House Tours

An Artful Blend

An Artful Blend

Photography: Joel Klassen

House Tours

An Artful Blend

From playful Palm Springs to pared-back Scandinavian, a world of style sensibilities meet and merge in this Calgary custom home.

When Wendy and Patrick McAllister chanced upon a 1950s bungalow on a leafy street in Britannia, one of Calgary’s oldest neighbourhoods, they got giddy. On a reverse pie lot, the unusual U-shape bungalow had attitude.

“We thought we’d renovate and end up with a super cool Mid-Century Modern bungalow,” says Wendy. An experienced renovator, Wendy has built six homes with her husband, and just sold Simple Spaces, her long-standing custom closet and glass business.

As it turned out, the bungalow’s foundation was shoddy, leading the empty nesters, who have two grown kids, to build new. Alongside architect Glen Bray of Evolve Home Design and Rockcreek Builders, the couple crafted a modernist flat-roofed dwelling with floor-to-ceiling windows. Deep grey on the exterior, sun-splashed rooms ramble over 5,000 square feet of interior space.

To curate the home, Wendy enlisted interior designer Amanda Hamilton of Amanda Hamilton Design (who did everything from the drawings for the kitchen and bathrooms to finding the furniture). “I love her mix of style. It resonated with us,” says Wendy, whose own tastes lean to the eclectic – an aesthetic not without risks. Like an outfit where a fedora is puzzlingly paired with a wedding dress, an eclectic hodgepodge can fail, but it’s astoundingly successful in this sumptuous, multi-faceted home.

“It was an interesting process because Wendy had such a specific sense of style but we couldn’t put our finger on it,” says Amanda, who jokes that the house has a “Mid-Century-Scandinavian-Palm-Springs-Art-Deco glam-minimalistic” vibe (say that five times). Outfitted in creamy sofas designed by Amanda, the relaxed living room indeed feels like you should be lounging over Piña Coladas. “The house had to feel warm and inviting,” says Wendy, “so you drop your shoes at the door and grab a glass of wine, not wonder, ‘where do I sit?’”

In this house, that’s a question you never have to ask. Each room has a laid-back quality that still feels put together. And it’s filled with quirky details, from a pair of mustard-velvet chairs by the fireplace to the ornate gold sconces in the master bathroom. “I think it’s a personal collection of our style. There’s a lot going on but you never feel like it’s disjointed,” says Wendy. “Amanda nailed it with the blend.”

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Photography: Joel Klassen | CABINETRY, rift-cut white oak in custom Hamilton Black stain, Elegant Woodwork; COUNTERTOPS, Ella quartz, Cambria; CHANDELIER, Fowler Bistro, Domicile; DINING TABLE, Jiff, Noce Canaletto Walnut, Flexform; CHAIRS, Torii white oak base with Elmo Nordic leather seat, Bensen.

Overlapping styles merge in the kitchen where brass flourishes are glamorous against clean-lined cabinetry that has a Japanese aesthetic. “Matte black feels flatter and softer on rift-cut white oak,” says Amanda. Solid-surface countertops hike up to the backsplash for visual continuity. The pantry to the left has a steam oven and storage for dishware; it leads to a mudroom.

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Photography: Joel Klassen

On a wall spanning 12 feet, the gas fireplace in the living room is a strong architectural presence. The chimney breast and the hearth are both clad in marble for a luxe finish. “We wrapped the fireplace interior in black to minimize the surrounds,” says Amanda. “We wanted to see the fire.” Blonde rift-cut oak floors are fresh against the darkness. 

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Photography: Joel Klassen | OTTOMAN, Phase Design Wired, Domicile; FIREPLACE INSERT, R Series Linear Burner, Montigo; BIRD on books, Vitra Eames; mustard CHAIRS, Kit Interiors; PLANTS, Plant Shop; HARDWOOD FLOORS, Brushed Oak Sanderson, Kentwood Originals; WALL COLOUR (throughout), Simply White, Benjamin Moore; FLOOR LAMP, RH.

Jewel-green pillows pop against the yellow and add texture.

"We did the chairs in a brilliant mustard velvet,” says Amanda. “They’re classic and iconic but the colour makes them special.” A collector of Canadian artwork, Wendy commissioned the teepees from artist Janice Tanton of Canmore, Alberta (through Gibson’s Fine Art).

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Photography: Joel Klassen | SOFAS, CUSHIONS, custom by Amanda Hamilton Interior Design; COFFEE TABLE, RH.

“A walnut partition behind the sofa partially separates the front door from the living room so you don’t feel like you’re walking into the back of the sofa,” says Amanda, who detailed the stairs leading to the basement the same way. Tones of tan, terracotta and ivory are characteristic of Palm Springs decor; nubby bouclé fabric on the custom sofas has a cozy quality.

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Photography: Joel Klassen

Orderly, organized and elegant: this dressing room is divine.

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Photography: Joel Klassen | VANITY, Elegant Woodwork; MIRROR, custom by Simple Spaces; SCONCES, Hampton Wall Light in Gild, Aerin; SOAKER TUB, Wetstyle; DRAPERY, Global Shades.

The his-and-hers master bath features fresh, rift cut white oak vanities. Gilded Art Deco- style sconces are as ravishing as jewels and add quirk to the space, says Amanda. A black floral painting by Vancouver-based artist Bobbie Burgers is splashy over the soaker tub. “I fall in love with that piece all over again each morning,” says Wendy.

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Photography: Joel Klassen | WALLPAPER, Moulting Feathers AR-2, Area Environments; BED, BENCH, PILLOWS, custom design, Amanda Hamilton Interior Design; BED (produced by), Timeless Upholstery; BEDDING, TABLE LAMPS, RH; CUSTOM DRAPERY, custom Roman shades, Global Shades; SIDE TABLES, Palmer Mid-Century Modern Nightstand in Mink, Brownstone.

Elegance emanates from the master bedroom, where flicks of grey on the wallpaper (they’re large-scale feathers) are an arresting feature. The rich charcoal-velvet bed, ultra-suede grey ottoman and light-filtering drapery (all custom) give the room the luxurious feel the homeowners were after, says Amanda. Brass lighting is a motif throughout the home.

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Photography: Joel Klassen | LIGHT, Visual Comfort; WALLPAPER, Anewall.

An intoxicating pairing of the trend to black, bold and bodacious florals and the continuing influence of lighter blonde woods and clean-lined design marks this bathroom as fashion-forward and fabulous.

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House Tours

An Artful Blend