Alykhan Velji and his husband, Jason, recently renovated a charming fixer upper putting thought into every detail. The interior design scheme was to end up with a warm, inviting, and cozy home. Wallpaper proved to be an important ingredient in the flow between rooms and making sure each space felt unique. We enjoyed chatting with Alykhan about this most personal of design projects and learning how he used wallpaper to design a harmonious, meaningful home. Thank you, Alykhan!
*All images are credited to Joel Klassen Photography
Tell us a bit about your background. How did Alykhan Velji Designs come to be?
I started Alykhan Velji Designs over 15 years ago. After graduating from Bow Valley College from their decorating program, I immediately began my business. It started as a furniture gallery specializing in antiques from India and China and rugs from Afghanistan, which made me love incorporating antiques into my spaces. I slowly started to gain clients from there and after 5 years, I ventured out on my own. I now have an incredible team of designers working with me creating timeless interiors.
"I am a huge fan of adding pattern and texture in every space, and I find that wallpaper is a great way of doing this."
What was the process like for purchasing your new home? What were some considerations in your home search?
We had lived in our home for 13 years and had taken all those time to fix it up slowly but surely. During the pandemic, I started to talk about renovating some areas in the home and my husband was not having it. He was of the mentality that we had done everything that we could in our current home and it would be more worthwhile to start looking at a new home that we could renovate instead. And so, the search began. It was about a 4 week process in looking at places, and we found one that was 8 blocks away from our current home, which was perfect because we love our neighborhood so much. We saw the house on a Thursday, put in an offer on the Friday, and had the house by Sunday!
Were you looking for a fixer upper?
We knew we wanted a fixer upper, something that we could put our own stamp on. We wanted a bungalow, a wood burning fireplace (we had one in our last home and loved it), and a great yard. The minute we walked into this home, we both knew the potential was there in making this home spectacular without loosing any of its charm.
You've used several H&W papers—Butterflies, Secret Garden and Olive Grove. Why did you choose these patterns for their respective spaces and what do you think they each add to the overall aesthetic of those rooms and your home in general.
I am a huge fan of adding pattern and texture in every space, and I find that wallpaper is a great way of doing this. For the auxiliary room, I wanted it to feel moody and layered, so choosing to wallpaper the ceiling the darker tone butterfly wallpaper really helps to envelope the space and makes for a whimsical space. This space also leads to the back yard, so the butterflies are a perfect transition.
"I chose to do all the walls in the space to make our guests feel like they are in quaint cottage when staying with us."
The guest bedroom can sometimes feel a little unloved, and I wanted ours to feel like a cozy cottage. The Olive Grove wallpaper is so chic, and I chose to do all the walls in the space to make our guests feel like they are staying in quaint cottage. Paired with a gorgeous antique brass bed, modern accents and all the texture, I really love this space.
Our mudroom is like no other, with bright terracotta colored cabinets, brass accents. I knew I wanted to add in a moody wallpaper to the space and Secret Garden was perfect for this space while carrying in the botanical and natural inspired motif throughout the house.
Your home flows so beautifully with richness, texture and a soft/neutral palette, but with plenty of pattern as well as pops of colors. How did you decide where to add bolder color? And do you have any tips for mixing patterns?
I knew the feeling I wanted to create in my home and it had to be warm, inviting, and cozy. The color story is inspired by rich terracottas, deep greens, and warm woods mixed with lighter, neutral tones throughout and texture comes from wallpaper, fabrics, and furniture.
"The key to ensuring each room has an unexpected touch is to layer in textures, lighting, and patterns."
For those that are a little hesitant on pattern mixing, I say choose a bold pattern as the jumping off point, select 2-3 colors from that pattern, and work those into other areas in the room to create some repetition. Once you do this a few times, you will then be a pattern mixing master and be able to really go bold with your choices.
What's your approach to creating spaces with wallpaper? What tips or tricks do you have for people who want to add more wallpaper to their homes?
I think wallpaper is such a great material to use in making spaces feel really well put together. It’s the layering of interiors that I love so much and it really helps spaces feel curated which is very important to me. Wallpaper can be as bold or subtle as you want, but...
"What’s the point of wallpapering when you want to be subtle?"
Rather than just one wall, I say do all 4 walls in a space, wallpaper the ceiling, and think of other creative ways to use it in a space. The possibilities are endless for what you can do with wallpaper, and that is what I love about it.
Why did you choose Hygge & West wallpaper specifically?
I have been working with H&W wallpapers for quite some time, and I love that there are so many options to choose from. We can always find something in your collections that will work for any one of our clients. It is the quality of material that is also something to keep in mind, making it easy for our installers and getting a stellar end result.