Masculine, modern, elegant and edgy: This Calgary home is all about style but has cozy comfortable living at its core.
Tom Simons had no intention of buying this house. It was being built as a spec project by Calgary home builder Mission Homes and was halfway finished when fate worked its magic. Having collaborated with the company before, Tom was familiar with its high-quality work and wanted Mission Homes to build a new house for him and his two teenaged kids, Grace, 17, and Cole, 14. “I came here to meet the builder about it, looked around and decided then and there to buy this one.”
Even though the 4,000-square-foot house wasn’t complete, Tom liked what he saw. The space boasted attributes that went beyond spec house expectations thanks, in part, to designer Nam
Dang-Mitchell, who had been working with the builder on the basic finishes – so Tom hired her to fill in the rest. “It’s nice to take a project from beginning to end,” says Nam.
“I wanted a family home that is tasteful and elegant but not ostentatious,” says Tom, who envisioned a robust mix of industrial and traditional styles with relaxed family living at its heart. “I wanted a space that could serve as both a spot for my kids to hang with friends and somewhere I could host business associates.”
The casual masculine vibe Nam created suits this anti-precious practicality. In her signature sophisticated neutral palette, Nam produced a cozy character-filled backdrop with architectural details, textural wallcoverings and rich soothing colours. White oak makes
a frequent appearance in the house. “I’m in love with the flooring,” says Nam. “It’s wide plank with a naturallooking matte finish, and I just love how authentic, organic and casual it is. It counteracts the formality of the mouldings.” White oak continues in other elements, such as the kitchen island and the ceiling beams, as well as select built-ins, cabinetry and glass-panelled pocket doors throughout the home, all offering the same light and relaxed effect.
Along with incorporating a chic mix of clean-lined mid-century, contemporary, traditional and transitional pieces, Nam pushed Tom to embrace some edge with whimsical winks, such as the sculptural Kelly Wearstler light fixture in the entryway and the spiky coffee table in the living room – but he was all for adorning the dining area with the bold Popeye pop art (which he already owned). Details like this keep the sophisticated house fresh and unfussy – and family friendly.
The living room (and its adjacent study) is one of everyone’s favourite areas. “I’m in here all the time,” says Tom. “I start every day in here with a coffee and emails. Then at night, I’m here again, either working or reading.” Cole and Grace also like to sit by the fire with their tablets, and their three-year-old Labradoodle, Tucker, lies on the sofa in front of the window to keep watch. It’s the kind of family living that feels plucked from the pages of a storybook...but a modern one with a little edge.
A panelled wall treatment lends classic style to the dining room, while the artwork adds personality. “I love the contrast between the Popeye painting and the formality of the wall it sits on,” says designer Nam Dang-Mitchell. DINING TABLE, Crate and Barrel; END CHAIRS, Design Within Reach; LIGHT FIXTURE, O’Lampia; DRAPERY SEWING (throughout), Rita’s Custom Drapery; DRAPERY FABRICS (throughout), DWA Interior Furnishings; BLINDS (throughout), Global Shades.
Tom and his kids, Cole and Grace, pose with their beloved Labradoodle, Tucker.
ABOVE & LEFT The free-standing cast iron tub with a riveted stainless steel skirt is the star of the master bathroom. With its French bateau style, it’s at once classic and industrial. Elements like the floor-mounted tub filler, marble flooring and subway tile wainscotting lend oldworld charm. The grey linen drapery, layered over woven blinds, has a softening effect. “And because I like to add something organic to every room, there’s a tree stump side table,” says Nam.Custom VANITY, Camantra; VANITY HARDWARE, Banbury Lane Design Centre; BATHTUB, TUB FILLER, Emco Corporation; MEDICINE CABINETS, RH; FLOOR TILES, Saltillo Imports; STOOL, RUNNER, HomeSense.