Posts Tagged ‘Scandinavian House Design’

I am lucky that my work is also my passion and hobby. My mind never stops thinking about how to make decor updates and changes in my own home, especially when the seasons change. With spring around the corner, I am changing it again. This time I decided to play with one of my favourite colours: turquoise. My inspiration was a Bitossi piece I bought at an antique store.




I love brining spring inside. Tip: repot the plants, no yellow or pink liners needed, keep it simple.


It started with a couple of candlesticks. Tip: buy things in pairs or threes.


For Easter I inserted the turquoise here and there…






My dog Gus watches me as I work. 

A few cherished items grouped together.

turquoise-16Buddha gets a backdrop of mountains. Tip: Layer things on your bookshelf.


Yellow tulips lasts the longest, that’s what my mom said anyway.



Two glass bottles found in my bedroom got a new spot on the living room book shelf. Tip: use dried flowers instead of fake or real, these hydrangeas are from my garden last fall.


I needed some art to layer on my book-case and printed up personal photos in the right colour tones. Tip: Ikea frames have great mats, order your prints to fit in these frames.


Old books look great stacked. Tip: remember to have your books at the edge of the shelf, not pushed in. turquoise-21

Tip: group old with old, worn with wornturquoise-22


turquoise-29And here my treasures come to life.


Tip: repeat colours, patterns and textures.

Lighting is very important. Tip: a good reading lamp is a must have in every living room.

The spring refresh is done.




I can help you with yours.


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It’s been a while since I updated the house project. I had planned to blog about the progress but to be honest, the project took over my life and I often felt overwhelmed with all the issues. Every day there was something to deal with, and often issues that were not uplifting and fun to write about. It started with asbestos discovered in the existing house, and when the house was removed eventually the soil was potentially too soft. After testing it, and several hundred dollars later, the soil was fine. Then the foundation was poured too high, or the hole was not deep enough, the framers went on holidays because we were delayed. On and on it went, but I have realized this is just the way it goes in this industry. Looking back, there are were many many negative things that happened (everyday was a new challenge) but now that I could sit down and write about it, I feel I don’t want to bring up the past where the memories are sometimes painful. I would rather focus on the fact that I live in my dream home and am so grateful for it.

The trades I hired to do the interior (I was not in charge of the build up until drywall) were great. They worked sometimes on top of each other, and even if many don’t like this, they put up with it. And I am grateful, because it meant we could move in sooner.

With all the issues, I can say we actually made it in here on a good schedule. We started digging in June 2012 and moved in April 5, 2013.

Today our house was featured in the April 2014 issue of Avenue Magazine, Calgary’s monthly lifestyle magazine. They did a wonderful job. I will create a link to the on-line version once it becomes available.

Until then… here are a few moments from the build…

Demolition June 28

Demolition June 28

July 18

July 18

August 8

August 8

September 8

September 8

September 5

September 5

Helpers Gus and Oliver

Helpers Gus and Oliver

Upper floor

Upper floor


Stairs up


Bath goes upstairs

Kitchen in boxes



Finally! It was worth the effort!

More photos here…

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House build update –

It has been a while since my last update. But now I have something positive to report. The house is almost gone. It seems like forever, and it has been. But we had to remove asbestos from the drywall and stucco before taking the house down. In the process I have learned a lot about this nuisance (asbestos), and for one, many many many small houses are demolished in Calgary, probably daily, asbestos and all. Not sure why this is still not regulated more, i.e. why a builder does not have to prove a house is asbestos free. As far as I could tell, all you have to say is NO on the form and sign your name. My biggest beef with the asbestos is the expense of removing it. If the government somehow got involved and regulated this service, perhaps the removal quotes would not fluctuate with thousand and thousands of dollars. It’s insane.

Here is the house, all cleaned up. I was very pleased at how clean the company: Clean Air Services, left the site. My only beef with them is they don’t accept credit cards for payment.

So here we are during demolition. The heavy equipment operator (who thanked me profusely for removing the asbestos) was kind enough to save me some cedar ceiling. I am hoping to make one of two benches out of that great wood.

Well you could say the asbestos issue was not a good start to the project… and it sure feels like I have to say goodbye to the Miele steam oven I have been coveting… a luxury I can live without. There are some things I am not willing to compromise on, but other things I can. There will be a lot of back and forth in the coming months as to choosing and picking materials and finishes, so many decisions to be made, and yes even for me it feels a bit overwhelming. But there is no going back now. One step at a time.

Stay tuned ~

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So here we are several months after my post about a dream come true… building a house where I can make all the design decisions, well within a certain budget. Since last summer we have accomplished a few steps towards starting the actual build.
* We interviewed several architects
* Met with a few builders
* Chose an architect
* Decided to not hire a conventional builder/contractor (for a variety of reasons)
* Decided to be a contractor with the help of a friend/contractor to oversee me (I want to learn)
* Made a decision and a promise to myself not to get stressed out (it’s bad for my health and family)

Tom Chute of Marre Design is who we felt the most connection with after interviewing and meeting a variety of architectural firms. After several meetings and brainstorming and looking at a lot of pictures, we ended up with a Scandinavian inspired home (surprise). For the outside we knew we wanted a contemporary-style white building with wood details. However we did not want a flat roof and no concrete and no rock/stone. Most homes in Calgary include some sort of rock and many modern homes include concrete… but we know we did not want that as an exterior material. Both my partner and I liked the first draft we were presented with. Either Tom read us well or we are just gave great instruction… A few modifications have been made since this first rendering below (more windows for one). In our current house we lack sunlight, which I really miss, especially all those months when you can’t sit outside (like 11 out of 12).

Here is a sneek-a-peek of our house. What do you think? Too modern for Calgary? Too much like the 60’s. Do I really want to know? 😉

The back

South wall

The front
South side has an additional three windows.

Next steps
* Wait for the building permit
* Source materials to firm up budget i.e.
– decide on building method (i.e. can we afford floor heating on every floor? Can we afford blow in insulation etc etc)

We want to build as ‘green’ as we can but many times sadly the budget does not allow for the greenest building methods and materials.

The most fun part for me is planning the interior… and believe me I am already, every day, in 3D and in my head. Stay tuned.

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