Separate Boîte Equal

Separate Boîte Equal

By Tim McKeough
From the leafy sidewalk outside Paul Bernier and Joëlle Thibault’s home in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood of Montreal, there’s no clue that their brick home is all that different from its neighbors. But step inside, and perceptions quickly shift.

Rather than the tight, dark entry hall typical of century-old row houses, Bernier and Thibault’s three-story-high stairwell is flooded with sunlight that illuminates surprising architectural details and an open-plan interior. Bernier, an architect, and Thibault, a lawyer specializing in alternative dispute resolution, managed to renovate and expand their home for about $100 per square foot by using affordable materials, forgoing extravagant hardware and finishes, and taking on much of the work themselves. Bernier tells us how it came together.

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