Homes Photo Credit: Nicky Gretzan

Photos: A Calgary Bungalow Gets a Modern Makeover

Architects Dustin Couzen and Ben Klumper team up with Nicky Gretzen to design a sophisticated family home.

Though this chic, mid-century modern-inspired Calgary home may look like it’s a world away from the homeowner’s former cramped space…it’s actually just down the block.

The homeowners, now parents of two rambunctious kids, had outgrown their space but wanted to stay in the same neighbourhood. And a 1960s bungalow on a corner lot on a nearby street had plenty of potential to be the family-friendly dream home they were looking for. It would just need a little TLC from MoDA (our Arthur Erickson Memorial Award winners this year) to become an open-concept beauty.

They added almost 1,000 square feet to the layout, with MoDA extending the house into the back in an L shape to create what architect Dustin Couzens calls “an exterior living room.” By framing an outdoor space with two walls, “it looks more designed and meant to be there,” he explains. “By opening as much of the front and back of house as possible to the exterior living space, we can multiply the amount of space in the summer months.” Four glass sliding panels open right up onto the patio, creating a seamless transition between spaces when the sun is shining (and easy visibility when the kids are playing in the yard).

The extension also included a new master bedroom (complete with an ensuite and walk-in closet), and a bright and airy open-concept living area. “We’re big believers in having spaces overlap and blur together—you don’t need to delineate these spaces as you used to in the ’90s,” says Couzens. “We knocked down as many walls as possible.”

Nicky Gretzan (who was working with MoDA on the project at the time but now runs her own interior design firm, Nik Interiors) took charge of the finishes and decor from there. “We wanted to make it practical while still making it pretty,” says Gretzan. That meant hand-scraped texture for the flooring so that scuffs and claw scratches would go unnoticed. White-washed white oak millwork (and plenty of it!) keeps the space feeling crisp and minimal, but warm—the perfect soothing backdrop for a lively family of four.

See photos of the modern, family-friendly renovation below!

The EQ3 sectional couch works for laying around with the kids, or entertaining a crew. (The Eames chair, though, is just for mom or dad.)

The custom 10-foot concrete dinning table is ideal for a family that loves to entertain (with extra chairs, it can seat up to 10 people). The dining chairs are leather—which means they’re easy to clean if the little ones spill.

Six Muuto Nerd stools line the extra-long island, providing even more seating when the dining table fills up during parties.
The backsplash and fireplace are backed by faux-marble porcelain.
Built-in cabinetry provides hiding places for everything from board games to art supplies to pantry staples.

“We like to design spaces that have multipilicity,” says Couzens. “Instead of having a regular hallway, why not make it a foot wider and turn it into storage and an office slash art gallery?”

In the bedroom, custom extra-wide nightstands flank the bed and sliding barn-style doors keep the layout feeling nice and tidy. “Even when the doors are left open, they’re not in the way,” says Gretzan. Flos Aim pendant lights are ceiling-mounted: a bold statement piece that keeps the tabletop clean.
Curtains in the ensuite let the light in without compromising privacy.

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