Montreal architecture studio La Firme has reorganised an apartment in a 1800s textile mill, using cabinetry to shape the new interior configuration.
The Elmire Condo was completed for a young couple in Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal area.
“This project took a space in a mid-19th century building that’s been a textile mill, a Campbell’s soup factory, and finally a condo complex,” said La Firme, a local studio whose name means simply The Firm.
La Firme left much of the original structure exposed, including tall, rough-hewn timber beams and brick walls with structural arches as passages between rooms.
According to the studio, these original elements serve as a “counterpoint” to their intervention, which consists of a series of white oak cabinets that delineate that redefine the rooms, while offering an abundance of storage for the owners.
“These contrasting elements organise the space into a rectangular area for the kitchen and salon, and an L-shaped loft for the master bedroom and bath, with a combination gallery, conservatory and meditative space,” said La Firme.
The studio was able to include two bathrooms as part of the renovation: one for guests and the other within the primary bedroom. Plenty of stone is used throughout the apartment, reflecting the owner’s passion for geology.
Within the ensuite bathroom, a wall is finished in Calcatta marble that was bookmatched to create a subtle geometric pattern with the veins of the stone. “Natural light comes in from the gallery space through a band of glass blocks, in a wink to 1980s condo design,” La Firme explained.
The long kitchen countertop sits partially at bar-height, then transitions to table height due to a step in the apartment floor. “The kitchen embodies [the client’s] love of minerals and culinary passion,” said La Firme.
“Quebec’s geological richness is brought inside with the island countertop, a slab of Labradorite granite that extends into a table on a raised platform,” they added.
Beyond the kitchen is the salon, which is raised a few steps higher, and enjoys clear views of the city’s Mont Royal. Within these steps, the architects included a concealed pull-out bed for guests.
Opposite the kitchen is a counter with drawers offering flexible storage or a place to work from home.
Through the brick arches is the conservatory, a secondary living area separated from the combined living room and kitchen.
“The gallery/conservatory is the loft area’s raison d’être,” La Firme explained. “Bright and open, it puts on display the clients’ other great loves: an impressive collection of contemporary art and a space for playing music.”
Besides the white oak cabinets and occasional stone accents, the architects kept to a relatively limited palette for the intervention.
Other apartment renovations in Montreal include a 1920s unit that Naturehumaine renovated with curved walls and pale green cabinetry, and a residential extension wrapped in galvanised metal.
The photography is by Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard.
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