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The Globe and Mail

Kelly Deck's keys to luxury decor on a budget

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My new place has two bedrooms, and 2½ bathrooms, spread over three floors of roughly 370 square feet each. The benefit of three levels is that I have very distinct spaces and privacy from floor to floor. But the challenge lies is making the home still feel expansive and fluid. It means practising restraint. No crazy wall colours, no contrasting mouldings – just a soft wash of white on the walls, ceiling, trim, and window casings. This softens the distinction between each element, making the rooms feel higher and wider.

Barry Calhoun

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The coffee table is a special piece from Brent Comber – 30 inches in diameter, its roundness makes it easy to manoeuvre and its durable surface is perfect for putting feet on or resting a coffee mug, coaster-free.

Barry Calhoun

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In the kitchen we used white quartzite on the countertops and splurged on the backsplash: a beautiful dolomite mosaic tile that adds texture and interest to the all-white space. On the floors, we also stayed light, using wide plank, matte white oak in the common spaces, dove grey carpet in the bedrooms, and a complementary grey tile in the bathrooms. All finishes are close in depth, making for smooth and quiet transitions.

Barry Calhoun

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One of our core principles for the project was to integrate as many needs as possible into the millwork. On my main floor, the entire east wall of the room is cabinetry. The media cabinet in the living area houses AV equipment, blankets and books, and floating shelves for display. Next to that, floor-to-ceiling cabinets have hanging storage for coats, shelving for shoes and overhead bins for seasonal overflow.

Barry Calhoun

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Over the dining table is an image of a boys’ choir I enlarged from the Regina Herald, December, 1952 – my dad is in the second row on the right.

Barry Calhoun

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Barry Calhoun

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The trick to making a small space seem big is carefully selecting furnishings that suit the proportions of the space. The Edward Sofa from Bensen was the first thing we picked. Just six feet wide and 37 inches deep, it’s small scale, but luxuriously comfortable. Its fine metal legs, recessed from the base of the sofa, prevent the piece from looking bulky and also allow sunlight from the window to pass under it. Allowing natural light to bounce around a small space will always leaven it.

Barry Calhoun

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Barry Calhoun

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Because the kitchen shares space with the living room, it’s important it looks less utilitarian and more like furnishing. It’s why we made panelling the fridge and dishwasher with cabinet doors a top priority. Functionally, we tried to put as many drawers as possible in the kitchen, unlike a cabinet, a drawer allows the user to easily access every square inch of its storage space. We even captured the small amount of space underneath the stairs, providing garbage and pull-out recycling bins.

Barry Calhoun

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