Résidence Lower Westmount
By : Desjardins Bherer et Maurice Martel architecte
GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN – 15e édition
Discipline : Interior Design
Categories : Residence / Residential Space > 5,400 sq.ft. (> 500 sq.m.) : Gold Certification
Like many parents, the owners wanted to create a lively environment with an open plan for family life where they could also entertain friends.
Tear out all the walls of the old-fashioned partitioned house and redesign the space. A room would also be created at the back, next to the kitchen, to expand the living spaces and connect the house to the back yard. In addition, a master suite would be created upstairs and a steam room installed in the basement.
The owners wanted to infuse the house with a contemporary touch while paying homage to its classical character. Recessed lighting fixtures in the ceilings co-exist with molded doors. Semi-recessed beams in the ceiling delineate the kitchen area; they are also trimmed with mouldings, for a more traditional look.
The staircase railing, which was completely rebuilt, presents a decidedly modern look with its rounded forms and echoes those of the ceiling, while the oak slats along its inner face add a touch of elegance. Recessed spotlights, air returns integrated into the baseboards, concealed ventilation and air grilles, and single slots in the gypsum board bring this 1880s residence firmly into the modern era.
Bluish grays, mauves and gold accents set the tone for this family cocoon, as requested by clients. In the kitchen, the blue-gray island stands out from the large white storage units and the quartz countertop in the same colour. Brass accents appear here and there: in the cabinet handles, a thin band around the hood, and the faucets.
We find the similar tones in the living room. The rounded edges of the Italian sofas, classics from the 1970s, soften the decor of this home of large, straight volumes. The colours in a carpet a sunset, much like the painting on the wall – a touch of elegance – along with an armchair in the same purplish pink.
A huge skylight draws visitors to the upper floor, where the master suite is located. It has a vestibule with closets and a custom-designed vanity for the mother. A second skylight brings in daylight. To the left is the bedroom, with the bathroom straight ahead.
The bedroom is cloaked in pale hues like the rest of the house, as well as a mauve rug and a lilac sofa. There is enough space to practice yoga or meditate in comfort. The curtains give the room a cozy feeling and hide the view toward the neighbours’ house, while still letting in the light.
The bathroom features a huge glass shower, a white oak vanity that picks up on the colour of the flooring, and large mirrors that hide generous storage space. The floor and walls are finished in gray terrazzo tiles, the large windows offer a view to the yard below.
The basement joists were exposed to allow for a higher ceiling, and everything was painted white to give the illusion of space. A frosted glass door leads to the steam room area, where we find a sauna, a bench and a large, deep basin of cold water. The same cedar is used in the sauna, on the ceiling and in a floating floor installed over a heated concrete slab. The walls are clad in a faux concrete finish for added resilience.
Through opened-up and pared down spaces, a skilful mix of the classic and the contemporary, the dominant soft colours and a layout designed for family living, this beautiful Victorian house has become a place of elegance and simplicity.