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The team at Calgary's Reena Sotropa In House Design Group were tasked with creating a forever-home for a growing family of five.
By the time these homeowners were expecting their third child, they knew it was time to move out of their modest three-bedroom home in Calgary’s Currie Barracks, an inner-city neighbourhood that was once the site of the city’s military base. But they weren’t ready to leave the area. “They really loved the neighbourhood,” says designer Reena Sotropa of Reena Sotropa In House Design Group. “They just wanted a durable, family-friendly space they could grow into, and grow with.”
The couple bought a lot and new home from Crystal Creek Homes, then brought the team from Reena Sotropa on board for the interiors, thanks to a referral from a good friend. “The clients were so fun to work with,” says designer Alanna Dunn, who worked with Sotropa on the project. “Aside from some basic details about the family and their needs, it was about as close to carte blanche as it gets.”
The homeowners wanted the new home to be light and bright, says Sotropa, and, above all, easy to keep and practical for the kids—nothing too fussy. And Sotropa’s team was careful to design the space so it could evolve over time. The kids’ playroom on the main floor, for example, will convert into a formal dining room down the road with a few simple changes. “We wouldn’t have done a coffered ceiling if it was just going to be a playroom,” laughs Dunn.
The team selected furniture pieces rather than built-in millwork for toys and art supplies, and the overhead lighting is a semi-flush fixture that sits higher than a dining room pendant might—though it can be swapped out in the future once a table and chairs are ready to take the place of playdough and art easels. That playroom also connects to the kitchen via a butler’s pantry—perfect for when it’s a dining room, of course, but also helpful for when either parent is prepping in the kitchen and keeping an ear out for what the kids are up to.
Just across the hall is a warm and moody home office for him, the walls lined with white oak, and accents of brass and gold contributing to a more masculine vibe in the room. A custom built-in Parson-style desk of black marble features a panel behind it that disguises any messy computer cords. The office is more than roomy enough for him, so Sotropa was able to borrow a few square feet from that space for a truly family-friendly space around the corner—a walk-in closet for the mudroom on the other side of the wall. “The one thing we’ve come to discover,” says Sotropa, “is that while lockers are nice, if we have the space, we love to do a large walk-in closet off the mudroom. With the climate we have, everyone has five coats, ski pants, backpacks—they’re chaotic and messy rooms.”
The main living spaces on the floor—kitchen, living room and eating nook—are one open space, and operate as the core of the home, where the family spends its time. The classic white kitchen—lacquered cabinets, Caesarstone counter and marble subway tile backsplash—is warmed up with brass pendant lights over the island, and rust-brown moulded leather bar stools. There’s a strategic and thoughtful mix of metals throughout the space: the kitchen’s black plumbing fixtures pair up with brass lighting; in the living room, brass pulls on the millwork are matched with black and brass sconces and an emerald-cut black marble fireplace surround.
Upstairs, the kids were given their own playful spaces in their bedrooms. “We tried not to do anything that wouldn’t easily be changed,” says Sotropa, “and that could grow with the child.” For one of the boys, the homeowners had chosen a Restoration Hardware bed that resembled a treehouse, and so Sotropa’s team designed the room around it, a woodsy Cole and Son wallpaper providing the appropriate forested backdrop. In another, a love for Pikachu was translated into bedsheets adorned with the Pokémon character, and a colour-coordinating Hygge and West bedspread and wallpaper adorned with golden birds. “He feels he got a Pikachu room, but his mom is very happy,” laughs Dunn.
The master bedroom’s colour scheme was inspired by a Kelly Wearstler paper that the team fell in love with. The graphic teal design adorns the commode room at one end of the adjoining master ensuite; on the other side, an upholstered bed picks up that shade and unifies the space. In between, a stunner of a black soaker tub is the visual anchor to a bathroom filled with textural references: basket weave tile on the floor, dark-grouted subway tile on the steam shower, richly veined white marble on the counter.
It’s a home that feels incredibly tailored to the clients’ current needs, but also ready to adapt as their family grows. “This particular family was really flexible and open-minded, which made them a dream to work with,” says Dunn. “It shows in their house—they just trusted the process, even when it was challenging. I think they’re very happy with the way it turned out.”
This story was originally published on June 25, 2020.
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