Photos: What a Modern Calgary Dream Home Looks Like
The annual Modern Home Tour gets a brand-new name—the Modern Architecture and Design Society Home Tour—along with a new edition in Calgary that includes this modern gem.
When Jenny Hassenbach and Hugh MacDonald of Newgrowth Fine Homes decided to build modern for their dream home on Toronto Crescent in Calgary, they first did a bit of a test run. The couple had always lived in Craftsman-style homes, but they were ready to try something new after building several modern showstoppers for clients. But before they went all in, they built a duplex and lived in one half of it. “We used it as a test case to try out some of the things we’d do in Toronto Crescent,” says MacDonald.
The full-sized home they now live in (which will be featured on this year’s Modern Architecture and Design Society Home Tour) takes plenty of inspiration from that initial mini-design. The kitchen, for example, with its oversized island and white-lacquered cabinets, is almost identical to the one in the duplex, with a few tweaks. “We didn’t know if we’d like white on white with dark floors,” says MacDonald. “But we really did, save for a few changes. Where we had walnut floors in the duplex, we went with oak stained dark in this home. Same look, but much more durable.”
The couple partnered with Marvin DeJong of DeJong Design Associates, whom they’d worked with on other projects, to design the home. “He had great ideas on how to maximize the advantages of the lot,” says Hassenbach. “Every bedroom had a view, for example—and we don’t need air conditioning, because we get great cross breezes.”
Perhaps the most stunning element in the home came from DeJong: a board-formed concrete wall that acts as a spine throughout the home, travelling from indoors to out and separating the public and the private spaces. The process was painstaking: MacDonald trucked in the wood for the forms himself, working with small mills from B.C. and Alberta. “Concrete’s a modern material, but it can be cold,” says MacDonald. “By using the board form, the lumber is rough when it’s cut, so you can see the wood grain in the concrete. It really gives it a warmer feel.”
Tour this home and five others on the self-guided MADS Home Tours, which run in both Calgary (September 24) and Vancouver (September 17) as part of Western Living Design Week. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door, with proceeds supporting design students in each city. More info at mads.media.