Mandy and Jean-Guy found me through a google search – Something I seem to rank high in for out-of-province clients – yay! They are from Ontario and had just purchased a new condo in downtown Calgary to use as a vacation home and eventually to retire to.
NOTE: My (now) client’s were interviewing a few designers and I have to admit I was pretty nervous – there are some ‘big guns’ in the city (spoiler alert and long story short – they chose to work with me). I found out later that it was my personality that won them over. They said I was easy to talk to and friendly and didn’t immediately start talking money. I share this because it truly warmed my heart and spoke to the type of business relationships I seek. I’m not a ‘salesperson’ – even in my last business I was phobic of ‘selling’. I wanted to work with people who wanted to work with me and saw the value in my services. So my lack of a ‘script’ has paid off more times than one. And in this case – it was wonderful. They are the most amazing clients and the nicest people, and I am so honoured they trusted me with their new vacation spot.
My client’s wanted a ‘chic downtown condo Design’ in every sense of the word. Their home in Ontario was essentially a lake-front cabin (jealous? I am). And so, they were looking for the exact opposite. Below is the completed ‘chic’ design (minus one silly back-ordered reading light meant for beside the couch! Lol).
Chic Condo Kitchen After
Mandy’s favourite colour is teal. She loves it so much that they painted the largest wall in the condo a bright shade of teal, which set the tone for the whole space. Because this teal wall had such a presence, I decided to keep all the other elements muted and pastel in nature when possible. Paired with blacks and greys, the palette was born.
The kitchen had rich violet-grey cabinets and blue glass backsplash tiles, which everyone loved. It also had a white countertop which kept it feeling light and bright – and I didn’t want to lose that. What it did not have, though, was a lot of counter space and somewhere to eat. We debated adding a small dining table under the chandelier, but it was decided that a functional island would be the better choice for the space.
Custom kitchen island
This would serve as an extended countertop as well as a dining area. I designed a custom kitchen island that had a U shape base so that 2 counter chairs could tuck fully under when not in use (as the space was relatively narrow). The base was powder-coated in black for modern flair. I then found a complimentary subtle terrazzo-type countertop with violets and blues on a white foundation to tie in the rest of the kitchen.
Custom counter stools
During my sourcing, I came across the most perfect chairs. They had violet grey upholstery and a warm champaign metal detail with black legs. They were perfect… except that they were too short (dining height rather than counter height). The client also fell in love with them and so I had new legs custom-made to counter-height. While I didn’t get the tapered legs on my wish list, we used a narrower square leg to mimic the island base and powder coated them the same. They are a beautiful set.
I don’t often do too much in the way of styling for kitchens – because people do not need additional clutter in such a room where function needs to be the top priority. That said, I mentioned that my client loved teal. And so, I went on a ‘teal’ shopping excursion to find all the teal elements I could use for styling. I found some beautiful blue/teal wine glasses, teal margarita glasses, teal glass decorative water bottles, and a large blue/mixing bowl – all perfect for styling the open shelves above the counter. I also lucked out on 2 vases with the most perfect shade of violet-grey to sit in the corner with pretty pink flowers. Two cutting boards brought in the only wood elements (something we avoided for this project) and some greenery to finish it off.
Chic Downtown Kitchen Before
Chic Downtown Living Room After
My absolute favourite room in the condo. The living room had some requirements to work with that had my thinking cap on for the majority of the sourcing phase (step 4 in my 15 step process). Because the condo was a 1 bedroom, the clients requested a pull-out couch for guests – a ‘chic and stylish’ pull out couch at that. With a pull out couch we needed the living room to sit 4 people. They had also already purchased an electric fireplace and tiled the wall where it would sit. The plan was also to have the TV sit above the fireplace. And so my solution:
I found a really lovely light grey sofa with channeled upholstery, making it ‘chic and stylish’. We could not fit a queen-size bed, but a double was a great choice (phew – it barely fit through the door… anything bigger and they’d be sleeping in the hallway).
I also sourced 2 narrow structured swivel chairs with rounded edges to keep them looking smaller (as to not be overpowering for the smaller space). The swivel will allow for guests to be a part of both the living room and kitchen discussions as required. These chairs required a custom fabric selection, and my choice was unconventional. I absolutely adore Mandy – she is so trusting and open to anything. Normally I’d expect that when I pull out a mauve fabric and say “I’d like to upholster your chairs in purple” the client would laugh and laugh and laugh and then get very serious and ask for the actual fabric sample. In this case, as I prepared for that, Mandy immediately looked at Jean-Guy and then back at me and said yes. I handed her the sample and asked her to hold it and mull it over for a bit – and she said she didn’t need to. I was thrilled! And as you can see, they are the absolute best colour for the space.
Cement Coffee table
I have wanted to use a cement coffee table for so long and this was finally the project that allowed for it. Because my clients wanted the opposite of ‘cozy cabin’ – a wood coffee table was out of the question. Some may have resorted to a glass top but I am a romantic when it comes to raw natural textures and cement was absolutely what this space needed. This coffee table was an investment but it was worth every penny of the budget we allocated to it. It is chic, stylish, and a show-stopper.
It did not take me long to find their area rug. Sometimes when you are looking for rugs you look through a few (many) more pages than are necessary, hoping you find a more perfect piece, since you know there is such a wide selection. In this case, though, I knew the moment I saw it – designer love at first sight. It was light grey and violet-grey tone on tone and had stunning watercolour-style florals. Beautiful!
Lighting & Styling
“Modern. Chic. Unique. Stylish.” All words I said over and over as I scrolled through page after page of basic floor lamps. Until I saw it – this rectangle LED floor lamp with a marble square base. It was special. It checked all the boxes. And even more, when I paired it with the tall faux palm, it was ‘home’. Honestly, that corner with the mauve chair is insta-worthy (seriously… I shared it multiple times).
I’ve always loved stacks of books for styling and this was a great opportunity with the large surface area. I went to Fair’s Fair and found some second-hand beautiful art and photography oversized hard-cover coffee table books to stack décor on. I also curated a pile for the lower portion of the table – including a hidden “Calgary” book as a welcoming gift. Décor, blankets, baskets, pillows – all styled beautifully to make the space. But the real gem of this was the black masculine bust. Honestly, I don’t know where I found it and I found it very very early on in the project – but it matched my client’s artistic nudes in the hallway and as soon as I saw it in the store I grabbed it. It is my favourite.
I also had a vintage teal magazine rack that worked perfectly beside the couch, which Mandy immediately dubbed her ‘wine rack’ – lol!
Lastly, I hung a giant piece of art that we found at HomeSense for the wall (one which had all the colours we needed), which was to be used for staging in lieu of the TV that was not yet hung. Well… the clients loved it so much they may choose to have a TV solely in the bedroom so they don’t need to take it down! Lol.
Chic Condo Living Room Before
Chic Condo Primary Bedroom After
Listen… peel and stick wallpaper isn’t the most luxurious and certainly not my first choice for a bedroom… but when you find a pattern that just can’t be beat – one with blues, and teals, and watercolour-style florals like the living room area rug – you don’t pass on it.
My clients had given me photos of a piece of art they were bringing with them for the bedroom, which had various shades of blue and orange – and so we had to be cognoscente of the other colours we used in their room. And with that artwork and the wallpaper that matched oh so wonderfully, we kept the rest of the elements relatively neutral.
This modern grey and black platform bed with black feet has the same channeled upholstery as the couch – win! I wanted their bedroom here to feel truly like a vacation and so we stuck with luxurious white sheets and a white duvet – like a hotel. I added a quilted dark blue coverlette and shams to draw the colour down from the wallpaper and give my clients options for warmth throughout winter and summer.
I added some large black and white euro pillows so my clients can comfortably sit up in bed and watch TV (wherever it ends up), and also added a decorative pillow and throw to complete the look. The pampas and vase adds a softness and sultry vibe.
I had brought in the mirrored side tables for the photoshoot as they had decided to choose their own nightstands which were not yet available. But they ended up loving them and kept them anyway!
Chic Condo Primary Bedroom Before
Chic Condo Bathroom After
I don’t usually cover the ‘bathroom’ in these write-ups because without a redesign there isn’t much to say. But in this case, I have another funny story.
I purchased new fluffy white towels with, you guessed it, teal stripes, as well as a warm grey and white linen shower curtain. I also styled a stunning little vignette in the corner of the counter. It had an apothecary jar for cotton pads, a moon-shaped tray holding soap and bath salt and greenery, and… teal facecloths wrapped in a bow. Well… When I took my client’s out for dinner a few nights after reveal Mandy told me that she had purchased new face cloths. I was immediately horrified that she was unhappy with the ones I had selected. On the contrary, she loved the whole vignette so much she bought new face cloths so those ones could stay wrapped up and beautiful, and her husband was instructed not to touch it either! Lol!