We Love This Playful, Modern Home in Calgary
RNDSQR’s Alkarim and Majida Devani have some fun with the design of their own family home.
Alkarim and Majida Devani like to do things their own way. As the co-founder and creative director, respectively, of RNDSQR (a former WL One to Watch), the two have developed a number of modern, community-driven multi-family homes that can be described as anything but “cookie-cutter.” It’s really no surprise, then, that they took the same experimental approach for the design of their own home in Calgary’s Bridgeland neighbourhood. “It’s always fun to work on your own projects,” says Alkarim. “It’s fun to be able to push outside the realm and not be so concerned with what an end consumer wants.”
For the Devanis, that meant embracing their love of travel, nature, and timeless design. “Quality craftsmanship and material were the things that really stood out,” says Alkarim, “not what was current and trendy at the time.” But that doesn’t mean the couple didn’t have a bit of fun along the way—natural material elements (concrete, cedar, corten, oak) are just the base. “We always have a very simple palette,” says Majida. “From there, we get to use pops of colour and texture to make it more interesting.” Scroll through the photos below to see more of their unique family home.
“We wanted it to feel like a part of the neighbourhood,” says Majida of the home’s exterior. The couple opted for a corten steel, which will slowly change from black to rust—the same colour as the neighbours’ brick.
A mix of concrete and cedar further add to the natural materials palette. “We just wanted to make sure there wasn’t a ton of upkeep or maintenance to the exterior,” adds Alkarim.
The record room is one of Alkarim’s favourite spots in the house: “It’s just super comfortable,” he says. “It’s got tons of natural light, our comfiest chairs (the Herman Miller is a real classic), the Persian rug—I love the infusion of colour and texture.”
Alkarim also really loves the kitchen island: “It’s probably my favourite piece because of the quality and the craftsmanship.” The 10-foot island, made from a single piece of concrete, was specially designed by 2Stone (“We craned that thing in—it’s incredible,” says Alkarim); 2Stone is also responsible for the large concrete panels that make up the backsplash.
The light fixture, inspired by a carousel, was custom-made by the Devanis. It’s also meant to mimic the look of string lights: “It’s dimmable, so at nighttime it really does feel like you’re on the patio—it’s very whimsical even though it’s minimal,” says Majida.
Other elements in the kitchen—the grey cabinets, the chevron-patterned oak flooring (found throughout the home)—are meant to be subtle and timeless: “Whatever needs to pop in the room can pop,” says Majida. “Everything else can just be there without really making a massive statement.”
This one, made of one-and-a-half inch oak, zig-zags from the basement (where it connects to the wet bar) all the way to the top floor of the home. “It’s probably one of the thinnest you can do right now,” says Majida.
The living room on the opposite side of the kitchen is a cozy spot for the family to relax and watch TV (“We’re big movie people,” says Alkarim). Here, the large patio doors and windows—plus the family’s collection of plants—blur the line between indoor and out: “You feel like you’re in the middle of a secluded, natural area even though you’re in the middle of Bridgeland,” laughs Majida.
The rustic, earthy fireplace was inspired by the couple’s trip to the Atacama Desert in South America: “It’s really natural and warm,” says Majida. Using the same corten material from the home’s exterior adds another subtle link to the outdoors.
The second floor is a calm and creative space for their daughter to play. “She’s a pretty lucky girl that she has the whole floor to herself,” says Majida. (Though it won’t be for for much longer—the couple recently gave birth to a second baby girl.)
The canopy installed above the entry is another cozy spot for the family to hang out: “It’s a little bit scary when you step into it, even though I know it’s completely secure,” laughs Majida, “but it’s super fun.” The railing lets even more natural light filter through the space.
The window in the master bedroom wasn’t part of the original plans. When the house was being framed, Majida realized that you could see straight through to the nearby park from the top of the stairs (the wall wasn’t enclosed yet) and decided to create a unique viewpoint. “Small little design things don’t happen in the beginning,” she says.
Aside from that, the bedroom is quite simple in design. “You don’t want a lot going on when you’re trying to sleep,” she adds.
The designers’ love of the outdoors is also apparent in the master bathroom: “We brought in the natural element, again, with the cedar that wraps around the water closet,” says Majida, which pairs nicely with the geometric Lutina tile on the walls; a clever use of mirrors makes the space look much larger than it really is.
“If we ever move, I’m for sure going to miss that closet,” says Majida of her favourite spot in the home. The island that separates their two sides is the same size as the skylight above: “It’s like a puzzle—it just fits in place.”