After custom building the two homes they had raised a family in, Sarah Beadle’s empty-nester clients bought a beautiful but dated condo on Memorial Drive in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The client wanted a complete facelift – but to preserve the kitchen backsplash and existing flooring in order to keep costs manageable. Sarah says, “I had to create a space that was light, bright, and expressed who the clients are to create a space they love to come home to, especially since the square footage is a lot smaller than they are used to!”

See the home in the slideshow and Sarah shares more below.

You are the founder of your own interior firm, Gioia Interiors. What sparked your interest in interior design?
I absolutely love interior design, but I always tell people I am in the business to help people first. Before design school I was always trying to figure out a way where I can help people and still be creative at the same time. I don’t remember the exact moment when I realized I wanted to be an interior designer but it started at a very young age. The idea that I get to sit down with clients, get to know them on a very personal level, and help improve their quality of life through their home is what gets me out of bed each morning! Also, I’m addicted to the adrenaline that comes when a client gets super excited about the design concept and seeing it unfold in real life. To me, interior design is a lot more than just pretty tile and brass accents (but don’t get me wrong, I have a love for pretty things!), it’s about all of the relationships that get built and being entrusted with one of the most important things in life. After realizing all of this, how could I say no to being in the interior design industry!?

Let’s talk a little about the home you are sharing with Rue today. What was your inspiration for the home’s design?
There’s an artist who turns watercolour paintings into functional pieces for your home and I couldn’t help but be inspired by her ‘Kananaskis’ print. (https://lrempelart.com/collections/watercolour-tea-towels/products/kananaskis-cotton-tea-towel).The client had quickly mentioned her love of greens and blues and so I took inspiration from the different tones and moods of blues and greens and infused them in to the main living spaces. At the end of the project, I added the last finishing touch…the ‘Kananaskis’ tea towels!

You mentioned the condo was very outdated. What were some of your bigger challenges when modernizing?
We were doing a lot of re-designing (moving walls, adding millwork, etc) and so I had to really get creative with making sure the space felt completely new and transformed by the end of the project. The hallway is very long and narrow so it didn’t make sense to install any artwork but it definitely needed something to add interest. I relied heavily on wall mouldings in each space, such as the reverse panel moulding in the hallway, to add architectural interest and more personality. Another design dilemma was the kitchen backsplash. We repainted the kitchen cabinets and replaced the kitchen countertops but the clients wanted to keep the backsplash to reduce costs. It is a very dark grey subway tile that has a slight green undertone, and it is something I wouldn’t typically use in a project! Because the client wanted a light and bright space, I had to make sure that there were different shades going on in the kitchen so the backsplash didn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Adding the ‘cement’ inspired quartz to the perimeter helped gradually blend in the dark backsplash with the lighter cabinetry.

What was the biggest design risk you took that paid off?
Other than not asking the clients to reconsider keeping the existing dark tile, the biggest design risk for this space was painting everything the same color. I like to paint the baseboards, casing, cabinetry, and ceiling a few shades darker or lighter than the wall color. This may seem like such a trivial thing but not everyone realizes that by doing so, it’s an easy way to add layers and dimension in to a space. For this space, I decided to go all one color to create a simple canvas for such a small space which allowed us to incorporate more elements in regards to the finishes and final touches without making each room feel overcrowded. I take paint placement very seriously and so this was a big risk for me!