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In Calgary, a Couple Puts Their Own Stamp on Mid-Century Modern

by Sofia Tuovinen

A Couple Puts their Own Stamp on Mid-Century Modern | Design*Sponge
Aly Velji and Jason Krell were casually browsing real estate listings in Calgary, AB when they came across a mid-century style house that screamed their names. The couple lived in a condo and weren’t even looking for a new home, but knew they had no choice but to see this house. The four-level home, built in 1959, had everything Aly and Jason could ask for; a wood burning fireplace, cedar ceilings, some outdoor space and tons of architectural charm. All in all, it was even better than they initially thought. “We put in an offer a week later and had the house the week after. It was such a quick turnaround, but we knew this was the house for us,” Aly shares.

Aly and Jason’s dream house has been seven years in the making. From the beginning, the couple’s goal has been to put their own stamp on their mid-century modern home. “The bones of the house were perfect and just needed to be updated, which we have done floor by floor,” the couple explains. Updating each floor of the house has been a step-by-step process. They began with painting all rooms, re-staining the floors and extending the master closet. After moving in, they continued with redoing the bathrooms and reconfiguring the basement.

As with most renovation projects, Aly and Jason had to deal with unexpected surprises. Three years ago, a flood on the main floor forced the couple to start renovating the kitchen, living and dining rooms sooner than anticipated, and even caused a major snowball effect. “We had asbestos in the floor and it turned into an almost eight-month renovation challenge where we had no kitchen and were basically living out of our great room with a mini fridge and microwave,” the couple recalls. With patience, determination and hard work, most of the major updates in Aly and Jason’s home have now been completed, and the couple couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.

Aly, who has been involved in residential and commercial design for more than 11 years, loves creating original and timeless designs for his clients. Mixing different styles and using pattern and texture have become some of his signature statements — when Aly is his own client, there’s no exception. The mix and match approach has been repeated throughout the couple’s mid-century home, where meaningful items of various styles create happy and enjoyable design moments.

Despite having an interior designer as a partner, Jason, who works in PR and Communications, has made sure to add his own touch to their unique home. The bright yellow color of the front door was one of his design choices and a detail that both Aly and Jason love. The sunny door is also a perfect taste of what lies behind it — bold statement pieces, rich accent colors and beautiful brass details are just a few things that catch the eye in the couple’s tastefully decorated home. Aly and Jason have been inspired not only by the strong mid-century design of their home, but also by their travels around the globe — not to mention their happy place, Palm Springs, CA. When it comes to their home, Aly and Jason are on the same page. It’s a place to come home to, and a place to cherish the good things in life. “I am most thankful for all the amazing memories that Jason and I have been able to create in this home,” Aly shares. “We are constantly reminded of our travels everywhere we look, which is what a home should be.” —Sofia

Photography by Joel Klassen

Image above: Aly and Jason in front of their mid-century home, which they have lovingly renovated to reflect their style and personalities. The sitting area is the perfect spot to host friends in the evenings. “It is not very often that you see such a large deck in the front of a home, especially a mid-century style home. We absolutely love it.”

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The bright yellow door creates a big impact when entering the house. The exterior has mainly remained untouched, but Aly and Jason plan on painting it next year.

A Calgary Power Couple Puts their Own Stamp on Mid-Century Modern | Design*Sponge
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The great room, with its awe-inspiring slanted cedar ceiling and white brick fireplace, was a big selling feature when Aly and Jason first set eyes on the house. To make the space convenient for hosting pre-dinner cocktail parties and to promote conversation, the couple opted for two identical tufted sofas opposite each other. “The tribal kilim [rug] adds a bohemian […] touch to the space, which I love,” Aly adds.

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“No mid-century home is complete without a bar cart.” Aly and Jason picked this one up at a garage sale, as well as the cityscape above it. The typography prints on the left are from Aly’s online store, AVD Shoppe. The prints on the right were bought in Amsterdam. Aly and Jason love creating vignettes like this around their home — they all trigger happy memories from the couple’s various travels and adventures.

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The couple commissioned local graffiti artist David Brunning to paint this Asian style cabinet — it now creates a focal point when entering the great room. The cabinet is layered with books, a print by Elvia Perrin and a vintage brass sculpture that the couple found in Palm Springs, CA. The print on the right is by Edmonton artist Steven Csorba.

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Aly loves mixing styles and playing with pattern and texture. “A mix of high and low is a must!” he adds. “The lamps I picked up at a HomeSense — I loved the scale and shape of them and think they work really well flanked on either side of this vintage print.”

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Aly and Jason chose a glass and chrome coffee table to keep a light and airy feel in the great room. Flowers, trays, a domino set and matchboxes collected from around the world — styling coffee tables with unique items is one of Aly’s obsessions. He also loves to change up the accessories every so often to keep Jason on his toes!

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The main floor of the house was renovated three years ago after a flood. The dining room was turned into a bright and modern space, complete with patio doors that lead into the backyard. The star-shaped ceiling medallion is a beautiful design detail that perfectly complements the mid-century Nelson Bubble pendant.

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The view of the dining room from the kitchen includes a stunning abstract painting by Zoe Pawlak. The all-white kitchen serves as the perfect backdrop for the patterned tiles that Aly and Jason chose for the kitchen floor.

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“The kitchen is not as big as we would like, but we have created a space that is just right for us,” Aly explains. A large marble island separates the living room from the kitchen, and is the perfect work surface for prepping. The simple glass tile backsplash provides light reflection while keeping things neutral. One of Jason’s kitchen must-haves was a built-in coffee machine.

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The living room is the area for lounging, relaxing and watching TV. Aly and Jason chose a large grey sectional to ground the space, and designed custom built-ins for the entertainment center. The bright colors of the painting in the dining room are repeated here with cushions and decorative items. The star-shaped ceiling medallion is also repeated for a cohesive look. 

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The floating shelves in the living room house some of Aly and Jason’s favorite accessories, like the collection of buddhas bought on travels to Vietnam, Cambodia and Beijing.

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“Our home is where we take life less seriously. It is filled with quirky and sentimental items and really reflects both of our personalities.” — Aly & Jason

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The goal was to make the master bedroom feel like a retreat, spiced up with lots of personality. A dark, trellis style wallpaper makes the back wall a focal point. Aly and Jason added a simple tufted headboard for balance.

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Wall-to-wall ripplefold drapery in grey silk was chosen for a luxurious feel in the master bedroom. A vintage chair upholstered in moss green creates a cozy sitting area. The two statues were purchased on a trip to Tanzania, where Aly grew up.

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The couple renovated the master bathroom when they first moved in. The aim was to create a clean and simple space with a spa-like feel. The back wall of the shower is clad in travertine, and adds to the serene feel. An antique Afghan prayer rug adds a pop of color.

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The backyard is one of the most recently transformed areas. The couple’s love of Palm Springs served as inspiration for this space, complete with a custom gas fireplace and mid-century style garden chairs. The low maintenance paving stones were added for architectural interest.

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Aly and Jason added a large deck at the back of their property, and chose a modular sectional that provides plenty of seating during get-togethers. “I have been looking for a vintage umbrella forever — this one purchased at HomeSense comes in pretty close until I can find the right one,” Aly explains.

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“The side of the garage faces the seating area, so we decided to frame up some fabric and some mirrors on either side to make the space a little more homey,” Aly and Jason share. “The peacock style chairs were a killer find at HomeSense and help to bring a little Golden Girls glam to our outdoor space.”

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Aly in the couple’s Palm Springs-inspired backyard.

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Comments

  • This is one of the smartest mid-century renovations I’ve seen, because it’s a modernized version of MCM…MMCM! Even if/when the mid-century craze cools, their particular execution of this aesthetic will endure. It’s a beautiful updated interpretation and so liveable. The graffiti art piece is a stroke of genius! Great job, Aly and Jason.

  • Wow! I love so many of these rooms, but I think the simple bathroom is my favorite. I have a bathroom update coming in the next couple years, and this is a great inspiration.

  • Wow u can see this was done by a professional
    Designer with input from his creative partner from the graffiti painted cabinet to lighting lots of talent

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