Liske Developments Ltd.
Crestwood, Edmonton, AB
Allison Hardy, Senior Design Consultant, Cottswood Interiors
Once his kids were grown, the layout of the house wasn’t really suitable for a bachelor pad, but it was also too well built to merit a tear down. A little bit of patience, a little bit of luck, and a slow down in the real estate market ended up working in his favour. While on one of his regular runs through the neighbourhood ravine, he spotted a ‘For Sale’ sign mere blocks from his home. He had never noticed the unassuming two-story house before, which was almost completely hidden behind a patch of spruce trees. The sale was for land value only, as the house had fallen into disarray and was ready for a tear down. The location, situation, and timing couldn’t have been better.
After taking possession of the property, Jeff invited friend and local Architect, Rick Arndt, to come view the lot. The tree-filled ravine-side setting struck Rick with immediate inspiration, which he feverously sketched out on a napkin. Jeff was in love with the design from those very first pen marks and knew the house would be the perfect fit. Rick further roughed out the schematic design, which Jeff then took to ABDesign for completion of the construction drawings. After a bit of research, Jeff ended up hiring Liske Developments, a father-son custom home builder, to construct it. He received further assistance from another friend, Melody, who works as a designer in Scottsdale, AZ., to help source some of the interior stone finishes and select most of the lighting
The time, effort, and thoughtfulness his entire team put forward during the architectural design process proved to be well worth it. The 17 month build went off without a hitch, and Jeff and his son, Michael, moved into their new home in January 2016. They brought their existing furniture with them, but it quickly became evident that it wouldn’t work for more than an interim solution.
During the interior design process, Jeff felt that Allison really took the time to get to know him and develop a real understanding of his lifestyle and personality. After coming to see the house in person, Allison invited him to come in to Cottswood so she could share her ideas. She presented him with pictures of the furniture and fabrics she was recommending, then took him through the showroom so he could experience the comfort and feel of each piece she had selected. Jeff loved them all.
When it came to the great room, Allison let what was already on the walls set the tone. The major piece of artwork in the room, which was painted by an Edmonton-based artist, became the anchoring piece of her design and a huge inspiration for the rest of the space. The cobalt blue distressed leather chairs and their clean lines complement the colours in the artwork while honouring the architecture of the home. At the same time, the neutral toned sofa and rug add visual contrast through their textures without competing with the painting’s bold colours. The lightness of Allison’s selections are a far cry from the bulky L-shaped sectional that had blocked the painting previously. “The artwork just pops now.”
Beyond the scale of the seating, the variety and number of places to sit was another important consideration. “I always think of a room as a sacred place for family and friends to come together,” Allison said. “Having a sectional and just a chair wasn’t enough. A lot of people think that in a bigger, open space you need a lot of furniture, which is true, but you also have to consider how the people use the room too.” To this point, Allison added the round swivel chairs that back onto the kitchen as a playful solution that allows guests to be a part of both spaces. The ottomans near the front door are primarily used for putting on shoes, but they can also be moved in front of the fireplace when company visits to create a complete circular seating configuration.
In the dining room, Allison played off the elements that were already there, bridging the gap between the angular shapes within the structure and the organic beauty of the ravine outside. This juxtaposition is most evident in the table—its seared oak live-edge top paired with its polished stainless steel base marry the two worlds together in a single piece of furniture. Substantial yet simple, the piece connects the rest of the room together without feeling heavy. The room’s new sense of spaciousness has come as a relief to Jeff, who felt something wasn’t quite right with the bulkier pieces that had been there previously, but it took Allison’s expert eye to find the right solution.
In his own words, Jeff considers himself for be “pretty much a homebody” who gets a lot of enjoyment out of maintaining his yard and enjoying the natural seclusion his home’s location offers. He does like to have close friends and family over sometimes for dinner and drinks, he watches sports, or plays games. But when he’s on his own, he is most happy in his master bedroom, which serves as “a self-contained hotel room”, complete with a coffee maker, mini fridge, and ensuite.
Having been in his new house 18 months now, Jeff couldn’t be happier. “It’s been my dream to have a house like this,” he said. “I just love the whole house and how it feels in here. It just feels good.” Jeff has reached out to Allison again to come help him with his patio next summer, the only place that remains unfinished. He jokes that if he ever sells, he’ll have to sell the furniture with the house because it’s just “so perfect.” Both Jeff and Allison felt that it was their connection that really made the project such a success.
“You can get furniture anywhere. It’s really about the designers and the service people. That’s what really makes Cottswood stand out. “Allison made my house look the way it should look.”