White walls. Open rooms. A lot of light.
Stéphanie, a lawyer, had these requirements in mind when she built her first house with her husband. The couple called on Smith Vigeant Architects to design “something modern and contemporary,” says Bobby, Stéphanie’s spouse. Result? An airy dwelling on three levels with Indiana stone and wood facades, two walkways and a profusion of windows.
The story of Stéphanie, 41, and Bobby, 51, is contemporary like their home.
Divorced, the restaurateur shared custody of his two children when Stéphanie knew him, confides the latter. Stéphanie owned a condo in town. They used it part-time, the two having settled in the West Island to facilitate the sharing of custody of the children.
Then, a boy was born from their union in November 2007 “and in June 2008, we moved here full time”.
The one who works in a Montreal office explains that to commute Montreal-Baie D’Urfé, with the extended family, “it was too much logistics”.
The couple had first acquired a small house from the 1940s built on the same 20,500 sq. Ft. Lot. it. in Baie D’Urfé. “It was clear that we were going to demolish this house,” says Bobby.
The brick house had no basement and the architectural style did not please them. “Above all, we bought a site,” he continues.
A year later, the demolition began. The new house now offers three times more living space than the other.
Note: Bobby’s energy bill has dropped “by 40%” per square foot (compared to the other house). This is thanks to a geothermal system, another novelty in the domestic life of this family. The house has reached a basement. This level benefits from the generous vertical windows plunging from the floor up to the playroom fitted out near the central staircase. The couple also planned to build a wine cellar but didn’t have time: they decided to get closer to the schools that 16 and 18-year-olds will attend next year.
A single garage is being built in place of their carport. “To facilitate the sale [of the house],” says Stéphanie.
Visual breakthroughs and transparency
The vestibule opens onto the open area on the ground floor. The gaze leads to the grassy courtyard beyond the central staircase whose glass railings let in light coming from multiple openings.
Three single storey windows light up the dining room. An office with level access to the courtyard occupies a corner of the house. It is hidden from family action while remaining fairly close to the general rallying point – the kitchen.
Light pierces this large, high-ceilinged room. A marble rectangle stands in the center of the room. It is the islet. On one side, there is a large dining area which extends onto the terrace. On the other side of the kitchen, a (other) playroom occupies a lower landing. The only closed rooms: the elegant powder room covered with wallpaper and the “mudroom”, a small hallway for getting rid of outdoor clothing.
The white wall to wall amplifies the feeling of space.
Omnipresent, the views of the water remind Bobby of his life spent in Greece. In the game room adjoining the kitchen, Lake Saint-Louis is clearly visible. In the living room, to the right of the entrance, a sailboat bars the horizon in the distance.
The boat is moving as if in slow motion, faster anyway than the cyclists on Lakeshore Road. Here visitors have the impression of being too exposed to the eyes of passers-by, says Stéphanie. “We like that. That’s what we wanted, to have lots of light. ”The windows are bare.
In the master bedroom, doors open to the gentleman’s favorite place: it’s a balcony. With a view of Lake Saint-Louis, of course.
The child’s bedroom is on the other side of the corridor near the “parental suite”. Built in a row, their bedroom has a luxurious bathroom (with shower). A wardrobe separates the two spaces.
Upstairs, the circulation areas offer visual openings on the green of the ground and the blue of the lake. A walkway connects the teenage corridor to the other.
At the outset, the architects’ proposal was “more radical,” said Stéphanie, with a laugh: “There would have been a bridge in the house!” It was too much for them. Two walkways were sufficient. (The other gangway connects the dining area to the dining room.)
The property in brief
Asking price: $ 1,490,000.
Year built: 2008.
Number of rooms: 14, including 4 bedrooms + 3 bathrooms + 1 powder room.
Includes kitchen appliances and blinds.
Municipal assessment (2012): $ 1,061,400.
Property tax (2011): $ 7,433.
School tax (2011): $ 2,074.
Close to a daycare center, the Baie D’Urfé community center and French, English and international German primary schools.