Photos by Phil Bernard
The main goal of the Maison Ave. Courcelette project, in the Outremont borough of Montreal, was to “improve the relationship of the interior spaces with the large exterior courtyard while highlighting elements dating from the original construction,” says a news release by Salem Architecture.
The living space has been opened to the outside so the kitchen can be extended under a new canopy on the rear facade facing south. This canopy has a dual function – it reduces solar gain in summer while allowing occupants to enjoy a covered space. The new openings in the existing walls allow natural light to also diffuse into the central space of the house. The fluidity of the ground floor plan is enhanced by this light as well as by the sculptural articulation of the staircase in the centre of the residence, say the architects.
The landscaping, in separate areas, offers owners the opportunity to enjoy the backyard while having a variety of experiences and atmospheres. An exterior sunken living room, covered with a retractable awning, allows the family to enjoy a warm space and offers a different perspective on the courtyard and on the many mature trees around the perimeter of the site.
The architect, Jad Salem, along with the owner, paid particular attention to ensuring the transformation of the residence is respectful of its original character. Everything was planned to highlight details dating from the initial construction of the house in 1947.
New arched openings follow the same configurations as the existing ones. The railing of the central staircase has been treated in a minimalist way to direct attention to the curves around the staircase, as well as the rounded openings in the ceiling. The original wood floor has been maintained in some rooms and “a precise arrangement of the colours of the new floor ensures a harmonization between the new and the existing finish,” says the firm.
The new cladding, on a portion of the rear facade, is juxtaposed to the original stone of the house, using fine wooden elements laid vertically. These same elements are used to serve as an openwork sidewall to offer privacy from neighbours while allowing light and vegetation to filter through.
The stones of the facade, which were replaced by new sliding glass doors, were also kept so they could be installed in a possible extension of the house.
Salem Architecture was founded in 2012 by Jad Salem. The firm is currently involved in major residential projects in the greater Montreal area, and it is also working on some school projects.