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APPAREIL architecture breathes new life into a small wooden house built in 1922.

November 21, 2016
by Canadian Architect

Photo by Mathieu Laverdière. Courtesy of APPAREIL architecture.

Photo by Mathieu Laverdière. Courtesy of APPAREIL architecture.

With a strong desire to preserve the family heritage, Stephanie and Nicolas bought a house that belonged to his grandparents for decades. The building, located north of Montreal, started as a small wooden house built in 1922, which then underwent several transformations and extensions over the years.

The mandate given to APPAREIL architecture was to redesign the layout and to optimize the surface area of the residence, as well as to breathe new life into it while using the potential of the original place. The owners also wanted to convert the second floor apartment into a vast master area, transforming the house into a single dwelling adapted to the needs of a young couple. 

Photo by Mathieu Laverdière. Courtesy of APPAREIL architecture.

Photo by Mathieu Laverdière. Courtesy of APPAREIL architecture.

The initial phase of the project was to redevelop the land completely. Many trees were planted around the perimeter of the property to offer more privacy and dampen the noise coming from nearby roads. The driveways and walkways have also been redesigned, as well as the orientation of the house’s openings in order to maximize the light and views of the mountains.

The new façade is now punctuated with large windows, especially towards the rear of the house, opening it up to the surrounding forest. The original building’s simplicity of form and simple lines were put forward in a minimalist spirit. With its horizontality, the architecture is harmonized with the landscape.

Photo by Mathieu Laverdière. Courtesy of APPAREIL architecture.

Photo by Mathieu Laverdière. Courtesy of APPAREIL architecture.

Sobriety continues inside the residence. White was used throughout the house to give a bright and sleek look. Elements such as the kitchen ceiling and the thickness of some walls were preserved, as a nod to the past of the house and its many transformations. Such details also provide an interesting contrast to the new contemporary interior. A new staircase connects the basement to the mezzanine through the ground floor; it now allows light to pass through the different levels and, by its colour, becomes a decorative object in itself.

Photo by Mathieu Laverdière. Courtesy of APPAREIL architecture.

Photo by Mathieu Laverdière. Courtesy of APPAREIL architecture.

“The challenge was daunting, but retaining the wealth of the family heritage was essential,” said the owners, Nicolas and Stephanie. “With creativity and boldness, the team at APPAREIL architecture transformed the house, making it a haven of peace with all its breathtaking views and childhood memories. The house is now modern and functional, and in perfect harmony with nature.”

Photo by Mathieu Laverdière. Courtesy of APPAREIL architecture.

Photo by Mathieu Laverdière. Courtesy of APPAREIL architecture.

A veranda with large removable windows becomes a pleasant place of transition between inside and outside. The small seating area and fireplace allows the residents to enjoy this spacious extra room in any season. The wooden slats provide a warm contrast to the black exterior and fit very well with the Nordic style envisioned by the firm.

The firm collaborated with contractor Marcel-Luc Verdon, landscape architect Fanie Quenneville, and photographer Mathieu Laverdière.



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