Stylish apartment

From playful Palm Springs to Scandinavian, a world of stylistic sensibilities meet and mingle in this custom home in Calgary.

When Wendy and Patrick McAllister met in a 1950s bungalow on a leafy street in Brittany, one of Calgary's oldest neighbourhoods, they were disappointed. On a reverse pie plot, the unusual U-shaped bungalow had attitude.

"We thought we'd renovate and end up with a super cool, mid-century modern bungalow," says Wendy. An experienced restaurateur, Wendy has built six homes with her husband and just sold Simple Spaces, her longtime custom closet and glass business.

As it turned out, the bungalow's foundation was shoddy, leading the empty nesters, who have two grown children, to build new. Together with architect Glen Bray of Evolve Home Design and Rockcreek Builders, the couple created a modernist dwelling with flat roofs and floor-to-ceiling windows. Deep gray on the outside, sun-splashed rooms occupy more than 5,000 square feet of interior space.

Wendy invited interior designer Amanda Hamilton of Amanda Hamilton Design (who did everything from drawing the kitchen and bathroom to finding the furniture). "I loved her mix of style. It resonated with us," says Wendy, whose own tastes are eclectic - an aesthetic not without risk. Like an outfit where a fedora is oddly paired with a wedding dress, the eclectic hodgepodge can fail, but in this lavish, multi-faceted home, it succeeds amazingly.

"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 is "Mid-century-Scandinavian-Palm-Springs-Art-Deco glam-minimalistic" (say that five times). Dressed in cream sofas designed by Amanda, the relaxed living room actually feels like you're lounging by the Piana Coladas. "The house had to be warm and inviting," says Wendy, "so you throw your shoes at the door and grab a glass of wine without thinking, 'where should I sit?"

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In this house, you never have to ask that question. Every room is loose and still feels connected. And it's filled with quirky details, from a pair of mustard chairs by the fireplace to the ornate gold couches in the master bathroom. "I think it's a personal collection of our style. There's a lot going on, but it never feels disjointed," - Wendy says. "Amanda nailed it with the mix."

Overlapping styles come together in the kitchen, where brass flourishes and clean-lined cabinets have a Japanese aesthetic. "The matte black is flatter and softer on the dissected white oak," Amanda says. Solid-surface countertops climb all the way up the back, providing visual continuity." The pantry to the left has a steam oven and dish storage; it leads to a mudroom.

On a wall spanning 12 feet, the living room gas fireplace is a strong architectural presence. The chimney breast and hearth are clad in marble for a luxurious finish. "We wrapped the inside of the fireplace in black to minimize its surround," Amanda says. "We wanted to see the fire." Blonde oak fluted floors are fresh against the darkness.

Jewel-green cushions rub against the yellow and add texture.

"We did the chairs in brilliant mustard velvet," says Amanda. "They're classic and iconic, but the colour makes them unique." Canadian art collector Wendy commissioned the teepees from artist Janice Tanton of Canmore, Alberta (via Gibson Fine Art).

"A walnut partition behind the sofa partially separates the front door from the living room, so it doesn't feel like you're walking into the back of the sofa," - says Amanda, who described the stairs leading to the basement in the same way. Shades of tan, terra cotta and ivory are characteristic of Palm Springs decor; the nubby bouclé fabric on the custom sofas has a cozy quality.

His and her master bath features fresh, split white oak vanities. Art Deco gold sconces are as stunning as jewels and add quirkiness to the space, Amanda says. A black floral painting by Vancouver artist Bobbie Burgers splashes over the bath. "I fall in love with that painting all over again every morning," says Wendy.

Elegance emanates from the master bedroom, where patches of grey on the wallpaper (they're big feathers) are an arresting feature. A rich charcoal-velvet bed, ultra-suede gray ottoman and lightly distressed drapery (all custom) give the room the luxurious feel the homeowners were looking for, Amanda says. Brass lighting is a theme throughout the home.