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"Doing colour properly also means having a space where you can get away from it, and have some variety, or it becomes too saturated," says designer Paul Lavoie.
Photos by Eymeric Widling
Walking through the bold geometric doors that lead into this Mount Royal home in Calgary, you might expect that you’ve heading into the serious side of luxe design: marble floors, a bold pedestal table, a crystal chandelier overhead. But to the right and left of you are a pair of matching fur-covered benches. And, just off this grand entry, the office hosts one of the most striking pieces in the home: a prominent California traditional desk, lacquered in nothing less than a bold, electric blue.
This is a house that’s meant to have fun.
After working with the team at I Know a Guy Renovations to complete the home (the new home had been left 85-percent finished, and stood vacant for a year before they purchased it), the homeowners brought in designers Paul Lavoie and Kristy Kerr of Paul Lavoie Interior Design to “really turn up the volume,” says Lavoie. “Their former house was much more sedate, and they wanted this house to be something that was from a level of being quietly elegant to something that is high fashion.”
And so, yes, you’ll see bold statements like that blue desk, or the purple drapes and the cobalt blue sectional in the living room, or the teal velvet Platner chairs in the salon. But the space is as much about the quieter moments: the more neutral wall coverings that showcase the homeowners’ impressive art collection, for example.
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Finding that balance is key to working with bold colour, notes Lavoie. “Doing colour properly also means having a space where you can get away from it, and have some variety, or it becomes too saturated,” he says. “But there’s nothing better than a room that’s been executed with colour that’s thoughtful, and the colour itself provides the texture in the room. It’s bold, but not overwhelming.”
In the salon area, also just off of the main entrance, most of the furniture is in black fabrics of various textures. “We used black like we’re seeing so many use white,” says Lavoie. “It’s a neutral base, the black dress that allows the art to breathe and the colour to really shine.”The tête-à-tête and occasional chairs in the room are both art deco inspired in their design, but those teal Platner chairs are decidedly mid-century: a mash-up of eras that results in a surprising and playful look for the space.
In the main living room, the bold and beautiful cobalt blue velvet sectional was made in Calgary. “Most of our furniture now is made locally,” says Lavoie. “With tariffs and timelines due to COVID, we’re getting much better production out of local manufacturers. I can’t emphasize enough that we want to buy Canadian right now—we’ve had such a shift in our business.”
The teal throw cushions on the sofa—along with the multi-tonal tweedy fabric on the club chairs—provide a visual colour link to the same shade on the chairs and area rug in the nearby salon. “We really wanted to connect the two rooms,” says Lavoie. “The living room and salon are joined by a doorway, and we didn’t want one to be the sombre brother.”
While the dining room doesn’t have the same punches of colour, it has its own wow factor in both a dramatic gold chandelier and the silver and black wallpaper detail on the ceiling. “It’s a graphic pattern that would be very intense on its own vertically, but horizontally is much easier to live with,” says Lavoie. The kitchen, too, could have been a quieter zone of white on white on white—until you spot the purple crystal chandelier over the kitchen table.
Finding these moments of delight among the quieter ones is just what the designers set out to do for this young family. “For me, a colourful space is the most amazing gift you can give yourself,” says Lavoie. “There are very few things in life that give you energy, and in a room that has the gift of colour, there’s always energy.”
All photos by Eymeric Widling.
Originally published February 2022
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