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Todd Korol/The Globe and Mail

Sal Howell, owner of iconic Calgary restaurant River Café and the more casual Boxwood in the city's Central Memorial Park, has lived in her condo since January of 2000. Well, at least part of it. Four years ago, she and her husband, Gordon, purchased the unit next door to make one 5,000-square-foot home. Having created restaurant spaces for almost 25 years, the British-born entrepreneur has developed a strong sense of how to build a comfortable yet functional space. With the help of local architect Jeremy Sturgess, Howell tore down the original walls and designed a living room with sweeping views of the Elbow River and the Rockies. "I love it here," she says, "because, after a busy day at the restaurant, I can surround myself with the serenity of nature."

The view

"It's spectacular. I like to think of our home as a sophisticated tree house because we overlook the vast expanse of treetops in Elbow Park."

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The teepee

"I found this teepee online. My children call the space their own. I am attracted to native artifacts and have collected some unique Plains Indian pieces that are displayed elsewhere in the home."

The cowhides

"I grew up with a cowhide rug in my home as a little girl in Guernsey and I still have the actual piece from my father's library. It is very old and well worn. The newer and much softer cowhides were sourced from local Calgary designer Paul Hardy."

The ottoman

"This came from Domicile Interiors in Calgary. Not only is it a curiosity piece, I actually use it when I'm practicing yoga."

The coffee table

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"I found this table at Maria Tomas in Calgary. The stainless-steel base was a perfect match for the existing railing detail in our home."

The trunk

"This piece comes from Argentina. Susan Abbiati from Tango Living imported this little trunk made from fabulous rustic and repurposed materials. It works great as a side table and allows me a place to hide the kids' toys and games."

The sofa

"Domicile Interiors custommade this champagne suede sectional for us. This sofa was my first design project; having never designed a sectional before, it was a major learning curve."

The painting

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"This is a print by Stephen Hutchings, who is represented by Paul Kuhn. This was the first piece of art that I purchased for our home. I love the simplicity. It's very grounding."

The block

"I purchased some reclaimed fir timber from an old warehouse for a restaurant project that never came about. Local woodworking artist Warren Hall of Soulworks cut and finished a variety of different shapes. We now have blocks placed throughout the house in the form of end tables, side tables and bar stools."

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