Before & After: A Global Inspired Renovation

After nearly two decades of traveling and working abroad our clients were ready to move back to Calgary. The couple had purchased a bungalow several years earlier and now it was time to make it their permanent home. While situated on a prime lot on a quiet, mature street and backing on to green space, the house was in desperate need of an update. Our client dreamed of a fresh contemporary home - a clean slate where they could surround themselves with all of the treasures they had picked up over their years of traveling. After enlisting the services of Cortina Crafted Homes, the house was completely gutted and the transformation began.


This is the exterior of the home before the renovation. The surrounding landscape is stunning but the dated facade doesn't quite feel like it fits in. 

The exterior received a major overhaul.  We opened up the courtyard, changed the roof lines, enlarged the windows and completely refinished the exterior materials. The home now feels up-to-date while fitting in to the neighbourhood.

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Here are the kitchen and living room before the renovation. The wall between the rooms was removed to create a larger, more streamlined kitchen and open dining area.

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New full height windows and patio doors let in the streaming sunlight and brighten up the space ten-fold. The glossy white cabinets and backpainted glass backsplash reflect even more light while the clear walnut pantry & fridge wall adds just the right amount of warmth. The moroccan-style pendants were sourced from Egypt and add a touch of exotic flair to the space.

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Here is a before shot of the family room backing on to the kitchen.

We removed the corner fireplace and added a contemporary 2-way fireplace dividing the dining and living room spaces. The windows in the living room were also enlarged to let in that gorgeous view.

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A before & after shot of the stairwell to the basement. A niche was designed specifically for the antique door that the client brought back from Saudi Arabia. The glass railing continues with the open concept while allowing a clear view to the artwork. 

Here is another shot of the foyer. The pottery and rugs are all from the client's collection and add so much character to the space.

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The laundry room before & after. White lacquered cabinets and carrera marble contrast beautifully with antique furniture and rugs brought back from the client's travels.

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This is the ensuite before.

The new ensuite - clear walnut contrasts with the extra thick carrera marble countertop.  The mirror reflects the gorgeous glass mosaic tile inset in the shower. 

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The hall bath before.

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Here is the new hall bath. The vanity is a Johnson & Associates custom design. The whole room is tiled with a large scale glossy ceramic tile inset with a glass match stick herringbone. The effect is light, bright & luscious.


Here are a couple of shots of the basement before. It was dark, dreary & cold, not really somewhere you'd want to spend any time. There were also a multitude of bulkheads due to the usual duct work in a basement.


The basement is now completely inhabitable, complete with media area, pool table and bar (shown above). The contractor was able to get rid of most of the bulkheads to really open up the ceiling. A soft colour palette on the walls, ceiling and floor keeps the space feeling open and airy despite the fact that the ceiling is less than 8' high. 

The tiles inset into the backsplash of the bar were found by the client on a trip to Africa - a special touch that integrates their travel history into their home.

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This is the basement guest bath. Not sure about the scale of that mirror....

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And here are the after shots of the guest bathroom. Again, the soft colours and full height mirror disguise the fact the ceilings are so low, creating a space that is open and inviting.

 This is one of our favourite projects from last year. It was such fun to see the transformation of the home from 70's drab to classic contemporary but even more amazing to see it come to life with our client's collections and personality. 

Before & After: Modern Ranch Renovation

We were lucky enough to work with our client to renovate this 70's ranch bungalow inherited from her grandparents. While it was desperately in need of an update, it was our job to reinterpret the ranch style while maintaining the home's soul. 

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Here is the back entrance before. This is a working ranch with an obvious lack of storage for hats and other cowboy paraphernalia.

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The back entrance after. We created a functional mudroom with plenty of hooks and cubbies for boots & hats. The goal was to have everything open and at an arm's reach for an easy in and out. The hard wearing basalt floors look beautiful while providing a heavy duty surface that can battle the elements. The wood from the 2 barn doors beyond were salvaged from old buildings on the ranch.

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While the existing kitchen was fairly large, the layout didn't function well for the client. We flipped it to the other side of the room, allowing us to add plenty of storage and workspace

The new kitchen. The 11' island provides ample workspace and seating while the window above the cooktop frames the stunning Alberta landscape beyond like a piece of art. The light fixture was custom made using jar pendants and reclaimed wood planks.

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The original dining room. 

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The dining room after. The existing wall separating the family room and dining room was removed to create an open, family-friendly space. A custom credenza creates a division between the rooms while housing a pop-up TV. The steel pendant is hand made by John Beck and complements the space perfectly. The table was custom made for the client and will surely be in the family for generations to come. The windows were widened so the view can take centre stage. The paintings are treasured pieces inherited from the clients' grandparents.

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This is the original front entrance. Despite all of the windows, it felt quite dark and dreary.

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The front entrance now. A lighter wall colour lightens up the room dramatically while the new stair railing adds a sculptural element. The art work brings the space to life - the pieces were commissioned by the client and depict her own horses. 

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This is the back hall leading to the bedrooms before. Excuse the action shot - this was taken on site measure day!

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The new back hall. Believe it or not, the hall wasn't widened and the ceiling wasn't raised. It's amazing what paint and lighting can do!

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This is the old master bedroom - although the swag pendants had their charm, it was time they retired.

The master bedroom now. This was the only area we replaced the wood ceilings with drywall, but maintained the rustic charm with a reclaimed wood headboard wall. And did you notice that incredible view out the window again?

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Here is the original ensuite -  a pretty typical 1970's palette.

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The new ensuite is fresh and spa-like. The double vanity has lots of storage to keep the  clutter at bay.  A textural mix of neutral tiles and simple patterning is soothing.

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This is the original spiral staircase to the lower level. 

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And here it is now. Definitely one of our favourite elements of the home. The timber-like treads appear to be rotating on a single axis. A challenging design that was artfully constructed thanks to talented trades.

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Here we have the original home office. Although this photo looks like it was taken in the 70's, it was just last spring - honest.

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The new office with a custom built-in credenza and crisp paneled walls. The furnishings are classic with a rustic twist. 


Thanks for letting us share this project with you - we hope you are as inspired by it as much as we are! 

*Photography of renovated home by Dustin Mifflin

Rustic Revisited - A Canmore Mountain Home

Sometimes a project presents itself that seems like a no brainer. But then you take a second look and the concept can be taken in an unexpected direction. We recently worked on this Canmore mountain home for a repeat client. Of course, the first idea was for a rustic mountain lodge – but that seemed too easy and really didn’t fit with the clients’ style.


Our goal was to bring mountain rustic style up to date, and create a clean and contemporary mountain home, but respect the setting.

One major element that helped create this feeling was the ceiling beams. 25 years prior, the client and his father had cut down some trees on the family farm. They saved the lumber with the intention of building a house on the property. Unfortunately that house was never built, so these beams remained stored in a Quonset hut for over two decades. When it was time for the clients to build their mountain home, they knew those timbers needed to be used somehow. That bit of history really adds to the character of the home.

The timbers were all rough-hewn Douglas Fir, but we had the builder process them and plane them down to uniform sizes. Some were larger, but we used that size difference to an advantage to create depth and relief. All of the brackets were custom forged into a clean, modern shape. What could be a large expanse of drywall ceiling instead has warmth, character & history.

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The view is definitely the star of the show, but the copper range hood and leather finish granite counters hold their own. Rustic elements used in a clean, contemporary way bring the focus onto the nature of the material.

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Walnut slab cabinetry warms up the stainless steel and wrought iron.

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A nod to the old farm with a rolling ladder.          


The Master ensuite is a private spa in the mountains. Lots of mirrors around the vanity reflect light. Natural materials and clean lines allow the landscape to be rustic and wild.


Again, the view! Every window is a like a landscape painting framed in walnut. After all, what better model is there than Mother Nature?

Photography by Dustin Mifflin