Name: Marc-Andre & Alexandre
Location: Griffintown, Montreal, Canada
Size: 710 square feet
Years lived in: 6 months; Owned
Have you ever dreamed of designing and building your own home? If you are not an architect nor a designer (or if you don't plan on hiring one), you may rarely encounter the opportunity that Marc-André and Alex just had. They bought their condo from plans, so they were able to sit down with the interior designer of the builder’s company (three times!) until all of the requests and changes they wanted were reflected on the plan. The final result matches their needs and totally represents them.
Let’s be honest— buying from plans and model homes is stressful. It requires a great deal of visualization and imagination, patience, and a complete understanding of what is included with your purchase and what’s not. Not to mention a considerable amount of time and research on the builders' reputation to ensure the construction work will be done well, from design to finishing touches. The size can also be difficult to judge. Rooms that look adequate on paper may be too cramped once your furniture is in.
But, Marc-André and Alex decided to go for it. They loved the idea of living in a newly constructed industrial building at an affordable price in a neighborhood that is currently in development. The possibility of designing the space as they wanted was the cherry on top.
They created the opening with the frosted glass on the wall separating the bathroom and the bedroom which lets natural light stream into the bathroom. They also expanded the bathroom and installed ceramic tile from floor to ceiling, selected different fixtures (like the trendy rain showerhead). They even reversed the position of the bath. They got rid of a few walls to open up the living and dining areas, making it more spacious and enjoyable when entertaining friends. They also extended the counter space in the kitchen, designed bigger and higher cabinets, and installed a bigger fridge. Alex is a great cook so designing the kitchen and making efficient changes to the plan was important to him.
While waiting for the condo to be built, they were planning ahead on the furniture to buy and the décor direction they wanted to go in. They bought pieces here and there from different design shops in Montreal and from local artisans. They loved the idea of living in a newly constructed building with industrial features and contrasting that space with some vintage pieces and found objects from their travels to help balance the space.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: We would describe our style as modern/contemporary with a touch of bling. We are both very urban people who love to travel. As real foodies, we enjoy hosting dinner parties and having people over for great meals to share.
Inspiration: The design of our condo was inspired by a few pieces of furniture and found objects; the turquoise ceramic swallow that we found on a trip in Sintra, Portugal, the mid-century vintage rosewood kitchen table and the painting over it that we happened to come across on Facebook from an acclaimed French painter. All other elements from our condo were then chosen keeping in mind these elements. We wanted our condo to include Quebec-made products thus our multiple purchases at local vintage boutiques.
We love the idea of living in a newly constructed building (Lowney sur Ville) in Griffintown with exposed cement beams and an open space concept, however; it was important for us to create a contrast between the industrial infrastructure and vintage pieces we found in Montreal.
Favorite Element: The paintings and various souvenirs were brought back from our trips (Paris, Barcelona, Lisbon, Sintra, New York, Vancouver and Quebec City). The painting in our dining room is a reproduction of Françoise Nielly and the painting in our living room is from Virginie Schroeder.
We also have a special soft spot for the two light fixtures we had made-to-order by Lambert & Fils in Montreal.
Biggest Challenge: Creating a comfortable environment with the space we had.
What Friends Say: Our friends say that the condo is an exact reflection of who we are.
Biggest Embarrassment: Our closet! We have decided to have a closet that has no door to create a sense of depth. For the moment, our closet is neither functional nor appealing to the eye. This is why we have decided to not take any picture of this area. Our goal for the upcoming year is to make this space functional with an integrated closet system.
Proudest DIY: The two paintings in our bedroom that Marc-André painted using the dripping method. We must be honest; he made a real mess when creating his very proud masterpieces.
Biggest Indulgence: The three bar stools which cost us a real fortune, but we just couldn’t resist.
Best Advice: Follow your instinct and invest in items that speak to you. Plan ahead and be confident.
Dream Sources: Window shopping, Art Galleries.
PAINT & COLORS
- Buffet Benson- Maison Corbeil maisoncorbeil.com
- Birks crystal swan- Quebec Antique shop
- Pinwheel crystal carafe- family heritage
- Native handcrafted silver plate from Vancouver- Gift from a friend
- «STAR» Coffee table American walnut- Maison Corbeil maisoncorbeil.com
- Benson Tv unit- Maison Corbeil maisoncorbeil.com
- Artemide: Tolomeo off-center suspension- Bonaldo bonaldo.ca
- Orange vintage chair- Couleurs 3901 Rue Saint-Denis Montréal
- Surya carpet- MA Mobilier Actuel mamobilieractuel.com
- «Rêverie» couch- EQ3 eq3.com
- Drawer Mirrored Nighstand- Barami
- Fox- Velvet Moustache velvetmoustache.ca
- Paint- Virginie Schroeder virginie-schroeder.com
- Chrome Atomium- Lambert & Fils lambertetfils.com
- Ghost chairs- Maison Corbeil maisoncorbeil.com
- Turquoise chair 1970’s vintage- Couleurs 3901 Rue Saint-Denis Montréal (now closed)
- Rosewood kitchen table- Showroom showroommtl.com
- Untitled 724 – Françoise Nielly store.francoise-nielly.com
- Black DOT- Lambert & Fils lambertetfils.com
- Black Magis Herman Miller stool One- Triede Design triede.com
- Deer head- Zone Maison zonemaison.com
- Bento bed- EQ3 eq3.com
- Caribou fur- Le Chariot Métier d’Art 446 Place Jacques Cartier, Montréal,
- Fox fur throw- Héritage heritagegallery.ca
- Silver fox cushion –Maison Corbeil maisoncorbeil.com
- Axel End Table- Barami
- Porcelain Card Box A Eça de Queiroz - Vista Alegre myvistaalegre.com
- «Mar Largo» handmade box- meiacana.org
- Swallow Turquoise- Sintra boutique
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