The Grand Trunk is MARK + VIVI's latest project located in the transitioning neighbourhood of Pointe-Saint-Charles, Quebec. Nestled steps from Montreal's Lachine Canal, the newly renovated 1,100 square foot row house currently serves as residence and design studio for designers Mark Fekete and Viviana de Loera.
Originally built in 1880, the building's exposed structure supports a whimsical integration of traditional industrial materials with clever and efficient design. Floors, shelving, and kitchen cabinetry are built using locally sourced Canadian plywood. Bathroom cabinets and countertops are built using wood reclaimed on site during demolition. Painted and exposed surfaces such as floors, walls, and cabinets are finished in low VOC treatments.
The Grand Trunk utilizes natural light extensively. A skylight was added on the second floor above the stairs. The building's compact size means that small amounts of energy are required to heat or cool the interior. Mineral wool insulation was installed throughout. Steel columns and beams are added to support the existing timber frame structure. Left exposed and painted white, the new "bones" not only lift but gracefully compliment the old.
"We wanted to create a home that captured the essence and character of a classical 19th century Canadian row-house infused with contemporary touches of playfulness and style," Fekete and de Loera commented. Pleasantly unexpected antique finds during demolition helped influence the design process of various spaces throughout. Uncovered were old toys, antique tools, and vintage enamel signs that now play an integral part in the home's decor.
Photos: Adrien Williams