When Shari and Curtis Lester decided to renovate their two-storey French country-style home in the southwest neighbourhood of Willows of Wentworth in 2020, Shari described the process as a “creative adventure.” The couple, along with their two kids, had lived in the home for 14 years and were ready to reimagine the whole space. “It was such a wonderful opportunity to be creative again,” she says.
Shari reached out to Calgary-based Amanda Hamilton Interior Design, the firm that had previously completed their basement renovation, and she and Curtis spent the next year collaborating with the design team on a contemporary home with modern finishes to fit their lives. It all comes together in the living room, in particular — one of the Lesters’ favourite spaces, featuring a marble fireplace with a floating hearth, meticulously chosen furniture, curated art, and plenty of room for their family to live and play in.
There was an existing wood-burning fireplace in the space, but the room was reframed around a new insert with a Pietra Gray marble surround and floating hearth. “It’s super-contemporary, with very clean lines,” says Courtney Molyneaux, the lead designer on the renovation. While the striking fireplace is the centrepiece, the dual-treatment drapery helps soften the room, says Molyneaux.
Amanda Hamilton, founder and creative director of Amanda Hamilton Interior Design, adds that the marble plays off the rest of the space, including those practical details that make it functional for the family of four. “The stone interacts with the millwork, which holds the TV and games, and we’ve stacked the firewood in there for convenience, too,” Hamilton says. “It’s a beautiful balance between being a gorgeous space, but also practical.”
As the Lester family convenes to watch a Flames game, or for breakfast on a lazy weekend morning, their living room is the perfect place, especially with a fire roaring. “The fireplace is a beautiful, bold piece that just melts into the room,” says Shari. “And, on the weekend, when everybody’s there, you want to cozy up and hear that crackling. You can take your time and there’s no rush. Those are good days.”
After homeowner Shari Lester fawned over a painting on Vancouver artist Zoë Pawlak‘s Instagram, her husband, Curtis, surprised her with it for Christmas, and it became the living room’s feature art piece. Hints of the painting’s pink are incorporated throughout the space.
Designing the solid marble fireplace with its floating hearth took months of structural engineering. The modern and minimalist design ties into the powder-coated black metal millwork, where the firewood is stacked for convenience.
The Lesters’ existing Montauk sofa was reupholstered with a salt-and-pepper blue clay fabric. An iconic Eames chair in mohair works with the softer tones in the room.
All of the throw pillows were custom-made to layer different textures and patterns, while keeping the overall colour palette neutral. Tweed and mohair fabrics soften the room, and brass light fixtures add warmth.