amy azzaritointerior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: jess loraas

by Amy Azzarito

Photographer Jess Lorass grew up on the Canadian prairies before relocating to Calgary. She moved into this apartment in 2009, after completing a gut renovation to create a more open and seamless flow between the spaces. She hadn’t considered high-rise living before, but the apartment’s location bordering Calgary’s Mission District and the city views sold her. Jess is always up for an adventure and now juggles photography with competitive show jumping, and in May, she’s off to New York for a summer program at Parsons! Thanks, Jess, and a big thanks to Liz Ikiriko for connecting us to Jess!  — Amy A.

Image above: The second bedroom doubles as my office, as well as being home to one of my favorite pieces of art. The bed is vintage Ikea, circa late 90s. I painted it white and never want to see beech wood again! The simple white bedding is paired with Danish teak nesting tables from my grandfather that I cherish. The Tolomeo reading lamp is by Artemide, and the hanging pendant is the Mechanic’s Beacon Cage Light from Anthropologie. Finally, the fabric wall piece is from the early 1950s and not much information regarding the artist was ever found. The piece is made of vintage vegetable-dyed army fatigues and was a special find at one of my favorite stores in Palm Springs, Hedge.

Image above:  Although I rarely use the dining table officially, I can’t imagine not having the spot for tossing things before I head out or when I get home. The Saarinen dining table is by Knoll, the pendant is the Non-Random by Moooi and the Series 7 dining chairs are by Fritz Hansen.

CLICK HERE for the full home tour after the jump!

Image above: The living room is a relaxed space for guests to chill out in, especially with the Eames lounger. The Eames lounge chair and ottoman by Herman Miller are accompanied by the Saarinen side table by Knoll. The lamp from Ikea was somewhat of a disappointment when I discovered the light source was a harsh LED bulb. I softened the LED with gels, and it makes for a great reading light (Stockholm lamp by Ikea). The shelving unit was a custom piece I designed after being inspired by a similar wall unit at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. And finally, the amazing artwork behind the chair is by Marigold Santos.

Image above: The kitchen was originally galley style and now functions as a workspace and informal dining spot. The faucet is Karbon by Kohler, the counter stools are Harry Bertoia by Knoll and the sofa is the Goetz by Herman Miller.

Image above: The main bedroom is great for south exposure and beautiful morning light. I’ve kept the bedding simple and crisp to let the wallpaper stand out. The wallpaper is a historic map of Paris that I had custom printed by the company Rollout. They were great to work with, and it turned out better than I could have asked! The wool blanket is a Hudson’s Bay blanket —essential for the Canadian winters we have in Calgary. The bedding is Mateo, the throw pillows Liberty and the reading lamp is the Archimoon Soft by Flos.

Image above: The office makes it really easy to be productive as well as creative. I’ve managed to get all the printers and technology behind closed doors so that the space can be a relaxing bedroom, as well. I had the shelves built overhead running the full length of the room for stashing books and magazines. The tack board was a project that a friend helped me source through a local upholstery shop; it was the finishing touch. The Eames Management chair by Herman Miller is definitely a comfortable choice. I know that I can spend a lot of time in it!

Image above: This room is referred to by most visitors as “the snug.” It’s the ultimate in hideaways in the house and usually leads to someone napping. Electrical was very hit and miss in what I could and could not do, but this room really came together with the swags of Edison lights running from the track above. This room features many special pieces to me, like my vintage camera collection, old photos from college days, Airdrie antique mall finds and the Hermes blanket my friends got me for a recent birthday. The sofa is the Drop In by Bensen, and the bench is a George Nelson platform bench by Herman Miller.

Image above: The master bathroom moonlights as my closet with the tub surrounding all the activities. The tub is the Happy D by Duravit, and the pendant is the George Nelson Bubble Light by Modernica. This room fills with amazing amounts of natural light and overlooks the green space below as well as the city skyline. The walnut-framed mirror at the left was a custom build by Rectangle. I’ve been known to find friends drinking wine and sitting in the tub during parties!

Image above: Rideau Towers was built in the mid 50s and was progressive architecture in Western Canada at the time. The four buildings used a suspended concrete-slab construction technique that allowed them nearly a column-free floor plan. The seven-story buildings were designed by a German-trained, Toronto-based architect, Peter Caspari.

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  • love this home..so fresh and posh in a very unassuming way..love the art behind the eames lounger and the map of paris behind the bed..just amazing! thanks for sharing! xx meenal

  • First of all, I am in LOVE with this office and bathtub! HEAVEN!!!

    Secondly, as a West Coast Canadian as well and frequent Biz Ladies contributor, I am always so thrilled and happy to see that you post article, pics and homes from outside of the USA. We love that you embrace all countries:) Thanks Grace!

  • I love everything that’s happening here. That map of Paris! That giant mirror! That light above the bed!

  • I am blown away by this home. I keep going back to the dining room photo, I want to live in that room. I really really love the antique frame – any idea where I could find one similar?

  • Yay Cowtown features! I know that building, nice to see a Calgary pad that is not brown on brown.

  • Two canadian sneak peeks in one day! I hope to see more! You have a lot of readers here in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

  • Your home is seriously lovely… just wondering what made you decide to add all those renovations to a rental unit?

  • great house..the link to rideau towers is to a similarly named place in Toronto, not Calgary….

  • This pad is so refreshing~
    Those high gloss cabinets with the penny-tile backsplach and grey counters are a TKO!
    Love the fact that you showcase homes from Canada and other countries outside of the USA.

  • the bath tub stole my heart away! i think meredith from greys anatomy would love this tube too. (you greys anatomy fans would know what im talking about!)

  • In the picture of the kitchen/bar area and living room sofa, can you tell me more about your small-scale, zig zag black and white rug? I’m looking for one. Thanks.

  • Hooray Cowtown! I love this place – that map of Paris is genius. It must just feel so fresh and relaxing to walk through this apartment – I love the seamless design carried consistently throughout. Beautiful job Jess!

  • Oh gosh it is so exciting to see a fellow Calgarian on designsponge!!!! Where are your favourite places to shop in Calgary, Jess? Kit on 11th is one, I’m guessing! Do you have any hidden gems to recommend?

  • I love your Sneak Peaks, especially this one. I just started my own design blog, and hope to learn a lot from you (I already have actually). Thanks for the inspiration! -Stacy Curran

  • i like it. it expresses warmth, elegance and irony.
    the colors are neutral, natural, and reproduce the tone ‘of light, wood, the external environment.
    very immediate and pure.

  • Very refreshing and lively. I’m fascinated by the office – just looking at the picture almost makes me want to work!

  • Love love love the whole house everything comes together perfectly. However I am dying to know where the huge white ornate mirror came from. I need that in my life.

  • What a great bachelorette pad…plus the owner has such an amazing life (show-jumping?). I do love the mysterious textile hanging over the bed. It’s not clear, but is it a weaving?

  • Would also love to know where the oversized white mirror is from – it is absolutely gorgeous!

    • soiux

      that’s a good question. i wasn’t sure myself so i did some googling this morning. it looks like the definition of vintage in terms of years required to get that label is unsure. some say 15-20 years, some say 10. “mid-90s” would fit that definition, though i agree that anything from the mid-90s doesn’t really feel old enough to be “vintage” to me ;)


  • I am curious is this considered a condo, and did you renovate the bathroom or did you score it that way?

  • I would love to know if you purchased the vanity in the bathroom. If so, do you remember where it came from?

  • Hello everyone! Thanks for all the kind responses… so overwhelming!

    I would like to get to a few questions… first off the mirror I picked up from a store in Calgary called Peridot. I believe they have an online store as well as a location in Vancouver.
    Zoe… I purchased the double unit and renovated it from there… it is not a rental.
    Rebecca… as for the small door mat I think that I may have found it at Target last year :(
    Erin… Kit is definitely a great spot in Calgary & great people there! I love to hunt around and find things all over the place though.
    MB… I would consider the textile a tapestry or perhaps a rug.
    Sioux… yes I guess Vintage is a word used a little out of context…I couldn’t remember the name of the bed from Ikea it was too long ago for me :)
    Lisa…the home is definitely considered a condo, and the bathroom was renovated accordingly :)
    Margot…both vanities were custom pieces made for me by Rectangle.

    And to all asking about the log bowls… they are Canadian by some really great artists… http://www.loyalloot.com and they are also sold at Kit!

    thanks again to all!!!

  • Gorgeous home! Yay Cowtown. I was delighted to see the photo of the Rideau Towers. It is situated right above my old Junior High School, which I attended in the 60″s (yikes).

  • well designed and pretty! nice tiles you have in the shower, and also the fact that your design classics have quirky company (f.i. art and IKEA :) )

  • WOW. I would never have expected to find such a beautiful space inside that building. Absolutely stunning! Well done!

  • I grew up in Calgary and this is just so reminicient of when I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and driving by these buildings on the way to Woodward’s to get a chocolate malt and that bright blue Alberta sky. They were just plain jane apartments in those days and probably not that desirable. Your space is stunning incidentally.

  • Might be a bit late to ask, but Jess, can you share where you got that amazing Persian rug in the Eames chair photo? Thanks!

  • I would love it if one of the Canadian decor mags would do a feature on your home if they haven’t already.

  • I have the same ikea Stockholm lamp (also next to an eames lounger– they are perfect together!) and agree the light is way to harsh. It feels like a dentist’s examination lamp.

    Does anyone know how you soften LED lights with gels, as described above? Or any other ideas for softening LED lights? I love the style of my ikea lamp, but I’m afraid to turn it on!

  • I’m a prairie girl who now lives in Toronto and loves Toronto homes, but thanks for reminding me there is beautiful architecture and creative spirit all across this country!

  • I love what you have done with the space in this home and am completely enamored with the Eames Lounger!

  • Love that Paris map! Any chance you can share the file (or point me in the direction) of the map you used for printing? Thanks!