© Olivier Blouin
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Inspired by the "mid-century modern" style, the Garnier residence located in the trendy Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood in Montreal Qc is an atypical renovation where the beauty of the materials is at the service of singular spaces that redraw the boundaries between public and private.
Designed for a couple and their young children, the former triplex gives pride of place to reception areas. The large living room on the top floor receives maximum light, while the bedrooms, nestled on the first floor, live in the shadow of the double garage in the backyard. The renovation of the three levels also includes the basement which is partly occupied by an independent studio dedicated to the visiting family, or for rent.
The clients desired an inspiring and warm welcome when they returned home in the evening. For a better day-to-day getaway from the daily stresses and strains of life, the communal living spaces were treated like a restaurant bar lounge. To play with these codes, the architects created a wooden stairwell, powder room, and integrated kitchen furniture. These architectural modules define the spaces while contributing to the house's hushed and somewhat secret atmosphere.
The kitchen is traced by an elegantly curved countertop, topped by a suspended structure that follows the shape of a U. Everything related to the domestic is hidden in the built-in furniture. At night, the curtains are drawn and the space takes on the appearance of a speakeasy. By day, this festive space is bathed in natural light thanks to the skylight above the kitchen and the large bay windows overlooking the alley.
In the central module dressed in walnut are the staircase and a small powder room hidden behind a door carved in the same wood. Here, the smoked glass, copper faucets, Italian pedestal washbasin, and terracotta ceramics reminiscent of upholstered leather create a discreet chic. A second skylight overhangs the stairwell and creates a vertical light axis in the residence. On one of the sides, a textured glass opening lets the light through, but obscures the view, contributing to the slightly intriguing character of the place. When the sun's rays pierce the material, rays of light are projected onto the floor.
The Garnier residence is accessible through six entrances, including three vestibules. The owners wanted to keep a multitude of accesses on the three levels in order to have official entrances for guests and more private ones for their children, but also for parents whose bedroom opens onto an interior courtyard. This maze creates a certain complexity in the program and contributes to the singular treatment of this project.