Every once in a while, a dream project comes along. This was just the case when my Calgary interior design company was hired by a lovely couple who was planning to renovate their residence. What made it a dream job? The architect, Suzanne Devonshire Baker, had an incredible reputation and we were hungry to collaborate with her. The house itself was very interesting, and in a prominent location. To top it off, the clients were absolutely delightful, really clear about their vision and had a generous budget. It sounded like a perfect opportunity! The only catch was that the client wanted a specific Craftsman-style aesthetic, something we at Corea Sotropa had not dealt with very often. The challenge was to make this house (and its new square footage, millwork, finishes and details) look like it had always been there. But a challenge is always a good thing, and we dove into this project with as much gusto and enthusiasm as a kid in a candy store. Here are some of the results…
In the very cozy living room, we custom-designed stained glass panels to flank either side of the new French doors opening onto the back veranda. The clients liked the idea of a hummingbird motif and Danziger Glass Studio did a fabulous job making these pieces into works of art. We restored the existing architectural details on the walls and ceiling and added silk upholstered panels in the lower part of the wainscoting. A series of vintage movie posters that the client had collected were hung above the panelling and new wall sconces from Hubbardton Forge were installed. The lovely ceramic lamp was purchased from Domaine Furnishings.
In the kitchen, we wanted to blend modern elements with typical Craftsman details. The appliances were state-of-the-art commercial units from Sub-Zero and Wolf. The kitchen sinks and hood fan were custom-made for the project by Diamond Spas and the Rubinet plumbing fixtures were purchased from a great local supplier, Art of Hardware. Vitoria Regia granite, with its figured pattern and striking shades of green, was used on the countertops for dramatic effect. A number of sleepless nights were spent figuring out the details of this kitchen and I can honestly say I am so proud of the final result.
This kitchen window (above) was original to the home. Previously, the kitchen area was the dining room, but the architect switched these rooms for an updated layout. The backsplash was created using handcrafted tiles from Pratt and Larson and Sonoma Tile. Our finish carpenters were meticulous with the cabinetry and used joinery detailing that was prevalent during the era of this home’s construction. Check out the Rosewood dowel inserts at the corners of the rails and styles – a signature Craftsman detail. Those little elements, which our clients were so open to, truly set this project apart from most others. The millwork throughout the house was absolutely spectacular and our tradespeople were as revved up about those little details as we were!
This little nook, between the upper level bedrooms, was the perfect spot to design a window bench and built-in bookcases. The square window is original to the house but the eyebrow window (with stained-glass insert) was a new addition. An interesting note about this house is that it only has two bedrooms. Because the clients knew they wanted to reside in this house for a very long time, they made a conscious decision to design the home around their lifestyle and not worry about potential resale. In this neighbourhood, most homes would have at least three bedrooms. However, our clients opted for a dynamite master suite instead.
For the master bedroom, we reused some Moroccan lanterns the clients had picked up during their travels. The shadows it casts on the ceiling are spectacular! The art work is by Kevin Sonmor and is available through NewZones Gallery. Not only did we consult on all the remodelling details of this house, but we were also responsible for the design of all the furniture, drapery, accessories and artwork. Like I said, it really was a dream job!!
A very interesting detail about the master bathroom of this home was the height of the vanity. Our clients are very tall. Both of them must be over six feet and at 5’-3”, I was a total shrimp next to them! We paid a lot of attention to ensuring the millwork felt ergonomically correct for their use.
One of the first stipulations our clients relayed to us during the conceptualization of the home was their desire for a Japanese soaker tub in the master bathroom. I was a bit nervous, to say the least. I lost a bit of sleep trying to determine how I would make this work in a Craftsman-style home. We turned again to Diamond Spas to custom create a copper tub to fit my clients’ height and specifications. It turned out better than I could have dreamed! This bathtub was recently featured in the Robb Report and we were beyond thrilled!
In December of last year, our clients generously opened their house for a local charity event called Homes for the Holidays. Our design team decorated the house from top to bottom for Christmas and ticket proceeds went to the Kids Help Phone. It was an incredible event, one that my company was so proud to be involved with. We were so grateful to our clients for opening up their spectacular home to all of Calgary. It is further evidence of what amazing people they are. You can see more pictures of the house in our previous post “Christmas Home Tour.”
Sometimes stepping outside of your comfort zone opens you up to new opportunities and challenges which are extremely satisfying. That was our experience when we worked on this project. Although Craftsman style wasn’t our signature look, it gave us the chance to spread our design wings. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to work on this project. I really learned to appreciate the aesthetic of this particular style and was able to challenge myself as an interior designer. Most importantly, I created a home that my clients adore. What could possibly be better than that?