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September 01, 2014

Singular Inglewood

Discover the boutique shopping charms of one of Calgary's earliest neighbourhoods

Kathy McCormick

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Calgary’s first neighbourhood still attracts shoppers.

Inglewood, now in the centre of town, was first formed in 1875 around Fort Calgary.

Located at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, it was a natural site for settlement — and of course, where people gather, shops and services follow.

With a population today of 3,647, the interesting and diverse community continues to grow, but it’s as much the wonderful location as it is the retail and culture it has attracted that bring people from all over the city and beyond.

And it just keeps getting better, says Cindy Shockey, owner of Modern Country Interiors. “It’s a real eclectic balance now. It’s not just furniture or just galleries. There are those, but now also clothing and a lot of new restaurants. “It’s still primarily owner operators and boutique style.” That adds up to fun and unique opportunities for today’s shopper to discover, no matter what they are looking to buy.

Some of the old favourites remain — think antique shops and consignment stores, music venues and art galleries, motorcycles and homemade, awesome sausages, compliments of Spolumbo’s. And don’t forget Recordland, which has become a shrine for audiophiles.

It is also a haven for house decorators, as there is a variety of shops and services to take care of their every need.

Here is a sampling of some of the shops to help give your new home the personality to make it your own.

1] Limitless
As the name implies, nothing is beyond your imagination — and the store specializes in making furniture that is adaptable to your needs. “Limitless business is all about choice,” says Bruce MacMillan, who has owned the Inglewood Limitless store for two and a half years. The Dutch design firm is now global, with a modern, clean mix of quality furniture for all rooms in your home. Says MacMillan: “Today’s style choice is more modern or contemporary. I think Calgarians travel a lot all over the world and bring those design preferences home — and a lot of builders are now building more modern homes and condos. The inner city developers have done a great job with modern designs — and condos, too. People see these online and traditional just doesn’t work.

“Modern is optimistic, so even the downsizers today are looking for it. It’s clean, focused and minimal.”

Look for a few really versatile and sleek pieces that are signature to Limitless. The G Sofa, for example, is made up of modules that can be made to fit any space as separate units or as a sectional. The backs of the pieces adjust for height and can be used to sit on as well in an informal space. “G is a symbol of return. The backs bridge as benches for drinks around the kitchen island.”

Another popular item is the Eyres Chaise Lounge that’s so sleek and sophisticated, it just is meant to be lounged in — and the soft, micro-super leather material is so practical even a challenge from Spolumbo’s didn’t stain — cannelloni and red wine spills.

The Dylan is another signature of Limitless. The simple bar stool won an international award for its simple design — no screws or fasteners and designed to last forever.

2] Lightform
What better way to show off that contemporary furniture and modern design than with lighting that makes a statement all on its own?

Look no further, says Donna Rasmussen, account executive with the shop that just reopened its showroom late last year and has a large display of dramatic and different lights that are sure to be focal points of any home.

“The majority of our manufacturers are European firms. We are Canada’s largest distributor of European lighting,” says Emily Jepson, inside sales and project co-ordinator.

“There’s been quite a bit of interest in contemporary. People today are going away from traditional — but we do offer some transitional as well.” Structural contemporary, creative, handmade, unique — all descriptions you’ll find at Lightform. “You get the feel for uniqueness,” says Rasmussen. “It really is art.”

Perhaps one of the most unusual and dramatic light décor is the indirect lighting that’s built right into the wall and finished with drywall so it actually looks like a fissure right in the wall that has lights behind it. Dramatic, to say the least.

“Flos, an Italian manufacturer, has this soft architectural line that looks like it’s integrated to the wall,” says Jepson, noting that they are exclusive to Lightform.

3] Modern Country Interiors
In Inglewood for 12 years, the shop continues to make custom wood  furniture from its manufacturing plant in B.C. for the more traditional and transitional styles that have an enduring ‘today’ twist.

“We stay in front of the trends,” says Shockey. “And we design custom furniture exclusively for our clients.”

Some of the new furniture now in their showroom includes the Live Edge reclaimed big leaf maple tables.

“They are like artwork,” she says. “You pick your own slabs and they’re unique to you.”

The Thetis Dining Table is one example at $8,150. The Cole collection is the latest bedroom furniture — smooth and simple, yet elegant and beautiful.

“It appeals to men and women. It’s timeless but very current in its look.” Cog Mirrors are another popular choice — in all sizes and set so they can be interlocked for design customization.

4] Trail Appliances

This store in Calgary and Edmonton in several locations has a decidedly different look in Inglewood, says Kim Peterson, senior account representative.

“It’s very high end with some real luxury items. For example, we carry Wolf and Sub Zero.

“And we are excited about the Dacor line that’s exclusive to our company. A lot of our builders put this into their luxury homes. They are California-made so they come with a North American price point.”

So what are people asking for these days? Gas or induction ovens, says Peterson. “Electric is gone by the wayside. It’s hard to handle, hard to control and hard to clean.” And stainless steel is still king, she says, although Dacor is now bringing in some white models.

Some new items you will want to check out: Dacor’s new IQ Wall Oven that has a tablet in the control panel, allowing people to access the internet to research recipes, streamline cooking videos or plan menus.  It recently won the best new product at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show.

You’ll want to ask about the Discovery WineStation that is the first automated, temperature-controlled, four-bottle wine dispensing and preservation system for your home.

Many other stores await your discovery. Inglewood is located along 9th Avenue S.E. just east of the Elbow River and Fort Calgary close to downtown.

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