Homes Photo Credit: Phil Crozier

How One Calgary Design Firm Rebuilt a Home Destroyed by the Flood

McIntyre Bills helps a family rebuild the home of their dreams after the city’s epic flood.

When the big flood hit Calgary back in 2013, designer James McIntyre was at his clients’ Elbow Park house the next day—to find their living room furniture floating in two feet of river mud.

The environmental disaster that shut down the city for weeks had taken out the basement and part of their main floor, destroying furniture, mementos and treasures. But instead of giving up on the Craftsman they’d called home for more than a decade, the family of four tasked McIntyre and his firm, McIntyre Bills, to remake their house anew. “We kind of joke with the client that, you know, third time’s the charm,” says the designer. He first worked with the couple back in the late ’90s when they moved into the home, and then,“We did a redesign right before it was flooded,” explains McIntyre.


READ MORE
This Open-Concept Calgary Home is a Dream


wl_dec2016_mcintyrebills-002-cmyk
Master the modern mix. The outside of this Craftsman-style home is traditional, so designer James McIntyre incorporated classic mouldings and coffered ceilings into the living room. But by painting them the same colour as the wall and ceiling, the space leans toward modern.
wl_dec2016_mcintyrebills-008-cmyk
Give presence to an entrance. There’s symmetry in this hallway with its custom gold-framed mirrors and white benches, but the addition of the gold-legged round table adds a unique element to make this space dynamic—and gives importance to this entryway.
wl_dec2016_mcintyrebills-005-cmyk
Replace a static office desk with a functional table. We live in a mobile and increasingly paperless world, so McIntyre put a stylish table at the centre of a new type of office. This versatile room also doubles as spillover seating for extra-large dinner parties.

But the interruption wasn’t without a silver lining. This time, because they were doing a head-to-toe renovation, the team worked with  Richard Lindseth Architecture to re-imagine the whole structure of the home (as well as designer Shaun Ford to design the Poliform kitchen, the fireplace millwork and the master ensuite). Together they took out one of two staircases that constricted the floor plan and turned three rooms into one large open-concept space: an expansive and bright white living room on one end and a generous family room on the other.

The new design would be beautiful, but not at the sacrifice of livability. “It’s always a challenge to get style with comfort,” explains McIntyre. “And some contemporary houses have this minimal kind of thing going on, but they don’t really have that sit-down, kick-your-shoes off kind of feeling to them. What I like about this house is that it comes off as an easy-living family house that’s focused on comfort, but it still feels stylish.”

For example, what was once the living room is now a study, though you wouldn’t know it at first glance—there’s no work desk, shelves or storage cabinets, drawers for stationery or the usual writing bits and bobs. “Everyone is just so mobile with their laptops and their iPads,” explains McIntyre. “The new home office is no longer a static desk and chair in the corner of the house.”

Instead, he designed the room around one stylish table with a pop-up charging station at its centre for tech accessories. In place of ergonomics-in-mind office chairs sits a mismatched audience of Platner chairs, a chartreuse pouf and a four-legged wooden antique seat (all sans rolling wheels and adjustable levers). With its gorgeous marble fireplace and elegant artwork, including an iconic Edward Burtynsky photograph and decorative figurines (some salvaged from the flood), this room also doubles perfectly as a secondary dining area for the couple’s large gatherings.


READ MORE
A Calgary Home Where Historic Meets Modern


wl_dec2016_mcintyrebills-003-cmyk
Warm up a contemporary space with thoughtful details. “Some contemporary houses,” says McIntyre, “don’t really have that sit-down, kick-your-shoes-off kind of feeling to them.” He warmed up this space with cozy materials, like on the Holly Hunt armchair, and an extra-roomy custom sofa.
wl_dec2016_mcintyrebills-004-cmyk
Add ceiling beams to an open-concept space. The designer helped to bring more intimacy to the design of the great room by teaming up with Richard Lindseth Architecture, installing beam detailing on the ceiling of the family room area.
wl_dec2016_mcintyrebills-007-cmyk
Make the seating area cozy. The kitchen’s eating area is a combo of sleek Camille chairs from Jonathan Adler and a loungey custom sofa—perfect for lingering over the morning newspaper.
wl_dec2016_mcintyrebills-006-cmyk
High-contrast finishes add visual interest. “Don’t always rely on colour and pattern,” says McIntyre, who paired whites and creams with dark espresso oak in the kitchen, accentuating the clean lines.

Modernizing the home in terms of style and function was equally prioritized alongside creating its brighter feel. In the kitchen, McIntyre created drama with contrast instead of colour or pattern, pairing a palette of white and cream with dark espresso accents on the oak cabinets and island. Retro-styled Jonathan Adler chairs line the island and modern Tom Dixon pendants hang above, and yet the space doesn’t lose sight of its purpose as a functional nucleus for the family. The curvilinear banquette seat in the breakfast nook is more sofa-style, creating an inviting gathering spot for the whole family.

The designer’s balance of luxury and comfort that says, as he puts it, “come in and drink your sauvignon blanc,” is perhaps most pronounced upstairs, in the fit-for-a-queen master bath. As you enter this room, with its vaulted ceiling and big windows, you get the sense that, just like the office wasn’t an office, this bathroom doesn’t feel like a bathroom.

Expansive chocolate marble floors are paired with white marble counters, ivory walls and warm lamp-like sconces and chandeliers—McIntyre says he’s tired of monochromatic white bathrooms—while creamy drapery breaks the rules. “You don’t really do drapery in a bathroom,” says the designer, “but we used an indoor/outdoor fabric, so it won’t mildew.”

Despite the hardship that instigated a massive renovation, today the home is the bright and open family refuge the couple always wanted. “What I really admire about these owners is that you can be shut down by stuff like that, but they weren’t,” says McIntyre. “The prevailing feeling you get from these people is that they weren’t daunted by the flood; they just kind of picked up, dusted off and went back to ‘let’s make our house beautiful.’ I like that they turned a really bad thing into what you’re looking at now.”

wl_dec2016_mcintyrebills-010-cmyk
Opt for sheer window treatments. Pair light, sheer fabrics and light- coloured walls with white window frames for an airy vibe. Unencumbered by heavy patterned draperies, the space looks contemporary and fresh, even in a traditional house.
wl_dec2016_mcintyrebills-009-cmyk
Warm metals combat the austere. To warm up cool whites, the designer peppered the home with warm metallic accents and fixtures in gold and antique brass, like the ceiling lights. Plus, says McIntyre, “A little bit of French gold never hurt anybody.”

SOURCES
Designers, James McIntyre and Crystal Erickson. Builder, Rawlyk Developments.
Kitchen/dining Arctic White Ash flooring, Divine Hardwood Flooring, Calgary, Edmonton, divinehardwood.com. Poliform cabinetry, Inform Interiors, Vancouver, informinteriors.com; Shaun Ford and Co., Calgary, shaunfordandco.com. CaesarStone countertop, Colonial Countertops, Victoria, colonialcountertops.com; Paragon Surfacing, Vancouver, paragonsurfacing.com; Jade Stone, Calgary, jadestone.ca; Atlas Granite, Edmonton, atlasgranite.ca; Kitchen Craft, Regina, kitchencraft.com; Pristine Countertops, Saskatoon, pristinecountertops.com; Western Marble and Tile, Winnipeg, wmgt.ca.  Bar stools, Eisenberg’s Fine Furniture, Calgary, eisenbergs.ab.ca, Century Furniture, centuryfurniture.com. Franke sink, Robinson Lighting and Bath, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, robinsonlightingandbath.com; Cantu Bathrooms and Hardware, Vancouver, cantubathrooms.com. Kallista Bierstil faucet, Cantu Bathrooms and Hardware, Vancouver, cantubathrooms.com. Tom Dixon pendant lamps, Gabriel Ross, Victoria, grshop.com; Inform Interiors, Vancouver, informinteriors.com; Kit Interior Objects, Calgary, kitinteriorobjects.com; Area Home and Lifestyle, Saskatoon, arealifestyle.ca; HutK, Winnipeg, hutk.ca. Knoll Saarinen table, Gabriel Ross, Victoria, grshop.com; Livingspace, Vancouver, livingspace.com; Kit Interior Objects, Calgary, kitinteriorobjects.com; Inspired Home Interiors, Edmonton, inspiredhomes.ca. Jonathan Adler Camille chairs, Chintz & Co., Victoria, chintz.com; Mint Interiors, Vancouver, mintinteriors.ca; Kit Interior Objects, Calgary, kitinteriorobjects.com; The Artworks, Edmonton, theartworks.ca; Atmosphere Design Lounge, Saskatoon, atmosphereid.ca; Five Small Rooms, Winnipeg, fivesmallrooms.com. Modiss Margarita pendant light, YLighting, ylighting.com. Custom sofa, Red Eight Workshop, Calgary, redeightworkshop.com.
Family room Poliform woodwork, Inform Interiors, Vancouver, ­informinteriors.com; Shaun Ford and Co., Calgary, shaunfordandco.com. Kyle Bunting rugs, William Switzer, Vancouver, williamswitzer.com. Naomi round end table, Arhaus, arhaus.com. Marquis Cove fireplace, Rawlyk Developments, rawlyk.com. Beige armchair, Holly Hunt, hollyhunt.com. Athens lounge chair, Baker Furniture, bakerfurniture.com. Refined rib sconce, Clarkson floor lamp, Circa Lighting, circalighting.com. Custom coffee table, cushions, sofas, Red Eight Workshop, Calgary, redeightworkshop.com. Custom mirrored tables, McIntyre Bills, mcintyrebills.com. Art pedestals, custom. 
Study Platner chair, Serge Mouille overhead light, Design Within Reach, dwr.com. Pale green pouf, H.D. Buttercup, hdbuttercup.com. Marquis Cove fireplace, Rawlyk Developments, rawlyk.com. Mantelpiece, Alberta Marble and Tile, Calgary, albertamarble.com. Side table lamps, Circa Lighting, circalighting.com. Edward Burtynsky artwork, Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary, paulkuhngallery.com. Rug, table, cabinets, custom. Stone statue, gold bowl, antique wooden chair, client’s own.
Hall Mirrors, Christine Klassen Gallery, Calgary, christineklassengallery.com. Custom white benches, Red Eight Workshop, Calgary, redeightworkshop.com. Custom table, McIntyre Bills, mcintyrebills.com.
Dining room Dining table, custom. Crossback dining chair, Eisenberg’s Fine Furniture, Calgary, eisenbergs.ab.ca. Century Furniture, centuryfurniture.com. Cliff table lamp, Circa Lighting, circalighting.com. Domo Nevada chandelier, Barovier&Toso, barovier.com. Dawn Pollock artwork, Newzones, Calgary, newzones.com. John Heward artwork, Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary, paulkuhngallery.com.
Bedroom Gannet lamp, Circa Lighting, circalighting.com. Kravet rug, DWA Interior Furnishings, Calgary, dwainteriors.com. Drapery, Designer’s Choice Drapery L.A. Custom armchairs, bed, Red Eight Workshop, Calgary, redeightworkshop.com. Gold table, brown pouf, client’s own.
Bathroom Artistic Tile flooring, Ames Tile, Vancouver, amestile.com, Empire Kitchen and Bath, Calgary, empirekitchenandbath.com. Custom cabinetry, Shaun Ford and Co., shaunfordandco.com. Victoria and Albert Ravello bathtub, Cantu Bathrooms and Hardware, Vancouver, cantubathrooms.com; Royal Flush Bath Boutique and Plumbing Showroom, Calgary, royalflushbathboutique.com; B.A. Robinson, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, barobinson.com. Waterworks Henry tub faucet, Cantu Bathrooms and Hardware, Vancouver, cantubathrooms.com, Empire Kitchen and Bath, Calgary, empirekitchenandbath.com. Duravit sinks, Kallista faucets Robinson Lighting and Bath Centre, across the West, robinsonlightingandbath.com; Cantu Bathrooms and Hardware, Vancouver, cantubathrooms.com. Clarkson double sconce, Bryant chandeliers, Circa Lighting, circalighting.com. Cristallo quartzite countertop, Icon Stone and Tile, Calgary, iconstonetile.com. Drapery, Designer’s Choice Drapery L.A.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Instagram Diary