Image: Colin Way
Clean-lined architecture meets Deco-style elegance in this new-build Calgary home.
If ever there was a house that dispelled the myth that modernity equals austere and cold, this one is it. Homeowners Brad and Judy Fedora, who have three young children, had outgrown their previous home and decided to try something new. “We lived in a traditional home for 10 years,” says Judy. “We wanted to explore something else, yet create a look that wasn’t too much of a departure from the classic style we love.”
Their house hunt led them to the Calgary neighbourhood of Britannia, a mature picturesque area close to parks, schools and a convenient shopping plaza, as well as a quick drive from the downtown core. The area has been experiencing a metamorphosis of late, with many new residents and developers taking advantage of the relatively sizable lots – tearing down the older houses to build substantial luxury homes – and the Fedoras followed suit. “We found an original 1960s house on a large lot, so we ended up tearing it down to build new,” says Judy.
Enlisting a dream team of architect Marvin DeJong, custom home builder Doug Rawlyk and interior designer Nam Dang-Mitchell, the homeowners built a 5,356-square-foot flat-roofed house with voluminous open-concept spaces and floor-to-ceiling windows. While its architecture is 21st-century modern, the house was given a decidedly rich warm look that’s consistent with the traditional bent the homeowners wanted. “The main intent was to prevent the interior from feeling cold and corporate, so the challenge was to bring in some warmth and luxury but keep it streamlined because it had to go with the architecture,” says Nam. With this in mind, the designer took inspiration from the styles of the 1930s – notably Art Deco and Art Moderne – known for combining luxury and sleekness with modernity and drama. The foyer serves as a perfect example of this approach. Sculptural pieces like the console clad in faux shagreen, the Mongolian lamb- skin and cerused oak bench and the curvaceous sconces (based on a design by Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, an Art Deco master) offer a hint of avant-garde ’30s glamour. “But everything goes with the architecture of the house,” says Nam, noting elements such as the contemporary staircase. The foyer’s architectural details like the reverse flat wall panelling, high baseboards and substantial crown mouldings, are kept simple, maintaining a clean-lined look while injecting traditional character.
With her passion for interior design, Judy values luxurious materials and fabrics, and this proved to be harmonious with Nam’s vision for adding layers and interest within the spaces. Materials popular in the ’30s, such as shagreen, parchment, alabaster and ebony, make appearances throughout the home. And there are plenty of standouts: the smoked glass Venini-style chandelier and hand-painted wallpaper in the dining room; the limestone-clad wall and fireplace in the living room; the ruched leather bench in the family room; and, of course, the stunning Statuario marble (sometimes book-matched) throughout. “I like things to either be the showstopper or the support,” says Nam. This approach – as well as the muted, neutral palette pulled from the house’s limestone exterior – ensures the look remains relaxed and tasteful, as opposed to over the top. “The house is elegant understated luxury,” she says, “but not ostentatious or flashy in any way. It’s an appreciation for details and quality.”
The entryway’s panelling, mouldings and mix of materials, such as the faux shagreen on the console and cerused oak of the bench, are a nod to the glamorous 1930s and offer a clean-lined complement to the modern architecture of the house.
Interior designer Nam Dang-Mitchell relaxes in the limestone-clad living room.
TREND: WARM-TONED METALS
A velvet-upholstered banquette and chairs surrounding a Tulip-style table define and add softness to the kitchen’s eat-in area.
The warm neutral palette lends homeowner Judy Fedora’s study a lighter, more feminine look than the rest of the house.
TREND: VINTAGE-STYLE LIGHTING
The dining room is grand and inviting, with elements like grasscloth wallpaper, crown moulding, hand-painted Gracie wallpaper and exotic Macassar ebony wood, which is used for the built-ins and floating sideboard. The Venini-style glass chandelier was scored on 1stdibs and serves as the pièce de résistance.
TREND: ART DECO INSPIRATION
Clad in Statuario marble and finished with a bronze channel, the kitchen’s range hood serves as a stunning focal point. The marble continues on the backsplash and island for a luxurious effect. Flat-panelled charcoal-stained wood cabinetry conceals the fridge and freezer for a seamless look.
The master bed room exemplifies the symmetry prevalent throughout the house. Elements like the velvet upholstered bed frame and grasscloth wallpaper lend texture and warmth.
TREND: VELVET UPHOLSTERY
Open to the kitchen, the family room boasts a cozy vibe, with a tufted chenille sofa, velvet chairs and grass cloth wallpaper. Finished with a bronze detail around the edge, the bookmatched marble fireplace surround serves as a striking focal point and links the space with the kitchen, as does the charcoal stained wood shelving unit.