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Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion

After a Long Renovation, a 130-Year-Old House Blends Dreamy Architectural Details and Color

updated Dec 19, 2019
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Square feet
Sq ft

Gabriella Kranz and Kyle Pilot (and kids Magnolia and Harrison)
Westmount, Quebec
2400 square feet
Owned for 1.5 years

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Originally built in 1885, this historic house once served as the Mexican ambassador’s home before eventually being split in half and converted into a boarding house during World War II. When Gabriella and Kyle bought it in 2018, almost everything needed redoing. They had to change out the electricity, the plumbing, the lights, the floor, and they wanted to modernize the space while keeping the original character like plaster moldings, woodwork, and stained glass. This would be their first major home renovation project, and to save money, Kyle acted as their general contractor. “He supervised the work and hired all the workers independently, managed the budget, and so on,” Gabriella explains. “And this, working full time. He did not sleep for six months!”

Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion

Kyle is the CTO of iGotcha Media in Montreal and a tech lover, so he made the house a smart home in nearly every possible way. Gabriella explains there is a smart speaker system from Monoprice, Nest locks, a Samsung smart fridge and stove, Lutron smart lights, Nubryte smart hub lights and integrations with Alexa and Google home. Unfortunately, when they finished the renovation job (and after all those smart home integrations), there was no money left to furnish the place with the kind of “cool” design pieces they longed for. Instead, they turned to budget-friendly options for furnishings and invested in art they love.

Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion
Gabriella currently coordinates the ethics component of the Quebec Population Health Research Network at McGill and studied law and architecture.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Design on a budget. 

Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion

Inspiration: Historic homes with modern interiors. Our inspiration was the quirky character of the place and the original elements dating back over 130 years.

Favorite Element: Our two favorite original features are the giant stained-glass window on the stairs and the moldings in the living and dining rooms. 

Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion

Biggest Challenge: Insulating the house. We made a giant mistake not insulating our bedroom exterior walls when we stripped the room during the renos. In the frigid Montreal winters, it costs us a fortune to heat that room! 

Biggest Embarrassment: How cold our bedroom gets in the winter. 

Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion

What Friends Say: They say it’s the perfect space to host parties. People can spill out into every room and since the home has built-in ceiling speakers all over, you can dance wherever you are. They also tell us it’s very warm, inviting, and unpretentious. 

Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion

Proudest DIY: All of the smart home additions.

Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion

Biggest Indulgence: Our two favorite purchases are in the kitchen: our Aquarelle granite counters (splurge!) and our Samsung smart fridge. We tend to live in the kitchen and the kids use the touch screen fridge to leave us notes and doodle while I cook. Friends also leave us cheeky notes when we aren’t looking. 

Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion

Best Advice: Someone told us when we started renovating that it takes three house renos before you know what you are doing. Since this was our first major foray into transforming a house from top to bottom without a general contractor, we learned very quickly that making mistakes is par from the course. While you may save money doing it all yourself, you will probably save on mistakes going with a seasoned general contractor.  As for interior decorating: Buy art that you love. It will bring you endless joy.

Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion

Dream Sources: With a limitless budget I would buy everything Rachel Castle creates. And I dream of a Roche Bobois Mah Jong sofa but sadly it won’t fit it in the house!!! 


Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion




Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion


  • Kyle sofa in Rust colour — Structube
  • Penny round cushion in gold — Rachel Castle
  • Bird cushions — Target
  • Black and white window seats — Custom made at Rembourrage Parisian in Montreal 
  • Antique marble coffee table — Gift from family friend
  • NuLOOM Carpet — Wayfair
  • Modway Casper Modern Acrylic Dining Armchair in Clear — Amazon
  • White basket for blankets — Target
  • Yellow Velvet curtains — IKEA
  • Heart shaped neon — Urban Outfitters
  • Turquoise portable record player — Victrola
  • All the brass chandeliers and sconces were already installed in the house when we bought it. We restored them with new crystals purchased on Amazon, lots of TLC, and deep cleaning with WD40.
Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion


  • Orange and white window seats — Custom made at Rembourrage Parisian in Montreal
  • White Ingatorp dining room table — IKEA
  • Fischer Mobel Chairs — Cane Furniture
  • Eames Replica Shell chairs — Wayfair
  • Waterfall table — Structube
  • Giant antique mirror — Bought from previous owners because it’s impossible to move!
Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion


Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion


  • Bed — IKEA Birkeland (discontinued)
  • Side tables — IKEA Birkeland (discontinued)
  • Starburst chandelier: Home Depot
  • Ceiling mount starburst — Multiluminaire
  • Round orange storage ottoman — (discontinued)
  • Ikea Art Event 2019 Chiaozza Carpet — IKEA
Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion


  • Queen bed — IKEA
  • Crystal Chandelier — Zone (discontinued)
  • Moroccan Rug —
  • Blackout Curtains — Pottery Barn Kids (discontinued)
  • Desk — IKEA
  • Chair — IKEA
Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion


  • Chandelier — Canadian Tire
  • Moroccan Rug —
  • Dresser — found on the street and repainted, new handles from
  • IKEA bed — IKEA
  • IKEA desk — IKEA
  • IKEA chair — IKEA
  • Wooden biplane mobile — A gift from his grandma
  • Navy velvet curtains from IKEA — Bought ages ago, don’t remember the name
Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion


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Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion
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When they bought the house, almost everything needed redoing. They had to change out the electricity, the plumbing, the lights, the floors…

Thanks Gabby, Kyle, Magnolia, and Harrison!

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