Calgary Herald  |  Andrea Cox  |  July 10, 2015  | Link

Boudoir luxury revisits Hollywood glam

The boudoir — it’s an eye-catching design trend that’s turning heads, big time.

This innovative and stunning concept blends two adjacent spaces — the ensuite and the walk-in closet — to create an open, luxurious lair to hang out, relax, bathe, chat, enjoy a glass of wine and dress for the evening’s festivities.

Think 1950’s Hollywood glam, circa Marilyn Munroe and Grace Kelly — a sexy and chic space filled with sophisticated design touches, elegant finishes, and comfortable furnishings from chaise lounges to wine fridges.

“It’s really a no brainer,” says Kirsten Gingras, designer and founder of MACK Custom Homes. “It sounds so luxurious and yet it is really not a splurge — you already have the space. It’s all just about thoughtful design.”

She recently designed and built a 2,700-square-foot walk-out bungalow for her family in Elbow Valley West. It’s on a third of an acre lot that spills onto farmland, with stunning views of the foothills. She put her energy into creating a functional and beautiful home, infused with all of the thoughtful touches, a home that would work for all of her family members from her two children (Abbie and Charlie) to herself and her husband, Michael (the first letters of the names of her family join to create her company name, MACK Custom Homes).

On her must-have list was a sumptuous boudoir space, a dressing room that would be the envy of any, with built-ins, a large window to let the light and fresh air in. It’s bejewelled with pretty accessories and hardware and features a sumptuous chaise as the focal point. It’s an intimate and decadent space where Kirsten and her girlfriends have been known to hang out, chat and drink wine. “It’s my Sex in the City closet,” she says with a laugh, referring to the recent movie.

She says that when she is designing for others, she leads them into the possibilities. “People are asking for this indirectly, but they are not really sure how to express it.”

To create the look it is simply a matter of connecting the walk-in closet and the ensuite on a different level and in a different way. It could be an open concept, or a series of connected rooms, but the key to excellence lies in the finishes.

“It’s really all about the details — that’s where the interest and the glamour comes in from rich woods and luxurious marbles to sumptuous soft furnishings. It’s a layering process.”

In a spec home that she is designing next door, the boudoir will be one of the home’s highlights. She’s creating an open-concept ensuite with locker-style closets, rich marble finishes and countertops, with a built-in wine fridge, and comfy leather club chairs.

“When my husband and I are getting ready for a dinner out with friends or a function, we always pour a glass of wine. I’ll sit on the chaise and we chat and enjoy,” says Gingras.

“The room flows with how we live.”

Mark Cayen, designer at Empire Kitchen & Bath, certainly sees the trend as top-of mind for those who are building a new home, as well as those who are renovating.

“After the kitchen, it is by far the number one request that we get,” he says.

In the ensuite portion, sculptural free-standing tubs are still very much in demand.

“They really set the tone for the whole room and command a sense of luxury and design, as well as add a stunning visual. They are really almost like art,” says Cayen. He also suggests adding bling from crystal chandeliers to sparkling hardware and an island with lots of drawer space for jewellery.

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Freestanding framed mirrors, custom lighting, and sophisticated flooring (hard surfaces are in demand from marble to hand-scraped wood) all elevate the look.

But it’s not just the custom builder who is running with the glamour torch, the mainstream builder groups are pushing the boundaries, too. Jayman MasterBuilt was one of the first local homebuilders to weave the concept into its home plans. Separate vanities, along with a luxurious make-up desk carved into one portion and a man-cave space etched into the other, with both areas leading to separate walk-in closets, all set the stage for a new way of looking at the ensuite. Case in point is the Altair 3 show home in Cochrane’s Sunset Ridge. This three-bedroom, two-storey home features a his and her ensuite with stand-alone shower, large soaker tub and separate vanities and closets.

Whether the design is sleek and contemporary or brimming with old-school glam, the boudoir is here to stay.

“It’s like having a getaway in your own house,” says Cayen.