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New Home Balance: Phénix House

APPAREIL Architecture’s renovation of the Phénix House finds a balance between a blend of influences, styles, and materials in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighborhood.

Photo credit: Félix Michaud

Inspired by the mingling of cultures between the owners — a  couple of European and Asian heritage — the duplex manages to make different techniques cohabitate, creating a project in the likeness of its clients.

Following a fire, the owners wished to refurbish their 2600 square foot residence opening up the ground floor space, optimizing the openings onto the back garden, maximizing natural light, and furbishing the basement and second floor to respond to the family’s needs.  

Photo credit: Félix Michaud

The kitchen was bespoke to respond to the clients’ desire to have a professional, bullet-proof kitchen. At its heart, an enormous island renders the space functional and full of character. Made of stainless steel, it contributes to an industrial aesthetic that contrasts with the white and the residential wood surrounding it, bringing a balance between a cold and a warmer physicality to the space. The opening onto the back garden has been highlighted to create a friendly and bright space.

Photo credit: Félix Michaud

On the ground floor, if all the spaces are open onto one another, they are discovered as you progress through the path. Wood-paneled screens of Japanese influence punctuate the sequences and create rich sub-spaces that simultaneously dissimulate and reveal. The spaces between the wooden slats and the floor’s grating contribute to the home’s light play. 

The central staircase plays an important role: it is the link between the spaces. While segmenting the kitchen and the living room without completely sealing them off, it creates a connection between the levels and adds movement. It was left open to allow the light from the light shaft to cut across all levels down to the basement. Its steel, wood, and glass materiality bring clarity to space while reinforcing the connection between the different rooms.  

Photo credit: Félix Michaud

One of the project’s main components is its integrated furniture, situated on the ground floor. A hybrid space, it answers the family’s need for storage and for office space in the living area. APPAREIL Architecture created wooden furnishings with horizontal lines that host a couch, a desk, a buffet, and storage spaces. An elegant and efficient design that cleverly optimizes the space. 

Everything in the project was bespoke, from the chairs to the integrated furniture, through to the kitchen and the stairs. From there emerges a language coherent at all the levels of the project and a unique signature.

APPAREIL  project collaborators:
Contractor : Paquet Construction
Cabinet maker : Kastella
Photographer : Félix Michaud

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