Looking out on La Fontaine Park in Montréal, this home, with its high level of contrast and impressive scenery, is inspired by the architecture of early-century mansions. This classic influence predominates in the overall design of the house, with regard to both space organization and the choice of atmosphere, materials, and furniture.
Located at the heart of the home, the staircase winds its way through the three floors in a spectacular manner, bridging the gap between the various spaces. Atop this sculpture, which is truly architectural in nature, is an immense skylight, which illuminates and highlights the staircase’s eye-catching curves.
Thin, carved partitions curve around and envelop the wooden steps. Translucent glass partitions, placed on both sides of the staircase, allow light to enter, while only subtly revealing what is behind, creating remarkable light effects and mysterious depth.
The living room, located at the front of the house, is the perfect setting to unwind and have discussions in front of the marble fireplace. The room, painted in a comforting grey, is organized in the conventional manner of mansions, particularly through the centered, symmetrical perspectives created by the double windows looking out at the park and the narrow double doors leading to the kitchen.
With an entire wall of windows facing the backyard, the kitchen and dining room take advantage of both the abundant natural light and direct contact with the outdoors. Planned with formal entertaining and gourmet meal preparation in mind, the kitchen successfully combines elegance and functionality.
It is organized around a large white marble island with matte black cabinets, for a minimalist look. Detached on all sides and raised from the floor by thin steel legs, the island enhances the feeling of spaciousness in the room. Perfectly integrated concealed doors offer the possibility of hiding or revealing a second countertop, which can be accessed on both sides.
Designed with guests in mind, the basement bathroom delivers a surprising experience inspired by bathrooms in the finest restaurants. A cylindrical basin was installed on the floor in front of a partition mirror, hiding the facilities, in a space with a theatrical feel that opens onto the staircase and faces the illuminated wine cellar.
The carefully restored facade facing the street rivals the elegance of the back facade, which is entirely made up of windows and opens onto the backyard. These facades reflect the interior of the home and provide perfect continuity, both in terms of the materials used and the graphic effects created.
This gorgeous, purposefully minimalist home is not lacking in warmth, through the choice of finishes, its textures, its architectural details, and the careful balance of black and white interacting with soft shades of comforting grey. Refined detailing and clean transitions add to the simplicity of the spaces and reflect a sophistication that encompasses both abundance and restraint. The end result demonstrates that the entire project was carried out with great skill, providing a perfect balance between classic and modern styles.
About la SHED architecture
As a company that performs the majority of its work in the residential and commercial sectors, la SHED has developed a thorough expertise in the renovation, transformation, and construction of buildings of all types and all historical backgrounds. Openness, lighting, and alignment are at the very core of all projects completed by the studio. Its achievements stand out as a result of their functional and contemporary layout, as well as their use of materials that are durable, affordable, and classical.
The importance is given to finishing touches and the general quality of its achievements is, amongst other reasons, a result of tight monitoring throughout the entire project execution process from start to end of construction. The reconfiguration of exiguous spaces, the optimal usage of space, and dealing with precise and restrictive budgets are all constraints that la SHED has excelled at dealing with in the past, managing to conceive seductive and intelligently designed spaces regardless of limitations.
The firm was established when architect associates Sébastien Parent, Yannick Laurin, Renée Mailhot, all united by a passion for architecture, design, and Montreal, decided to team up to form La SHED. The studio is dedicated to a new type of architectural relationship, where to call an architect would scarcely be stranger than hiring an accountant – a relationship where conceiving your own living space would neither be a luxury nor would it be utopic.
La SHED offers an innovative and inclusive approach for its renovation, expansion, and new construction projects. This approach makes architectural services accessible for any scale of the project as well as any budget. It is also for the purpose of accessibility that the firm has chosen to make its home in a storefront boutique location. The workshop, visible from the street, is configured in order to optimize teamwork, an essential ingredient in stimulating creativity. Weaker ideas are eliminated for the benefit of the more creative ones. The synergy of the la SHED team can be felt not only in project work, but also in the conviction that architecture can be done differently by developing partnerships with people who choose to invent, or reinvent, their lifestyle.
Upon completion of its second project, la Maison Demers, la SHED was overwhelmed with critical success and has since been highlighted in a number of specialized media and has received a variety of design and architecture awards. Notably, the firm is the recipient of the 2016 Emergent Architectural Practice Award given by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), the Canada Council for the Arts 2018 Ronald-J.-Thom Award for Early Design Achievement, and three Excellence in Architecture Awards granted by the Quebec Order of Architects (2015, 2017, 2019). Even though the team now has thirteen members, all decisions are made as they were on the first day – they are “submitted to the board” around the same large table.