On a gloomy February afternoon we had the pleasure of spending time tucked away in a petite bungalow just off 118 Ave. Built in 1934, illuminated by flickering candlelight dancing on the mantle, it’s hard not to be drawn in by the meticulously hung gallery wall and the three rooms blending together to make the perfect space for entertaining.
Over coffee and madeleines, Shannon described her home as "a little mid-century modern cowboy, a little rock and roll," although through the laughter at the absurd pairing of those two styles it was clear she was bang on with her description. “It’s like red wine - you like what you like.” For Shannon, that’s entertaining, having people over for cocktails, hosting weekly band practice, and being part of the Alberta Ave community - knowing your neighbours.
To her, a home embodies “some place comfortable and warm - it needs to be liveable and lived in,” emphasizing that although she loves the pieces collected and thrifted throughout her home, “it’s not too precious, if something gets split or broken I’m not too fussy.” As if on cue her two dogs bound into the living room, tails wagging, knocking things over on the bar cart shelves and Shannon just smiles - her point so perfectly illustrated.
“It’s really cozy. It’s cozy and dusty and kind of cold - but it’s mine and I worked really hard for it. I love the curved walls, the fireplace - we have a huge garden and backyard, and we have dinner parties. It’s a lovely space to host events.”
Why this house?
I bought it 12 years ago. (Laughing) This home was in my price range? That’s the truth - that and the day I drove by there was a For Sale sign that claimed it was a talking house: "Tune in to 1080 to hear about this house," so I did. Crackling through the radio, it was described as “built in 1934, two bedrooms ....” It was what I’d been looking for. I put an offer on it and I got it.
How have you seen the neighbourhood change over the past decade?
A lot of younger families have moved in, it’s a very close neighbourhood, and I know everyone in my neighbourhood. There’s a strong sense of community and we have to watch out for each other because there can be issues, problem tenants, or rougher individuals. There’s a little dog park near by, delicious restaurants, countless festivals, the Nina Haggerty centre - there’s no chains and extremely affordable housing, so it’s drawing young families in.
My friend Kathy - we’ve been friends forever and I value her thoughts. She has the best eye. I also really like Design Sponge and their home tours, Apartment Therapy, Rejuvenation, House that Lars Built, Dwell, Anthropologie - they have such beautiful pieces, Tossed and Found's barn sales, and Bar Raval (in Toronto).
How does your home lend itself to dinner parties and social gatherings?
Well it’s small so it usually looks full and hopping, very difficult not to have an intimate gathering! Remarkably I can add two leaves to my small round table and easily fit 10-12 people comfortably around it. And finally, having a wide variety of cookbooks on hand for inspiration is always good. I really enjoy feeding my friends and family and to be honest I rather like themes when hosting.
What are your must-haves for hosting?
Beautiful serving ware, nice napkins
Delectable snacks, most importantly some good cheese, always olives, candied nuts
Cocktails, alcoholic and non alcoholic
An excellent playlist
A gracious host
Favourites + Changes
My favourite piece in the house, that’s hard, but I really love my bar cart, I bought it at SWISH from Angela and I love it.
It used to be my bedroom, but now it's my living room. A place to have cocktails, hang out with the dogs and cats and it’s comfortable. My husband spends a lot of time in the basement where he makes music with a hundred guitars and a drum kit.
We reno-ed the kitchen, it was awful, I don’t even know how to describe it. There were no cupboards or counter space, everything was mish-mashed and pieced together, the floor had asbestos - it was truly horrible. It’s such a small space and so now there’s counter space. We’ve also painted. The bathroom should probably be redone - we’re trying to decide if we should do more renos, or rent the house out and find a new home.
Where do you find pieces for your home?
Maven & Grace, Kijiji, SWISH, I like HomeSense and Winners for big box stores, Salvation Army, and a few pieces when I went to Brimfield.
What restaurants and spaces in Edmonton inspire and draw you in?
OTTO – can’t wait to ride my bike over
El Rancho - pupusas are a very good thing
Pho King or Pho Hoan Pasteur - for Vietnamese
Won Jung Gak - for Korean
Muttart or Salisbury Greenhouse on a blustery day
The Resource List
Dining room table and chairs - Kijiji
Rugs from Target
Living room seating: velvet chesterfield, IKEA (a wedding gift); grey loveseat - London Drugs
Artwork: Blue Cowboy, Jon Langford; Loretta Lynn from Hatch Show Print in Nashville; Neil Young poster, purchased at Calgary Folk Fest; Blair Brennan piece, won at an art auction (due to large pours of red wine); vintage Boys and Girls Fair banner, gift from a friend
Sideboard - Salvation Army
Bar cart - SWISH Vintage (40th birthday present)
Framing - Mill Creek Picture Framing
Antique pieces - Maven & Grace and thrifted
White tray - OBJECTS collective
Light fixtures - dining room, Rona; living room, Lowes
Red hutch – Target
Stagecoach clock – from grandparents