A Rustic Retreat

Graeme and Angela Bell’s renovated bungalow uses natural light and reclaimed wood for a warm feel year-round.

December 29, 2017

photography Curtis Trent

Builder/Renovation Company Alair Homes; Kitchen Design/Builder Cucina Bella; Interior Designer/Decorator Urban Timber; Custom-made range hood American Range; Fridge Electrolux Icon, Jenn-Air; Flooring Kahrs; Lighting Restoration Hardware, Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre, Roll & Hill; Windows Plygem; Window Coverings Hunter Douglas; Fireplace Infinite Grand and American clay features from Carbon Environmental Boutique

When Top 40 Under 40 alumnus Graeme Bell and his wife, Angela, found their dream home, a long-term goal was fast-tracked into a matter of days. With the help of a realtor, the Bells found a home on Valleyview Drive in the neighbourhood of Parkview that checked all of their boxes: A 1960s-style bungalow that they could transform into a modern home with a warm rustic feel. The couple wanted a large, open-concept home with an abundance of windows for natural light, designed to be a mood lifter. If Angela had it her way, she would never have to turn lights on.
“Regardless of the season, it’s so calming, the natural light just relaxes you,” she says. The couple started the renovations on their own, but, as the budget grew, so did  the help they needed; enter Jeremy Walters with Boss Design for blueprints, and Jamie Affleck with Alair Homes for renovations [full disclosure: Graeme is a partner with Alair Homes].

“We originally didn’t expect to do a complete overhaul, but that sure changed,” Graeme says. “We even added an extra floor to add more square footage.”

Bathroom Design/Supplier — Emco Corporation; Doors — Plygem; Furnishings —Restoration Hardware, Cottswood Interiors & Design, Crate and Barrel; Hardware/Fixtures — Taymor; Reclaimed wood walls — Stikwood; Yoga room tiles — Ames Tile & Stone and Tierra Sol Ceramic Tile

Angela wasn’t keen on adding an extra room upstairs, until her very own yoga studio was proposed. She owns Moksha Yoga Edmonton, where her and Graeme met, and a home studio allows Angela to practise yoga whenever she pleases. The walls of the studio are Stikwood; authentic reclaimed barnwood that’s been milled down to about one quarter of an inch thick and has an easy-to-install, peel-and-stick adhesive. The studio is glassed in with large windows to enjoy the sun and views of the beautiful trees. “It feels unreal to have my own yoga studio here at home,” Angela says. “It’s like my very own getaway.”

The home holds a great deal of character and the Bells wanted to keep its integrity. They purchased the home from the original owners. The couple kept the main floor plan, but took out a wall to open up the space even more. The old basement floor plan stayed the same with some small updates, and Graeme couldn’t part with the retro original bar set-up.

Graeme is a big fan of the modern look and Angela wanted a rustic beach-y feel. However they both agreed that they liked the New York City-style concrete and wood look. Natural tones and whites grace the walls with natural products like bricks, woods, steels and glass. An American clay mural has been applied to some of the ceilings on the main floor, extending the concrete look above. 

Darren Cunningham and Leanne Wlock with Urban Timber were tasked with adding the rustic urban design elements throughout the home. There’s the exterior barn board and interior wooden bench seating, coffee and side tables, powder room wall and a sliding barn door closet in the front entry. The wood was sourced from Alberta and Saskatchewan grain elevators, as well as vintage buildings in Montana. In the master bathroom is a large glass walk-in shower with cedar seating, and an oval-shaped tub perfect for enjoying a soak after a long day. 

“You don’t have to have a rustic cabin in the woods to warm up a home,” says Cunningham. “You can add just the right touches to warm up a space and give it a modern feel.”

The kitchen is Graeme’s favourite space in the house. “We love entertaining. The kitchen is where we spend most of our time,” he says. The major focal point of the room is the industrial hood fan, accented with brick walls and, yes, a generous amount of natural light. The Bells also created a large stand-up, L-shaped island to be able to entertain family and friends in the space. There’s also a double-sided fire place that extends all the way up to the 18-foot ceiling. It’s an eyecatching element that adds to the rustic modern feel of the home.

The couple has also come across some interesting trinkets throughout the renovation process including a Canada Goose burlap sack. One major element of the original home Graeme and Angela had to keep was the bomb shelter under the front stairs — yes, a bomb shelter — that has been turned into a wine cellar. And of course it can be accessed from the bar. What a way to protect the precious wine cargo — cheers to that!

This article appears in the January 2018 issue of Avenue Edmonton. Subscribe here.


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