This Colourful Calgary Bungalow Will Make You Feel Happy

The Renfrew home’s kitchen and dining area were given new life with thoughtful design ideas and pops of bright colour.

Photo courtesy of Picostudio.

Punches of lime-green, yellow, orange and blue set the tone for a reimagining of the kitchen/dining area of this 1931 bungalow. The house, located in the inner-city community of Renfrew, belongs to Vlad Amiot, his partner, Stephen Keating, and their aging husky, Jack. After searching for an affordable, just-right “Goldilocks” house together (Amiot had lived in a tiny downtown apartment; Keating in a sprawling suburban house), the couple saw the 1,000-square-foot bungalow and immediately bought it to renovate.

Amiot, founder of Picostudio and a sessional instructor at the University of Calgary’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, wanted a project in which he could get his hands dirty as the designer, contractor and builder. He took on almost everything, contracting out the HVAC duct-work, mudding and taping, window installation, and refinishing of the hardwood floors.

As the couple often hosts lively gatherings of friends and family, it was clear that the traditional segmented layout needed to be opened up, so Amiot removed the wall separating the kitchen from the dining area. A bank of millwork now flanks one side, with a niche exposing the lath and plaster of an old wall. It serves as a sideboard for eye-catching decor items, or as a bar during parties. The millwork is topped by clerestorey windows that allow light to filter in from the primary bedroom behind it. A sculptural hood fan in Baltic birch, with ducting painted bright yellow, hovers above the cooktop. The focal point is a mid-century modern-meets-industrial table that seats eight comfortably. There’s also storage under the bench, much needed in the small two-bedroom, one-bathroom house.

The end result is undeniably joyful. “My partner’s sister said to us: ‘How can you not be happy in this house?’” Amiot says.

Photo courtesy of Picostudio.


The Floor

The white, grey, yellow and blue tiles (Tex by Raw Edges, offered by Mutina) were a “splurge” says homeowner/designer Vlad Amiot, who configured the hexagonal patterns and painstakingly did the tiling himself. Looking back, he confesses the process “gave me migraines.”


The Fixtures

For the dining area, Amiot and his partner, Stephen Keating, chose LabWare’s subtly quirky opaque white-glass pendants, complete with cork stoppers, because, according to Amiot, they “liked how they reminded us of high-school science class.”


The Cupboards

The smooth, clean lines of IKEA’s white Veddinge cupboard fronts get a pop of personality with black matte cabinet pulls from Richelieu’s Aversa collection that Amiot deliberately laid out in a random fashion.


The Seating

Amiot designed and built all of the Baltic birch millwork used throughout the house, including the dining table and the bench, which has a cubby for Jack’s dog toys at one end and a built-in feeding station for his water and food bowls at the other end.

This article appears in the May 2024 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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