The Key to This Couple’s Impromptu Parties: An Exterior That Stops Neighbors in the Street
The 1959 bungalow was asking for cool curves.
Published May 19, 2023 1:00 AM
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When Canadian designer Alykhan Velji and his partner, Jason, realized they had made as many renovations to their Chinook Park, Calgary, home as they could, they knew a move was in the cards. But the couple wasn’t quite ready to leave their neighbors behind. “On any given Friday, we’d tell people to come over to our place and we’d sit out in the front yard,” shares Velji. “It was lovely to have impromptu gatherings.”
After nearly four months of searching, they found a bungalow in need of a full update in Kelvin Grove, just eight blocks away from their previous house of 13 years. The spacious front patio was naturally a huge draw, but the circa-1959 home’s drafty windows, old roof, and sparse backyard were begging for an overhaul. Still, “keeping the nostalgia was definitely a must,” says Velji. Ahead, the designer walks us through the major exterior makeover that got everyone on the block talking.
Embrace Fresh Shapes
While an enclosed garage is an essential during the snowy winters, the existing single-car garage was more of a nuisance than anything: There was no door that provided direct access to the interior of the home. Velji decided to absorb the space into the house, turning it into a living area, and added a double-car garage in the back that is one with the rest of the building.
To give the mid-century architecture a modern edge, the designer installed a circular window in the now-enclosed area (for continuity, there’s also one on the new garage structure). “People were driving by just stopping and staring when they saw that going in,” says Velji.
Mix Three Siding Moments
When it comes to exterior design, Velji looks to play with texture, pattern, and paint, just as he would inside. Painting the red brick white automatically made the house look less dated. Then for a touch of warmth, he covered some sections in a walnut-hued product by NewTech that looks exactly like wood, but is made out of recycled plastic. “It’s super-durable and comes in all sorts of colors,” he shares. Everywhere else, he stuck with simple board-and-batten.
Seal the Deal
The recycled plastic panels wasn’t Velji’s only eco-conscious decision. The couple invested in solar panels and replaced all the windows and doors with black framed ones from Jeld-Wen that are triple-pane (read: energy efficient). “In our climate, we definitely need them,” he says.
Spice Up Hardscaping
Working with the various elevations in the backyard, the couple nixed grass altogether for low-maintenance hardscaping. The tiered composite decking that extends from the house encompasses a lounge and dining area. In the center, they laid down a large concrete pad that features a subtle diamond design carved into its surface. “We have all these different zones, which is great, especially because we entertain a lot,” says Velji, who put the space to use shortly thereafter for a Pride party. “We had about 60 people in our backyard. Everybody sort of had their own moments; it didn’t feel crowded.”