50 Years of WL: #13 The Princes of Bel-Aire

A tour we'll never tire of: designer Paul Lavoie's stunning Bel-Aire (Calgary) home.

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We love seeing how designers create a space when they’re their own client, and for our Designers at Home issue in January 2015, that meant touring one of our all-time favourite houses: the home of designer Paul Lavoie, whose work has appeared regularly in the magazine in four decades now. (His first time was when he won “Search for Style” back in 1991.) It’s a gorgeous and rich update to a mid-century home in Calgary’s Bel-Aire neighbourhood (we couldn’t resist the headline!), but what we recall most was the call we received from Lavoie after it ran. His phone was ringing off the hook with compliments, he said, but most important to him was the fact that the portrait featured both Lavoie and his husband, Doug. “I love that it’s Doug and I, and it’s absolutely no big deal,” he told me. “To think 30 years ago, Bel-Aire would have been a conservative neighbourhood of oil tycoons.” And then he laughed, “Now everyone wants to be at our house!”

Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015

Doug and Paul Lavoie in their backyard in 2015, with their dog Edward.

Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015
Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015

When the Lavoies purchased this 1961 home in Bel-Aire, the backyard was covered in asphalt; Lavoie installed the pool and landscaping, along with a 22-foot Nanawall on the back of the house

Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015
Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015

The living room is an eclectic mix: mid-century pieces, including a sofa that Lavoie had recovered, antiques (the gold wingback chairs were purchased from a client) and end tables from William Switzer.

Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015
Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015

The fireplace is original, and the perfect spot for a piece by Graham Gillmore.

Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015

On the flip side of the fireplace, a TV glides down into a cabinet when not in use, transforming the space into a mod cocktail room.

Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015
Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living January 2015

To read about more great people, designs, homes and innovations that shaped Western Living, click here.

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