An Old Row House in Montreal Gets a Colorful Modern Upgrade

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By Sarah Akkoush
Warm, repurposed building materials are favored in this savvy renovation by MARK + VIVI.

Mark Fekete and Viviana de Loera, co-founders of interdisciplinary design firm MARK + VIVI, happily took on the challenge of building their dream home in a transitioning Montreal neighborhood. Working with a relatively small footprint that gave them just 1,100 total square feet of finished living space, the couple used simple and minimal materials to embrace and celebrate the original character of the 1880 home. Space was thoughtfully maximized by opening up the ceiling to expose both the original and new beams, removing partition walls to create an open floor plan, and converting the crawlspace beneath the home into usable storage. The result is a bright, quirky, and imaginative blend of old and new.

An Old Row House in Montreal Gets a Colorful Modern Upgrade - Photo 1 of 10 - Light from a new skylight pours into the home's entryway and living room. Steel columns and beams were added for structural reinforcement, and the couple left all beams, old and new, exposed.

Light from a new skylight pours into the home's entryway and living room. Steel columns and beams were added for structural reinforcement, and the couple left all beams, old and new, exposed.

An Old Row House in Montreal Gets a Colorful Modern Upgrade - Photo 2 of 10 - "I always wanted to have my very own yellow brick road," says Viviana de Loera, whose favorite part of the home is the playful staircase. The original stairs and handrail were preserved in the renovation.

"I always wanted to have my very own yellow brick road," says Viviana de Loera, whose favorite part of the home is the playful staircase. The original stairs and handrail were preserved in the renovation.

An Old Row House in Montreal Gets a Colorful Modern Upgrade - Photo 3 of 10 - Locally sourced Canadian plywood was used for the flooring throughout the home, and all doors and windows were replaced with low-energy upgrades. The couple shares their space with guide dogs they foster through a local organization.

Locally sourced Canadian plywood was used for the flooring throughout the home, and all doors and windows were replaced with low-energy upgrades. The couple shares their space with guide dogs they foster through a local organization.

An Old Row House in Montreal Gets a Colorful Modern Upgrade - Photo 4 of 10 - In the living room, and throughout the home, recessed "book nooks" are used to provide space-saving storage. The only seating in the room is a sleek black faux leather and steel daybed, fabricated by Montreal-based Surface Jalouse. Walls were removed to cohesively unite the living space and kitchen.

In the living room, and throughout the home, recessed "book nooks" are used to provide space-saving storage. The only seating in the room is a sleek black faux leather and steel daybed, fabricated by Montreal-based Surface Jalouse. Walls were removed to cohesively unite the living space and kitchen.

An Old Row House in Montreal Gets a Colorful Modern Upgrade - Photo 5 of 10 - The couple's kitchen is an exercise in both sustainability and creativity. The island is wrapped with reclaimed scrap wood uncovered from the house during demolition. Chalkboard walls provide a whimsical canvas for graphic images and notes.

The couple's kitchen is an exercise in both sustainability and creativity. The island is wrapped with reclaimed scrap wood uncovered from the house during demolition. Chalkboard walls provide a whimsical canvas for graphic images and notes.

An Old Row House in Montreal Gets a Colorful Modern Upgrade - Photo 6 of 10 - Stainless steel was selected for the kitchen countertops, and the pair relied on a local industrial sheet metal fabricator to help them prepare the material for residential application. The mix of warm and cool adds depth and dimension to the space.

Stainless steel was selected for the kitchen countertops, and the pair relied on a local industrial sheet metal fabricator to help them prepare the material for residential application. The mix of warm and cool adds depth and dimension to the space.

An Old Row House in Montreal Gets a Colorful Modern Upgrade - Photo 7 of 10 - The chalkboard wall also acts as a sliding pocket door to the first floor bathroom. To maximize usable space, there are no hinged doors in the home's interior.

The chalkboard wall also acts as a sliding pocket door to the first floor bathroom. To maximize usable space, there are no hinged doors in the home's interior.

An Old Row House in Montreal Gets a Colorful Modern Upgrade - Photo 8 of 10 - The bathroom vanities were crafted from salvaged partition wall framing and original floorboards. Sustainability is a guiding principle of Fekete and de Loera's design, and materials were repurposed and upcycled wherever possible to honor the history and character of the 135-year-old row house.

The bathroom vanities were crafted from salvaged partition wall framing and original floorboards. Sustainability is a guiding principle of Fekete and de Loera's design, and materials were repurposed and upcycled wherever possible to honor the history and character of the 135-year-old row house.

An Old Row House in Montreal Gets a Colorful Modern Upgrade - Photo 9 of 10 - Boasting 11-foot ceilings, the master bedroom showcases and celebrates numerous antiques unearthed from the home during demolition. Midcentury enamel Coke signs, found under layers of rotting wood, became graphic accent pieces. A stately trunk, also uncovered from the renovation, is a centerpiece of the room and home, which is coincidentally located on Grand Trunk Street in the Pointe-Saint-Charles neighborhood of Montreal.

Boasting 11-foot ceilings, the master bedroom showcases and celebrates numerous antiques unearthed from the home during demolition. Midcentury enamel Coke signs, found under layers of rotting wood, became graphic accent pieces. A stately trunk, also uncovered from the renovation, is a centerpiece of the room and home, which is coincidentally located on Grand Trunk Street in the Pointe-Saint-Charles neighborhood of Montreal.

An Old Row House in Montreal Gets a Colorful Modern Upgrade - Photo 10 of 10 - A new clawfoot tub sits next to an old wooden ladder that serves as a towel and magazine rack.

A new clawfoot tub sits next to an old wooden ladder that serves as a towel and magazine rack.

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