A Bright, Warm, Well-Lived Montreal Home

published Jan 31, 2016
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(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Name: Marie-Claude and Martin and 7-year-old Romane
Location: Notre-Dame-de-Grâce — Montréal, Québec
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years lived in: 8.5 years; Owned

At the age of 17, Marie-Claude went to Venice, Italy on an exchange to study art and sculpture. This experience changed the way she saw the world around her and deepened her appreciation for art and design. Marie-Claude is a interior design fanatic, and it’s no surprise that the trade runs in her extended family. A journalist by profession, she spends much of her free time designing (and re-designing!) the space that she shares with her partner, Martin, and daughter, Romane.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

With a love of patterns and a knack for inventing practical decor solutions, Marie-Claude has learned design through experience. She once re-painted her living room five times before finally getting it right!

The family loves the neighborhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG) because it offers them more physical space to live and has a thriving community of young families. Even after living in their 1927 home—a semi-detached duplex—for nearly a decade, things are still constantly being adapted to meet the needs of the family as a whole and its individual members.

Last year, a number of changes were made in the home. The most influential change was the knocking down of the wall between the living and dining rooms. Removing this wall completely changed the flow of the two rooms and made them more inviting. The dining room was previously Romane’s bedroom, and the dining room was where the current family room is (see floor plan for a visual). Having the family room right off the kitchen now allows everyone to hang out close to one another during meal preparation—without having too many cooks in the kitchen.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Eclectic with travel souvenirs and imperfectly homemade items.

Inspiration: Houses on Apartment Therapy and in European magazines. Close friends’ homes (like Stephanie, Martine, Suzon, Edith, and Pascale, who I love to visit because they have such amazing taste and ideas). My aunt Monique, who found my first apartment (upstairs from hers) and who gave me precious advice about decorating.

Favorite Element: The layout of the apartment and having large glass doors in the living room.

Biggest Challenge: Living quite close to a busy street. Windows get dirty very quickly because of it and the background noise is a bit annoying when we have a meal on the back terrace. I am still looking for a way to cover it, without blasting music that might annoy my neighbors.

What Friends Say: That it is warm and welcoming. Quite a few have asked me to help them at their place, which is the best compliment of all. Others wonder where I find time for all my little projects and for my constant repainting. Answer: I would rather transform things then watch TV and sometimes I even forget to have dinner because I am so absorbed by a decorating impulse!

Biggest Embarrassment: My use of fake flowers and plants. Even though they look real nowadays, it feels like cheating (and a bit tacky). But every time I try to remove them I miss their green touch because the real ones I buy end up dying.

Proudest DIY: My plexiglass “carpets” in the kitchen, because I’ve never seen anything like them before! They cover a very damaged wood floor and are much easier to clean then I would have imagined. They will be even more convenient now that we are adding a puppy to the family.

Biggest Indulgence: Muuto dots in the entryway.

Best Advice: Have fun with lighting. To set a cozy mood, I use dimmers with all my lamps (IKEA sells ones that you can use with table lamps) and I hang strings of lights. It makes any room look more inviting. Also, as everyone says, take your time! I’ve lost track of the times when I rushed to build something that I liked at first but that ended up uneven or too fragile to stand the test of time.

Dream Sources: Muuto (especially their couches), Molo Design (for its cloud softlight), Lambert et Fils in Montreal, Inform Interiors and Living Space in Vancouver, and Elte in Toronto.



  • Hallway/corridor: Benjamin Moore Oxford White
  • Living room: Benjamin Moore Cloud White
  • Dining room: Benjamin Moore Cloud White
  • Kitchen: Farrow & Ball Shaded White
  • Kitchen, lower cabinets: Farrow & Ball Railings
  • Master bedroom: Farrow & Ball Slipper Satin
  • Romane’s bedroom: Benjamin Moore Ivory White
  • Bathroom: Benjamin Moore Cloud White


  • Dots hooks: Muuto
  • Lower hooks for Romane: IKEA
  • Bench: HomeSense
  • Umbrella stand: HomeSense
  • Mirror: IKEA
  • Area rug: West Elm
  • Chest of drawers: HomeSense


  • Armoire: Licari in Montreal
  • Baskets on top: HomeSense, painted silver
  • Couch: IKEA Soderhamn
  • Coffee table: old post office table with added wheels
  • Armchair: given by Marie-Claude’s sister
  • Rocking chair: Zone
  • Rug: Essgo
  • Curtains: IKEA
  • Table lamps: IKEA
  • Bookshelves: IKEA Lack shelves cut in pieces and glued
  • Art above couch: posters from La Havana
  • Art in the rest of the room: Marie-Claude’s photos, framed postcards, framed pages from books


  • Armoire: Licari in Montreal
  • White console table: IKEA
  • Pendant light: Lambert et Fils (from back when they sold vintage lamps)
  • Chairs: Kijiji, Zone, antique dealers
  • Rug: HomeSense


  • Plexiglass “carpet”: DIY
  • Fabric under plexiglass: Maiwa
  • Handles: HomeSense
  • Sink and faucet: IKEA
  • Floating shelf: IKEA
  • Lamp above island: Celadon
  • Lamp in pantry: vintage via Lambert et Fils
  • Wall clock: IKEA
  • Hanging bar: IKEA
  • White baskets under island: HomeSense
  • Black blinds: IKEA


  • Wallpaper: Sanderson Treetops in silver
  • Armoire: given by parents
  • Bed frame and headboard: IKEA
  • Mirror: Maison Corbeil
  • Table lamps: HomeSense, repainted
  • Wobbly nightstand: DIY
  • Hamper: HomeSense
  • Small rugs: HomeSense


  • Loft bed: IKEA Stuva
  • Bedding: two Tommy Hilfiger sheets found on sale at HomeSense and sewn together
  • Extra pillow: sewn from fabric Romane chose on Fabric Spot
  • Desk: IKEA
  • Bookcase: IKEA
  • Curtains: sewn from fabric Romane chose on Fabric Spot
  • Armoire: IKEA
  • Lighted forest on windowsill: Zone
  • Animals in the forest: HomeSense
  • Pendant light: Zone
  • Table lamp: IKEA
  • Striped rug: HomeSense
  • Cloud shelf: Cirrus, bought on clearance and covered with wrapping paper as it was too white
  • Metal picture frames: HomeSense
  • Hooks with numbers on them: HomeSense
  • Lamp on cloud shelf: IKEA
  • String of lights: Zone
  • String of hearts: Folklore 1
  • Magnetic puzzle world map: Janod
  • Scratch-off world map: Amazon
  • Chest of drawers: given by Marie-Claude’s parents


  • Sink and faucets: Liquidation de plomberie Beloeil
  • Vanity: Portes et fenêtres Verdun
  • Lamps above vanity: Style Labo
  • Mirrored medicine cabinets: Portes et fenêtres Verdun
  • Shower head: Liquidation de plomberie Beloeil
  • Glass door: Liquidation de plomberie Beloeil
  • Toilet: Liquidation de plomberie Beloeil
  • Rug: brought back from Morocco
  • Marble table: HomeSense
  • Plant container: Anthropologie
  • Hooks: Zone
  • Towel bar: Zone
  • Lantern : HomeSense
  • Art: family photos, travel photos
  • Frameless picture frames: IKEA


  • Desk: IKEA pieces, repurposed
  • Bookshelves: IKEA, with homemade added levels on top
  • Hanging chair: saved just before Marie-Claude’s daughter-in-law was about to put it on the curb the day she moved
  • Rug over dog crate: IKEA from Marie-Claude’s first apartment 20 years ago
  • Bedcover: IKEA
  • Canopy: hand-me-down from Marie-Claude’s friend’s daughter who got over pink
  • Cushions: Zone, HomeSense
  • Typewriter poster: Society6
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)
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The large island is the central point of the kitchen. (Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

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Thanks, Marie-Claude & Martin!