Hounsfield Heights Transformation
Achievements of this Project
Finalist, Whole House – 2018 Canadian Home Builder’s Association Awards.
Winner, Best Exterior – 2018 Calgary BILD Awards
Finalist, Whole Home and Best Kitchen – 2018 Calgary BILD Awards
We really “clicked” with the client and after we executed a smaller job flawlessly, they felt confident to move on to a renovation of the whole house. Starting with the kitchen renovation Calgary, this home was gutted, stud to stud, completely re-done inside and out. The privilege of a blank slate made realizing the clients’ visions possible: they wanted a unique and customized design that prioritized family togetherness, visual flow, and quality materials and workmanship, with gold accents.
To start, the original stairwell ended within 2ft of the front entry — when open, the front door hit the front stair. Having a stairway “running” out of the house is very bad feng shui, so we revised the entire floor plan. We structurally reinforced the house with flush-mounted beams, allowing for open space throughout the ground floor with no bulkheads.
The kitchen is now in the SW corner (moved from the centre of the house), specifically located there to be proximal to the mudroom/pantry-kimchi fridge adjacent to the garage entry. This kitchen is the heart of a completely re-imagined multigenerational house and anchor of the ground floor design. We brought in a glowing warm-white palette with shiny gold accents and lots of countertop space. The V-shaped base of the dining table was custom-produced and designed to echo lines found throughout the house, and the kitchen table and island are connected as a conscious choice to reinforce their family values of cohesion and bonding. Most of the furniture and fixtures were specially selected and imported from Korea. Throughout, we built custom birch box cabinetry with dovetail joints, and worked fabulous storage into every nook and cranny — there’s much more to this kitchen than meets the eye.
Gold accents and tiny thoughtful details are hidden throughout the house in the selections as “design easter eggs” (for example, the countertops contain subtle gold flecks, and the interior hinges of cupboards are a gold surprise inside). High-end Wolf appliances with red dials on the gas rangetop “pop” against the neutral tones and gold shine. The statement piece trompe d’oeil marble-like backsplash is, in fact, a single custom-cut slab of imported Italian fireproof porcelain tile, echoed in the vast fireplace wall and the front entry floor.
This renovation was built with longevity and beauty as central themes, with high-quality materials and fantastic crafts-person-ship. Wide lines, perfect squared edges, beefy solid-cut corbels were deliberate choices so the house would appear warm and solid from the street. A dated interlocking brick driveway was replaced with a handsome dura-sealed pebble treatment. In replacing the driveway and garage, we lowered the yard to create a more welcoming frontage and better house-street interface. The exterior lighting plan is on two switches, for ‘wayfinding’ (lower level) and ‘showcase’ (upper and extra lights), inspired by the tony brownstones of Boston. The wood grain of the front door, garage door, and the under-soffit corbels completely match for continuity and flow to the design.
Because the entire interior and exterior were being renovated at the same time, we had the opportunity to ensure the design was continuous and fluid. Unlike in many (most?) Canadian homes where indoors and outdoors are very separate domestic domains, at this house the outside comes in (though many more and larger windows, and spaces surrounding doorways were deliberately designed to invite easy transition) and the inside is welcomed out: we created low profile stairs at entry, ensured careful detailing in the frames, and established shallower driveway angle to increase the energy flow between the house and street.
Calgary as a design hub is still maturing, and the renovation market is emerging from a traditional renovation aesthetic. Only recently have modern structures begun to get attention and respect here, and this new home is at the forefront of this style of design, worthy of every accolade.