Louise Novinger Grant, a commercial litigation lawyer, describes her style as “conservative, cautious and classic.” But when it was finally time to decorate the Arts and Crafts–style home she shares with her oil-and-gas consultant husband, Bob Grant, and their three grown children, she was ready to take risks. Working with designer James McIntyre and Ronald Bills of McIntyre Bills, Louise was inspired by the work of American designer Darryl Carter, who favors relaxed, old-world spaces. “His interiors have a minimal approach to traditional furniture,” says James. “And I like the way he mixes old objets and antique bowls in crisp, clean rooms,” adds Louise. Like Darryl, they aimed for a balance of new and old when decorating. Click through for a look inside the modern-meets-traditional space.
Homeowners Louise Novinger Grant and Bob Grant in the entryway of their Arts and Crafts–style home in Calgary. White oak floors and inset limestone tiles define the entrance, which leads to the great room.
The double-sided fireplace in the great room is a dramatic focal point. Its walnut detail repeats on both sides for continuity and the stone inlay of the surround is a nod to the home’s exterior. Symmetry is an important feature of the room: integrated picture lights on the fireplace, bronze floor lamps, wingback chairs, cane-back daybeds and benches are all placed in pairs.
Elegant and edgy in equal measure, the kitchen’s design strayed from Louise’s usual, more conservative style choices. “I would never have chosen walnut or flush drawer pulls, but I love them,” she says. Shaker-style panelling on the upper cabinetry combined with flat-front doors on the lowers are a twist on tradition. A nearby doorway leads to a generous gardening room with a counter and sink, and just off the kitchen is the butler’s pantry, outfitted with appliances.
Open to the great room, the kitchen’s elegant mix of materials blends beautifully with the rest of the home. One of the islands houses a sink and a dishwasher.
Bathed in light, the kitchen nook has a seven-foot-long banquette that curves to follow the shape of the window. When the couple is home alone they enjoy breakfast here.
“The neutral palette helps maintain a calm, clean feeling,” says designer James.
Pocket French doors lead to the formal dining room, where the couple wanted a round table for friendly gatherings. The drapery’s faded damask pattern frames the view to the garden. “The landscaping in the back makes it the most calming, beautiful area,” says Louise. “You look out in the morning to the river where there are beavers, ducks and geese.”
The family room’s walnut-backed wall unit was custom-built to showcase the Canadian and Alberta Medalta pottery Louise has collected for more than 30 years. “I’ve got some very old pieces — crocks, Christmas pudding bowls, mixing vessels — that have been passed on through our families,” she says. “Bowls seem to grab me; it’s the simplicity of a good, clean shape.”
“We wanted a natural, casual feel for the family room,” says James. It’s decorated with a basket-weave sisal rug and comfortable furniture in neutral tones. Louise and the designer nabbed the art easel at fine art gallery Uno Langmann Limited on a shopping trip to Vancouver. “She always changes up the art piece,” says James.
Two of Louise and Bob’s children, Meryn and Mitch, on the second-floor mezzanine.
The four-poster walnut bed cuts a stately silhouette in the principal bedroom, while an alabaster table lamp signals luxury. The homeowners wanted airy rooms, so all the bedrooms have cathedral ceilings.
“Shingles in the bathroom are out of my comfort zone,” says Louise. “Ronald proposed that and I thought, ‘What are we doing?’ But now I love it.” The cedar shingles echo the exterior of the home. Installed above the mirrors, picture lights are a reoccurring motif throughout the house.
“Each fireplace in the house is individual, just like you’d find in an old Victorian, but in an updated context.” Grasscloth wallpaper feels cozy and current.
“The styling is influenced by old houses but the decorating and detailing is modern,” says James of the home office.
Author: Iris Benaroia
House & Home March 2018
James McIntyre and Ronald Bills, McIntyre Bills