeowners the comfort they desired.
  • In the dining room, the upholstered chairs from Vanguard Furniture are covered in white, washable suede. The reliable fabric holds up to heavy use, ideally suiting the homeowners’ lifestyle as they are frequent entertainers. Lucinda’s personal favourite in the room is the custom trestle table made by an artisan in North Car olina. A reproduction chandelier from Currey and Co. complements the dark wood tones in the dining table, sideboard and floor.
  • Though the welcoming foyer is mostly neutral, its colour scheme is brightened with the apple coloured lamp from GDC Home which sits on an antique table—a family heirloom.

It’s a southern revival for this 2,000 square foot, 3 bedroom Arts and Crafts bungalow in downtown Charleston thanks to designer Lucinda Robinson.

Having designed the client’s previous homesa traditional single house and a country estateLucinda easily transitioned Kristy Anderson and family to the smaller bungalow without sacrificing function or style.

Since the south is all about hospitality, the home is family-friendly and ready to receive guests at any time. If you are in the market for some beautiful furniture I suggest checking out Wellington’s Leather Furniture.

Spanish Eyes

  • Wrought iron balusters grace the foyer’s tiled staircase.
  • Various objet d’art and collectibles rest on surfaces throughout the spacious living room. A formidable and eclectic art collection adorns the room’s walls.
  • LEFT: The coffee table has a balustrade base and its top is edged in marble which surrounds a terra cotta field. RIGHT: At the bar, crystal glasses rest on a chest decorated with marquetry.
  • The panelled study enjoys uninterrupted views to the foyer and into the dining room. Its coffered ceiling creates cozy intimacy in the warm setting.
  • In the dining room, a two-tiered crystal chandelier with acanthus leaves at the crown and antique bronze fittings softly illuminates the oval table. The table is surrounded by leather-clad dining chairs with tapestry backs.
  • Looking outside to the courtyard, dinner guests catch sight of the leafy lemon trees that are poised to flower and release their delicate scent.
  • A large candle chandelier floats above the kitchen island. When the temperature heats up, family and guests move into the shade of the adjoining patio.
  • From the kitchen, doors open onto a charming patio beneath an ivy-covered archway.

Marci Valner’s Spanish Colonial style home circa 1929 is minutes from UCLA in the urban suburb of Westwood. Jockeying for a parking spot is de rigueur in this neighbourhood. We see one, grab it and remember to hang the coveted permit from the rear view mirror or—ouch—a $64 ticket is sure to be waiting upon our return.

Although the home is formally designed it’s clearly well-loved and used frequently for entertaining. Patterned chairs and serviceable sofas invite lingering in the living room. Aubusson tapestry and vintage leaf patterns adorn pillows on the velvet sofa. An antique trestle side table sits next to the William Birch arm chair with its vintage palm leaf upholstery.

In the kitchen, cool-to-the-touch terra cotta floors offer a respite from the day’s heat. White adobe plaster walls and rustic wood beams on the ceiling add to the 1920’s mood.

We are in no hurry to rush back to our parking spot and take a moment to rest on the patio’s cool tile steps.

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere

  • The living room’s sectional sofa is covered in creamy, textured linen. Sitting adjacent is the iconic Platner chair and stool. “To me, the Platner series represents ultimate glamour,” the designer says.
  • Steven opted for Resene Marsale paints in industrial hues—like the dramatic charcoal seen here—to complement urban views.
  • Floor to ceiling glass, dynamic city views and overscaled accessories create a dramatic setting for dining.
  • Europeans were fascinated with the Far East during the time of explorer Marco Polo. A closer look at the cabinet's details reveal animated people in ornate dress and elephants in ceremonial costume.
  • The luxurious silk-panelled walls embrace the bedroom’s cozy ambience.

Perched high on the cliffs in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm, this penthouse condo with its stylish “cocktails-at-five” mood reflects the talents of Australian designer Steven Stewart. The quiet inner-city dwelling suits his client’s busy lifestyle. As a bonus, it’s also an ideal meeting spot for friends to gather before heading out for a late dinner at one of the area’s fabulous restaurants.

Spacious and airy, chic open-plan living and dining rooms lead to outdoor entertaining areas as well as stunning, unobstructed views of the city and its brightly lit Story Bridge.

Although it’s an optical illusion, it almost feels that the illuminated bridge—which crosses the Brisbane River, connecting the city’s northern and southern suburbs— is within easy reach.

In the dining room, eight alabaster leather chairs border the gleaming black table, ready to accommodate the owner’s frequent dinner parties. Two vintage Chinese vases from a local antiques dealer sit on top. “We purposely chose white vases to add a spark,” says Steven.

Despite its ultra-urban vibe, the burgeoning neighbourhood of New Farm gets its name from the city’s early years as a rural community. “Since this is the condo’s only penthouse,” says Steven, “it’s affectionately called the New Farm Penthouse.”

The towering metal sculpture, purchased by the owner in Italy, strikes a pose against Brisbane’s evening skies.

“Black and gold Chinoiserie provides a stunning backdrop to the luxury textiles and finishes,” says designer Steven Stewart.

A gleaming bar cabinet with glass shelves and mirror backing displays crystal wine goblets, ready to oblige a future soirée. The decorative details of the chinoiserie work beautifully against the dark and dramatic interior accents. Steven explains the term Chinoiserie is a French word that means ‘in the Chinese taste’ and describes a European style of decorative detail, wildly popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Clearly, it’s still fashionable today.

Bedroom walls are seductively panelled in a sophisticated silk textile, custom-dyed to match the paint finish on adjacent walls. Not only does the treatment create a cozy environment for sleeping, it’s an effective way to dampen noise as well. Underfoot is a cozy taupe carpet.

“Bedrooms don’t experience the same heavy use as say, the kitchen, so I took the opportunity to use more extravagant materials,” the designer enthuses.

In addition to carrying the home’s industrial colour scheme throughout, Steven introduces a Chinese motif on the decorative pillows to echo the chinoise elements throughout the condo. The faux fur throw adds a welcome layer of luxury.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY KYLIE HOOD

Family Cottage

  • The graciously renovated cottage hosts frequent and large gatherings.
  • LEFT French doors lead from the living room to patio and adjacent sandy beach.
  • The linen window treatments from Kravet play a dual role: they cool the air in summer by controlling light levels while adding visual and physical warmth during the winter months.
  • A banquette is a practical addition to the space, providing more seating in the smallest possible footprint. Plus, overnight guests can sleep on the window seat as its dimensions are similar to two single beds. “When the beaming sun and cottage snacks conspire to make sleepy guests,” laughs Philip, “I find this the perfect spot for a catnap.”
  • The nautical candle sconce from the Bombay Company was electrified to provide ambient lighting.
  • To accommodate large dinner parties, Philip chose a dining table that extends to serve 26 guests, perfect for holidays, birthdays and special events. A distressed finish means there’s no drama if children or pets accidentally scratch the surface. A sideboard with inset marble inlays accommodates hot serving dishes.
  • Other traditional accents include a vintage chandelier which gives off a warm glow above and reclaimed antique floors.
  • In the ensuite, Bianco Carerra marble optimizes light and offers an easy-to-live-with surface that ages gracefully.
  • An eclectic display of crocks sits atop an antique storage cabinet. The sconce is a vintage gas lantern. The turn-of-the-century Canadian landscape painting sits against cream wainscoting and below soft gray-green on the walls.
  • Vintage florals drape the bed with its crisp white sheets in the second floor master bedroom.
  • The roofline dictates an unusual angle above the vintage headboard from Patina Antiques. Twin ottomans in slate blue fabric rest at the foot of the bed.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIM McGHIE

Far from the hectic pace of Toronto and nestled along the northern shores of Lake Erie is the tiny town of Wainfleet. An idyllic spot to spend summer weekends and holidays surrounded by lake and land. Ready to update his 1920s family cottage, Mark Narsansky turned to his designer and longtime partner Philip Mitchell for help.

Today, the refurbished cottage boasts ample room for entertaining family, friends and even frequent overnight guests. But that isn’t how it started out. The challenge for transforming Mark’s childhood vacation home was to rework the footprint to accommodate larger gatherings while preserving the cottage’s vintage personality.

To maximize seating for evening and weekend gatherings, the bright and cozy living room is smartly laid out with comfy sofas, plump armchairs and large coffee and occasional tables. A long pillow-topped banquette borders the front windows. Fabrics are a mixture of durable woven textures and kicky cottage stripes and prints.

All kitchen tools—pots, pans, plates and cooking utensils—are easy to grab from the storage shelves on the island and the wrought iron racks hanging above. Architectural trim details, vintage lighting and hardware are inspired by the cottage’s original 1920s architecture. The island features a marble surface, ideal for baking as well as sturdy counter space. Cabinetry finishes are hand painted and, if they chip, can easily be touched up.

The cottage has three additional bedrooms on the newly built second floor, though there is nary a bulge on the cottage exterior to reflect the change. Why? “Because the rooms are tucked behind the roofline and concealed behind discreet shed dormers,” responds Philip. Clever.

Philip was eager to replace dark stained walls from the original design with light-reflecting warm colours such as soft green, grey and cream. Philip says he’s a fan of mixing different finishes—from stained and painted wood to forged iron, it makes the space so much more interesting.

Philip sums up the renovation this way, “Our cottage is still full of 1920s details and is primed for the demands of the millennium lifestyle.”