An art collector's paradise

From a home in Crestwood to a new build near downtown Edmonton

  • Builder

    The House Company

  • Location

    Westmount, Edmonton, AB

  • Home Owners

    Ray & Loriann

  • Interior Design

    Kathryn Kern, Cottswood Interiors

23 years ago, Ray and Loriann purchased an older home in Edmonton's Crestwood neighbourhood. The house was looking more than a little tired, so the couple opted to give it a complete overhaul. But after the wear and tear of raising their two sons started to show, they debated the idea of renovating a second time. Instead, they purchased an empty lot on the border of Westmount and Glenora to build something completely new, something that reflected their updated tastes and mature lifestyle. The couple spent six months working together with their builder, The House Company, refining their vision. They ended up with a contemporary infill design straight out of their architectural dreams.

Six months into their 18-month build, Ray and Loriann started looking for furniture. “We hadn't bought a piece of furniture in over 20 years, so we decided we better make it comfortable,” Ray laughed. They loved their existing Cottswood furniture, but felt its older style would be better suited to their casual cabin than the modern feel of their new home. Ray also felt that, since they had made their living locally, it was important to support another homegrown company. Combined with the value they had seen from their past purchases, it was that sense of support for the Edmonton community that brought them back to Cottswood around Christmastime to see if they could take advantage of the holiday sales.

The visit brought Ray and Loriann more value than they bargained for. They were introduced to Kathryn Kern on the Cottswood Interiors team who took them on as a client as part of Cottswood's complimentary interior design services.

Due to changes in the residential housing market, what was supposed to be a 14-month build and ended up taking 18 months. Given the extra time, Ray and Loriann ordered their furniture over the course of two years, starting with that very first trip at Christmastime. On Kathryn's insider recommendations, they ordered everything in sections so that they were able to link up their purchases with in-store sales every few months. Cottswood even stored the furniture for them until the entire plan had been fulfilled and construction was complete.

When it was finally time to move in, Kathryn was at the house the entire day, coordinating everything, making sure all the furniture was accounted for and went where it belonged. Kathryn even helped Ray and Loriann assemble their unique maple leaf chandelier, which arrived in more pieces than expected from another supplier, while the delivery personnel placed and unwrapped furniture.

Ray and Loriann have been living in their new home for 18 months now and say they couldn't be more comfortable. It's become evident already that Kathryn did her research, not only in finding pieces that coordinated well with the contemporary look of their home, but also in how Ray and Loriann make use of their space. Being a couple who loves to entertain, Kathryn focused on ensuring their kitchen, dining, and living areas were party ready. “You'd hate to get into your space and be two chairs short in your room”, she pointed out.

Some of the advantages of Kathryn's keen attention to detail are still being realized as they begin to settle in. The oversized overhang on the kitchen island might have been overlooked if the couple had tried tackling the project on their own. Kathryn selected stools that would slide right underneath, keeping the walkway clear and utilizing an otherwise empty void. The couple says that they had gotten used to the volume of their old house. Although their new space is smaller, both of them feel that details like this that maximize the square footage have made it seem even bigger.

Since the couple's plans for their new home were so different from their existing one, Kathryn relied on her expertise, imagination, and perusal of the couple's art collection to get a sense of what they were looking for.

“They had so much artwork, I felt like I already knew their style,” she said. “They share with me their vision, and it was just kind of an automatic thing.”

After helping select fabrics and colours, Kathryn came over to measure and tape out the perimeters of the furniture she had recommended so the couple could get a feel for the scale within the space. When Ray and Loriann saw her suggestions, they knew her ideas would be the perfect fit for their home.

“Kathryn had great colour sense, spatial sense, furniture sense. She was so patient and creative. It was just wonderful,” said Loriann. “We didn't need to hire an interior designer,” an option provided to them by their builder. “We had Kathryn.”
One of Loriann's favourite elements is the chaise lounge extension on the living room couch, where she can curl up to watch a show or read a book. “It feels so secluded.”

The multipurpose room downstairs is also a family favourite. Kathryn helped select furniture that would be comfortable enough to meet the laid-back purpose of the room's primary activities—playing games, working out, and visiting with close friends—but still keeps movement in the space open between its many areas of use.

Looking back, Ray and Loriann say they couldn't be happier with the experience. “Kathryn really got to know us. We were a team. We developed a friendship, and that's what excited us to go back to Cottswood,” said Loriann. “We thank her and really appreciate the time that she put into coordinating our home. It's really been a pleasure getting to know her.”

“We loved the experience, and we love Cottswood,” added Loriann. “We knew what we wanted, and Kathryn brought it all to life.”

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