Sandwiched between Edmonton’s noisy city centre and the North Saskatchewan River valley sits a picturesque collection of brick row homes in the Rossdale neighbourhood. Trees hang over the narrow streets that run between the townhouses, seemingly more suited for a Hollywood movie set than just minutes away from the downtown core. Marvin and Liz Kossowan have lived in their 1,747-square-foot unit for the last eight years, but the couple wasn’t always so sure how the move from their home of three decades in Mill Woods would suit them. “We said we would give living here a year and, if we don’t like it, we will move back,” says Liz. “But it’s such a great community that we decided to stay.”
The Kossowans are part of the growing number of empty nesters who have eschewed the suburbs in favour of living closer to the city’s core. For Marvin, a lot of the payoff comes not only from the interior of the home, but also from the charm and character of the neighborhood. “As far as the house goes, it’s as much external as it is internal. It’s a beautiful street. It’s not typical of Edmonton, but of an eastern U.S. city or a European city. It’s a street that is unique to Edmonton. I don’t know another one like it.”
A cobblestone patio that flanks the front of the townhouse blends the traditional architecture of the complex with the Kossowans’ affinity for worldly influences. Structural ferns wrap around enclosed seating area and mingle with small stone Buddha and pagoda statues, a theme that carries throughout the interior of the home. “I think, in my other life, that I was Asian,” Liz says with a laugh.
The home’s interior is cozy and intimate. The Kossowans have opted for a neutral colour scheme offset with personal items and their global-eclectic decor. The warm tones of tan and dark brown – accented by pops of cream and white – create a sophisticated and modern backdrop for the couple’s many collections.
One collection that’s hard to miss is made up of guitars spread throughout the home. Marvin, who has built a collection of more than 20 instruments over the years, has found a new way to explore his passion since moving to the townhouse. “I used to build cars when we lived in Mill Woods, but that all ended when we moved here,” he said. The small garage and lack of outdoor space has forced Marvin to move his work indoors, taking over much of the basement and the second-floor office as venues for playing music and building and servicing guitars.
The home’s classic scheme of dark floors and rich wall colours complement the Kossowans’ blend of contemporary furnishings, antique heirlooms and Asian-inspired art. The couple has managed to incorporate all these elements into an aesthetic that fits their disparate design sensibilities. “You can have a mixture of everything,” remarks Liz. “It’s about who you are.”