Michael Godmer creates balance between original features and contemporary aesthetics at Montreal house
Michael Godmer was asked to renovate a three-level semi-detached house in Montreal for changing needs of family with the children growing up. One of the tasks was to preserve the early 20th century building’s architectural heritage.
“The clients’ request was to address the kitchen so to expand it and open the space to the backyard. Yet, as the first conceptual sketches were presented, we were given carte blanche in a project that would expand to the entire house. The new vision consisted in opening the living space on the outside, decompartmentalizing the interior, while allowing certain rooms to remain intimate. With more than twenty years of life kept within the walls of their home, it was important for the clients to perpetuate and harmonize its family heritage into the new decor. As one walks into the house, one is immediately striken by the original character preserved by the old staircase, the plaster moldings and the woodworks. The new design creates a dialogue between these architectural elements and a large contemporary opening to the courtyard; the results is a bold contrast with the formerly austere, dark and cloisonné space. The back of the house has been remarkably rearranged to allow maximum natural light into the house, but also implicitly unveiled a spatial reorganization in symbiosis with the prevailing lifestyle of the family members. In the kitchen, the minimalist lighting put accent on the mix of noble and elegant textures, such as white oak, marble and lacquer. As a nod to the clients’ travel memories, a custom stone mosaic flooring creates the backdrop to the cabinetry volumes that make up the space. Laterally, a succession of lacquered doors accentuates the functionality of the kitchen. The architectural journey now takes one to the breakfast area, carefully hidden behind two doors, where the central island greets one warmly in the kitchen with its neutral material, serving as a discreet threshold between the private space and the public dining area. The new open layout of the dining room offers a large space bathed in natural light, creating a warm and inviting space for family meals. Behind, standing between two majestic illuminated mirrors, an old wardrobe is transformed into a grand lightly coloured dresser. The formal lounge of the house, modulated by its original wood paneling sliding doors, is transformed into a cosy nest, a perfect host to activities such as reading and relaxing. Meticulous care was given to the restoration of the original architectural elements found in the room; the grand central fireplace attests the authentic look of the space. Through the old restored staircase one is welcomed into the second floor where the formerly open space has been reimagined to create a more intimate floor where each member of the family can enjoy a room with the desired tranquility. In the back, underneath the preserved skylight, one finds the children’s rooms and their private bathroom where the natural light emphasized a timeless materiality; marble and glazed tile contrast with the fine black steel accent. In the front, the remodeling of the master bedroom and the old office allowed us to meticulously reconfigured the space, adding a private bathroom and a large wardrobe, elements that customers had long dreamed of. The clients imagined a partitioned space, much like a hotel suite from their numerous travels, emphasizing the private and intimate feel of the master bedroom. From the entrance, the room charms us with the original elements preserved and its large green velvet curtain that conceals the dressing table. Behind a large mirror one continues into the master bathroom, where marble is revealed in a theatrical manner draping the room in an elegant atmosphere. The mosaic floor, the striped tile on the wall, the carefully chosen molding detail, the prestigious marble work, all of which are accentuated by brass fixtures, restore the luster to the house. As one continues the architectural journey into the basement, one finds the family entrance to the house. Here to fore an unused space, it now unveils a room covered with slate flooring, furnished with built-in storage and a wash area, providing the house with a reorganized and highly functional space for all family members, whether they have four legs or two legs. The refinement of the project is found in the details, all of which create a perfectly balanced harmony between modernity and authenticity. The desire to have a local heritage throughout the home is unveiled by the presence of several pieces from various Montreal artisans. The entire project has been conscientiously thought through to become a space where the family can grow, creating a lasting and timeless design that will evolve with the lifestyle of its inhabitants,” explains Michael Godmer
- Location: Montreal, Canada
- Date completed: 2019
- Design: Michael Godmer
- Photos: Maxime Brouillette