Montreal interior preserves its architectural heritage

Posted on February 21, 2013 by Rebecca

From a tree-lined street of 1960s bungalows the new house is far from conspicuous, blending with ease into the surrounding landscape. But inside is a deceptively designed space that harbours generous volumes on three levels. The original house was in such a state of disrepair that the clients were granted a demolition permit, on the strict condition that the new building follow the original plan. This could have potentially posed a real problem for the designer, given the clients required the liveable space to triple in size. But with just the one floor, a long façade and a double-pitched roof, René Desjardins has created a space of sheer inventiveness. An essential quality of any family home is the space to come together, but also to disappear. The fluid circulation that is so characteristic of the Desjardins’ style has been rendered in such a way that the parents can easily cohabit with grown-up children seeking independence.

In the vestibule next to the garage, a steel-and-glass staircase leads to both the guest suite and the basement, a place where the boys can venture off on their own, enjoying the living room, the steam room/washroom and the home gym. The designer, whose manifesto is “less is more”, has created a home completely respectful of the clients’ personalities and lifestyle choices.

The ground floor foyer sets the tone. It is generous and unadorned, with the garden on the horizon and a spectacular staircase in anthracite iron lace. A feeling of well-being is immediate, with a unity achieved through materials and colours. There is a definite sense of looking to a simpler future, which is rather apt given one of the clients recently turned 50. The decision to take the building contemporary – a brave decision on the part of the client, has been sympathetically embraced.

The neutral palette serves to frame the beginning of a promising art collection. The same can be said for the discrete lighting rails and niches, which will eventually house sculptures.

The ground floor doubles as both a living area and a setting for parties, with the immense island in the kitchen a great spot for a DJ. A perfect example of minimalism creating space for possibility.

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