This commission required the design team to plan and furnish a new townhouse construction for a family of four in the eclectic neighborhood of Mile-Ex, Montréal. With approximately 2,000 square feet spread over three stories, the natural response was to consign each major zone (public zone, parent zone, children zone) to a singular level. Strategic openings were cut into the floor plates to link all three levels through light, sound, and direct visual contact.
The ground floor is effectively an uninterrupted space, the exception being the entry space and powder room, whose activity is screened by a custom walnut wardrobe and a full-height etched glass panel. The placement of the powder room allows its walls and glass openings to interact with those of the exterior, giving energy and natural light to a commonly claustrophobic setting. Furthermore, these instances of translucency and transparency allow light to filter into the main living area, beyond the threshold of the entrance and lavatory. A prominent hearth is hung opposite the living room along the bare northeast wall, visible from all areas of the main level.
The vertical circulation core is located centrally (determined by service and structural requirements), and divides the horizontal levels while allowing direct access to their bustle. On the ground level, the core walls are truncated to welcome daylight from the rear glass curtain wall into the front living area. The sculpting of these walls is accentuated by a wrap of walnut paneling whose path is interrupted by the floating steel base of the stair leading to the second level.
Beyond the core is the kitchen, a volumetric interplay of piano lacquer and stainless steel—materials that simultaneously reflect and disappear when bathed in the light and shadow supplied by the double-height curtain wall opening. A white oak volume caps the back end of the kitchen, with its warm wood surface extending horizontally along the ceiling above, contrasting with the sleek glaze of the concrete floor slab. The remaining space beyond the kitchen island accommodates a custom walnut table that comfortably seats eight diners.
The parents’ level is organized by an array of sliding and pocket doors that provide a practical and aesthetic flexibility for the family. The master bedroom is positioned along the southeast wall for morning light, which is further exploited via the parallel glass wall of the master bathroom. The placement of the laundry room allows direct transfer access from the adjacent walk-in closet of the master bedroom and the kids’ bathroom above. The library is both the convivial and intellectual gathering point of house. Its construction of Russian plywood boxes and paneling offers a warm and playful feel as it interacts with the light and shadows of the sky and garden beyond. The walnut floor ascends in the far corner to form the surface of a desk built in polished steel, whose sculpted form cantilevers over the kitchen space below.
The third floor contains flanking bedrooms for the children, a playroom/den that is lit by the skylight above the adjacent stairwell, and a simple bathroom fully tiled in an aqua blue ceramic that playfully evokes the atmosphere of a public pool.