Natalie Dionne Architecture recently renovated 'Brick House' located on de Gaspé Street, near the popular Jean-Talon Market. The work involved turning what was once a three-unit building into a generous single-family home. Interiors were opened up, light was brought in, and the yard was turned into a convivial room.
The architectural intervention is easily understood from the back of the building. Although their initial intention was to preserve the façade's main elements, the architects had no choice but to replace the brick entirely. This gave them the opportunity to integrate more generous openings to the exterior wall. In keeping with the existing typology, four elongated windows were inserted on the upper floor, where the original openings had been. Carefully aligned with the new windows, two sets of folding doors run across the dining and the kitchen area.
The ground floor was transformed into a vast living area while the upstairs was redesigned to accommodate three bedrooms and a large bathroom area. The architects' most theatrical gesture was to introduce a two-story volume above the dining area. As a result of this move, the master bedroom and the upstairs bathroom appear to be floating over the ground floor. A small 'balcony' was inserted between both volumes.
Interior openings generate a series of unexpected views towards the dining area, the backyard and the nearby alley. The careful positioning of the upstairs partitions ensured fluidity and transparency from one space to another. Skylights installed in previous times on the roof were totally revamped bringing natural light over the central staircase and the upstairs bathroom.
The white walls contrast with the strong presence of brick, concrete and wood surfaces. The dark shades of the walnut floors and furnishings, as well as the texture of the chimney, provide warmth to the space. The choice of noble materials and a subdued palette bring calm and harmony to the contemporary interiors.
In the kitchen and dining area, the continuous floor is polished concrete, which blends into the stone pavers of the adjacent terrace when the windows fold open. The backyard thus becomes an integral part of the home's living spaces, particularly during the long summer nights when family and friends rally around.
Photography: Raphaël Thibodeau