Near Montreal, a 1950s House Gets a Modern Makeover

Add to
Like
Comment
Share
By William Lamb / Published by Dwell
A clever design team recasts a cramped home as an open, contemporary residence.

The interior design firm Clairoux and the architecture firm Open Form collaborated on this update of a 2,850-square-foot family home in Laval, Quebec, north of Montreal, that was originally built in the 1950s. The challenge that Julie Lafontaine and Frédric Clairoux of Clairoux set for themselves as to preserve a space that they say is "steeped in memories" for its longtime owners while giving it a modern update.

Near Montreal, a 1950s House Gets a Modern Makeover - Photo 1 of 7 -

The architecture firm Open Form and the interior design firm Clairoux collaborated on this modern update of a 1950s-era house in Laval, Quebec, north of Montreal.

They did this by transforming a formerly cramped, inward-looking space, giving it a much more open and inviting layout. They retained one major feature of the original space: a natural stone chimney in the large central fireplace. 

Near Montreal, a 1950s House Gets a Modern Makeover - Photo 2 of 7 -

A clear railing follows the stairs to the second floor.

"Above all," Lafontaine and Clairoux said in a statement, "we wanted to avoid sterile black-and-white juxtapositions, which have been overused in recent years. Our goal was to create an elegant contemporary space by breathing new life into an architectural legacy from the previous century. To pull this off, we relied on subtlety and a clean-canvas approach that focused on lines, volumes and materials.

Near Montreal, a 1950s House Gets a Modern Makeover - Photo 3 of 7 -

The renovated house is outfitted with a sauna.

Our colleague, interior decorator Patrick Robichaud, delivered distinctive design totally in compliance with the project’s requirements. Furnishings and accessories were selected with the owner – a joint effort that resulted in the sober and elegant finish we were aiming for. A home has life and character, it is something that is always evolving, and so some design touches will continue to be added over time.

Near Montreal, a 1950s House Gets a Modern Makeover - Photo 4 of 7 -

The renovated dining room.

Near Montreal, a 1950s House Gets a Modern Makeover - Photo 5 of 7 -

A new staircase turns a corner at the large stone chimney, an element of the original house that the designers were careful to preserve.

Near Montreal, a 1950s House Gets a Modern Makeover - Photo 6 of 7 -

The architects and interior designers did away with the home's cramped, darkened layout and recast the interior as an open space defined by clean lines.

Near Montreal, a 1950s House Gets a Modern Makeover - Photo 7 of 7 -

The kitchen features a distinctive cantilevered countertop.

Get a Daily Dose of Design

Sign up for the Dwell Daily Newsletter and never miss our new features, photos, home tours, stories, and more.