MacDougall Design Group is dedicated to meeting the home design needs of our clients. We invite you to view some of our projects below.
This custom duplex was built ‘on spec’, with MDG as the owner/designer/developer. An irregularly shaped site surrounded by 3 streets was purchased for this project. Its different shape and site adjacencies were the main factors that drove a very functional and rewarding design solution. Sites like this one are hidden gems for designers, overlooked by most developers because of their differences and unpredictability—the very opportunities that lead to innovative solutions. The units share a much shorter (in length) party wall leading to a more desirable design response than the standard ‘duplex’. The façade along the east-west axis —21 Ave.— takes full advantage of a south exposure, maximizing solar heat gain in winter and reduction in summer. The large windows allow for natural daylighting and ventilation along 3 sides of the building, and the 2-storey design accommodates over 2200 SF per unit. In several years, as the trees along the south façade mature, the long front façade will become partially screened and integrated into the existing streetscape. The inside of each home assumes an expansive feel similar to a single-family home with their areas, well-organized plan, and windows adorning 3 of the façades.
21 Ave. elevation - 115 ft. - long frontage. Deciduous trees (by the City of Calgary), once matured, will shade and screen the large south-facing deck areas from the summer sun, while softening and breaking up the streetscape.
21 Ave. – South façade. Light façade colour chosen to reflect hot summer sun, and 2nd floor overhang provides summer shade to kitchen below where it opens onto French balcony, connecting inside to outside year round.
21 Ave. – 2nd floors of East and West units are shown, meeting at the flat roof area where they share the party wall. Deciduous trees were part of the overall design, strategically located for shade to the south building façade during the summer months.
West unit deck area – Cedar guardrail built as a planter to accommodate a privacy screen between units (shown without plants).
Natural light and air from window walls on both sides of the living areas give the ‘attached’ homes a ‘detached’ home feeling.
West unit living area with its own unique layout, showing fireplace/TV/feature wall/built-in storage.
Originally, a 1940s bungalow occupied the 37’x125’ inner-city lot. We purchased the existing house with another partner and, several years later, decided it was time to develop the site.
MDG designed the parcel for a 3-unit/3-storey building, complete with rooftop decks and attached double garages. The design goals were to maximize the floor areas of each unit to over 2000 SF, provide abundant natural light and ventilation to flow through high-ceiling floor areas, and create a strong connection from interior to exterior. Large balconies and rooftop decks for each unit strengthened this connection to the outdoors.
The overall intent was to design these homes with the same qualities and benefits that typically would be found in a well-designed single-family home—ample air, light, and outdoor living space. The site properties again helped reinforce the overall design layout. The front and rear wall areas of each unit have a greater length of exterior wall, allowing for greater window coverage, leaving the shorter walls to divide the units. This is the opposite of how previous built townhomes had been organized, i.e., usually a long wall was shared between units, making for some long windowless interior areas. Although we initially intended to be the developers of this property, we sold the project—approvals and permits in place—to another developer to build, and some of the exterior and interior treatments inherent in the original design were altered by the new owner/builder.
Corner of 27 Ave. + 15 St. SW – View of 3 units along west façade.
The City requires that all existing trees on City property remain and that new trees added to the site comply with by-law locations, sizes, types, and quantities. Landscaping multi-family developments can become a large component of the permit requirement and design process, but it provides a large return to the owners, neighbours, and community.
View from 15th St. looking north towards 27 Ave. showcases the new owner's palette. Their preference was a little brighter in colour choice than what had originally been specified!
The owners of this luxury home purchased one of the highest (in elevation) properties in the community, with a gorgeous view overlooking the downtown Calgary skyline—a beautiful site that dropped over 20’ from the front street to the back lane. It was not an easy site to build on, but huge benefits resulted—abundant natural light, large outdoor patios, and a roof deck with a 180-degree view always within sight in any direction. The 75’-wide lot subdivided nicely, allowing for 2 single-family home developments. The client had a well-defined vision of the home, and MDG helped them realize it by providing the design and construction drawings, along with consultant coordination and liaising with the City to acquire the permits and approvals needed to begin the build. The owners themselves are, by profession, residential developers/builders, and they completed the house build with some alterations to the original drawings while it moved through the construction stage to completion.
The 2-storey front elevation shows a covered entry with a large south-facing patio above. A horizontal metal screen surrounds the patio and the rooftop deck above it.
The 2 storey front elevation shows a covered entry with a large south-facing patio above. A horizontal metal screen surrounds the patio as well as the rooftop deck above it.
Pre-renovation, half the floor area had been used as storage space for this active family of 6. It was a much-welcomed renovation that transitioned quite smoothly the 2 older parts of the basement into the newer walkout area—the ‘media’ and fitness room...a modernization of parts.
MDG helped the owner with an overall floorplan of the older disparate storage and mechanical spaces. It originally had a bit of a grotto feel to it and the 2 floors above needed additional support structurally, so a steel beam and heavy timber posts were specified by structural. From this point it was agreed to keep it simple and expose the steel beam—expose the columns and emphasize these elements by contrast—with adjacent smooth, clean lines and finishes. The owner, who is passionate about architecture and interior design, contracted the project herself, choosing the finishes and working with the contractors on the finer details. The finished basement now feels like it is an extension of the main floor area. The old storage space was transformed into a series of spaces that open up onto the hall—the wine cellar + tasting room, a large sink and counter area shared between the summer kitchen (+ gardening activity) and bathroom areas, and a beautiful open home office area.
The main concept for this ensuite redesign was to provide accessibility to the owner's guests, several of whom were para- and quadriplegic clients of a charity started by the homeowners in Bangladesh.
The renovation was done before the concept of ‘the seamless shower floor’ became popularized. The original design showed one floor finish throughout—a standard 12”x24” tile sloped to a contemporary linear floor drain. At the time, the contractor had not accounted for this and chose to use the smaller mosaic tile instead. This lesson highlights the importance of the contractor having a thorough understanding of the drawing and specification before the construction begins. Nevertheless, the owners were extremely happy with the outcome of their new accessible master bath, so it was a win for everyone involved.