Posted at 12:00 PM.
On a Thursday afternoon at the end of summer, the children were playing in the alley with their friends, or rather the street alley on the Avenue de Chateaubriand on the plateau. The main entrance to their century-old house may be on Rue Saint-Hubert, but it’s behind it: their yard, their alley, their friends, and even their school.
However, the parents, Maxime Brunel and Virginia Morin, were forced to abandon the neighborhood due to a lack of space on the three-story ground floor. They had an old garage in the courtyard, topped by a small attic that could be used as storage, but that wasn’t enough anymore. “We’re starting to get a little bit upset,” says Maxim, father of Valentine, 13, Morgan, 9, and Romeo, 5. We were looking for something a little bigger, and we visited somewhere else in Montreal, and even on the South Beach…but when we spoke with Mark at a family gathering, he said, “Ah, chances are you haven’t seen.” »
Mark is Mark Blouin, Virginie’s uncle who is also one of the founders of Blouin Orzes Architects. He saw the potential of the old garage, especially since we already had access to it through the house. “It lived, but on the other hand, it had an interesting quality: it was a garage of almost two floors.”
“I went on a little tour of the Plateau area,” continues the architect. He knew he had a project on his hands when the town confirmed that the garage could be demolished, rebuilt on two floors, and a basement dug. Even better than expected!
Initially the idea was to have a family room. But when we knew we could build on two floors, that was a real bonus…and then by excavating, it allows for storage, which is another plus.
Mark Bloen, architect
Excavation and construction made it possible to add several missing functions simultaneously: a family room, a bedroom for the oldest, storage space in the basement, and even a bike garage.
However, the project has had its share of challenges, and everything is measured down to the nearest millimeter. Thus, even if it was possible to build a second floor, the height of the architect was very limited. Among other works of art, he designed a ceiling made of small wooden slats which, in addition to the original appearance, has the advantage that it takes up very little space. “We stretched the height to the max. We found a way to make the roof like a little sandwich, in order to have the thinnest roof possible and a habitable room.”
The courtyard has also been redesigned according to the new configuration. The extension deck has the advantage of creating a balcony for the apartment above. We also moved one of the fire escapes, as per the regulations (many).
All this without touching – or almost – the original apartment. In fact, the only evidence of interference remains the hole created in the kitchen wall, which leads to the extension. So the extra bedroom has a lot of privacy. A small cocoon where Valentine loves to receive her friends!
Specifically, on that day, the friend was in the yard with the family. And always so, assure the parents, that they are very happy. “It’s fun, the kids are here all the time, it’s the gathering point. We love that there’s work,” Virginie says in the midst of the whirlwind. “We want it to continue like this,” Maxim adds.
Unfortunately, his absence was evident from the youngest, as that day was his last day in nursery. The next day, Romeo also started school, right behind the alley. And the wheel keeps turning. “We still have a few years left… and that was the plan! Virginie concludes.
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