Avenue Magazine -The Bungalow Challenge: Envy Eco-focused Environments and Loop Interior Design

A Home for the Hip Retiree

Published April 28th, 2011
By Jesse Semko

Company: Envy Eco-focused Environments and Loop Interior Design

Design Philosophy: This low-maintenance, eco-friendly home is the collaborative effort of Envy Eco-focused Environments and Loop Interior Design. Since 2005, Envy has been concentrating on the integration of renewable-energy building technologies and sustainable materials in the renovation and new construction of inner-city homes. Loop specializes in interior renovations, including the design specifications and drawings for residential homes, offices and retail spaces. Loop picked out all the material choices and colours for this project.

Who It’s For: Aging hippies who are all about modern livability. “The demographic we’re shooting for is one that’s sort of emerging in Calgary,” says David Wilson, president of Envy. “Now, as our parents age, they’ll start to realize that lifestyle is more important than having all the trappings of a big home.” The idea, Wilson says, is these aging hipsters will want to give up their two-storey home in the burbs, and downgrade to an inner-city home that lets them do cool things like walk to yoga class, or travel for months at a time without having to worry about home maintenance.

What They Did: When most people think of the 1950s bungalow, an image of a shoebox with shingles usually comes to mind. But it isn’t all that bad. There are many elements to these ubiquitous bungalows, such as rock-solid construction and hardwood floors, that are pretty sweet. The trick is adding in a few tweaks that makes use of modern design elements while still taking advantage of the great things these bungalows have to offer.

To start, Envy and Loop focused on the exterior, putting in new windows and doors, and replacing the broken-pop-bottle-ladden stucco with acrylic stucco to create an air-tight building envelope.

“The greenest thing you can do is make your envelope efficent,” says Wilson. “That’ll generate 90 per cent of your energy savings.”

Here are some of the colours and materials selected for the house’s exterior.

Moving indoors, it was important to maximize the existing space while also minimizing the relocation of walls to save money. To do this, Envy and Loop removed the centre partition that had previously separated the kitchen from the living room.

The new design buried a beam in the roof, allowing for an open-concept living and dining room, as well as a kitchen island and a wet bar.

To create a comfortable space for the home’s aging occupants, a large master bedroom and ensuite were created by sucking up the space that had prevously been used by a spare bedroom.

A laundry room was also added to the main level, as was a second full bath to accommodate the occasional overnight guest.

One of the biggest changes was the relocation of the stairwell to the basement, which was moved to install a great big south-facing window that floods the upstairs and downstairs with light. “The constant knock on the 1950s bungalow is the dungeon-like, musty basement,” says Wilson. With this change, he continues, it becomes a cozy room where the grandchildren can kick back and watch Finding Nemo.

To create a clean, modern look, all the walls were painted China white, and the existing oak floors were refinished with a water-based clear finish to maintain their natural light colour. The kitchen was given hickory veneer cabinets and Hanstone countertops.

Splashes of colour, including an orange front door and herb garden in the kitchen were also added to warm up the space without making it too earthy.

“We want to make sure this bungalow reinvention is salient for the next 50 years,” Wilson says.

Read the original article.

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