Nam Dang-Mitchell saw the light. The designer’s “aha!” moment happened on her first walk-through of the model home she’d been hired to design and decorate at Mission Home’s exclusive StonePine enclave near Calgary. “The house has tons of northern light, which is beautiful and soft, and the lot is so treed in the back,” says Nam. “It’s bucolic and peaceful, so I decided to do my version of a romantic country house, but make it relevant to today’s lifestyle.”
Nam was also inspired by an artist who was once captivated by light. “I had in mind the paintings of Vermeer, with their soft, rich, warm, moody colours,” she says. That conjured thoughts of country homes in Northern Europe – Belgium, in particular. “Belgian design can be traditional and modern at the same time, and it all looks right,” says Nam.
The concept – Belgian country house dressed to evoke the atmosphere of a 17th-century Dutch masterpiece – solved a challenge the designer faced. “The issue with new houses is that you don’t want them to feel brand new,” says Nam, who has worked on model homes before. The StonePine house already had traditional architectural elements like coffered ceilings, wood panelling, and cabinetry that created an aged pedigree. But, says Nam, “I’m not interested in having one note throughout a house. The envelope here is traditional, but I’ve got a modern element in every space. In the living room, it’s the cube coffee table; in the dining room, there’s a slab table. The modern sort of cleanses the palette.”
Homes - Interiors
Interior: Cozy Euro chic
A Calgary model home evokes the look of a 17th century masterpiece with a modern brushstroke.