Montréal-based interior design studio Vives St Laurent have unveiled their contemporary renovation of an old apartment in the city’s Villeray district. Known as the Appartement Saint-Gérard, the project covers the ground floor of an early-twentieth-century building-turned-duplex, creating a home fit for a young family while respecting the charm of the original space.
The building was constructed in 1935 as part of a three-building development owned by cousins, which then passed through generations who carefully preserved the period mouldings, woodwork, and stained-glass windows. The current owners of the Appartement Saint-Gérard will be the first occupants who are not part of this family, but they nonetheless wanted to maintain as much of the old charm that initially drew them to the building as they could. However, the original layout – featuring several closed-in rooms circling a central hallway – wasn’t well-suited to a modern family keen to entertain, which lead to a renovation that balances the demands of old aesthetics and contemporary living.
The biggest change to the apartment involved shifting the main bathroom and bedroom towards the front of the house to transform the entire back half into a comfortable open-plan space for kitchen, dining, and living. Large multi-pane windows and charming French doors connect this entertainment area to the backyard, providing an abundance of natural light and a chic feel to the new space.
The use of natural stone as well as anthracite and copper finishes were inspired by urban residences, though the clean and simple lines created by these materials also hark back to the geometric patterns in the glass above the entryway. All of the original wooden doors and frames were carefully removed from the house before the renovation so Vives St-Laurent could reuse as many of them as possible. It was not possible to similarly preserve the ceramic tiles that surrounded the entryway, but the charming mosaic pattern was recreated during the rebuild so it could continue to welcome guests into the house.
The Appartement Saint-Gérard renovation is an attractive example of contemporary living in an old city. With a thoughtful use of lines and open space, the home is sophisticated and inviting without forgetting its roots as a historical building.
For more designs that celebrating the meeting of old and new, check out our feature on the gorgeous greyscales of the Clemens Strobl Winery.
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