In 2013, La SHED Architecture of Montreal tackled an extensive renovation of a 2,700-square-foot duplex in the city’s Villeray neighborhood for a couple with two young children, ages seven and four. The couple, both of whom work in the movie industry, were looking for a bright, versatile space that would be suitable both as a home office and as a place to raise their children.
A series of previous renovations had stripped the building of its period charm, giving the architects a blank slate to recast it as a contemporary dwelling. They preserved the building’s overall shape and footprint, but removed a section of the second floor to create a patio—an intervention that not only carved out additional outdoor space, but also allowed more natural light to penetrate the building’s core.
The heart of the home is the open-plan kitchen and living room. The kitchen was recast in white lacquer and ash veneer, with stainless-steel countertops. The double-height living room borrows light from an office and mezzanine hallway upstairs. An orange-lacquer staircase, partially hidden behind a set of ash slats that support steel bookshelves, lends an arresting color accent.