Looking out on La Fontaine Park in Montreal, “Maison du Parc”, with its high level of contrast and impressive scenery, is inspired by the architecture of early-century mansions. Designed by la SHED architecture, the home was the Quebec Order of Architects Excellence in Architecture Awards 2019 winner in the House Interior category. It was also the Grands Prix du Design 2018 winner in the 1,600- to 3,200-square-foot residential category, and a Dezeen Awards 2018 shortlisted project in the House Interior category.
The centrepiece of the home is a staircase that winds its way through the three floors. At the top of the staircase is an immense skylight, which illuminates and highlights the staircase’s eye-catching curves. Thin, carved partitions curve around and envelop the wooden steps. Translucent glass partitions, placed on both sides of the staircase, allow light to enter, while subtly revealing what is behind, creating light effects and a mysterious depth.
The living room, located at the front of the house, is organized in the conventional manner of mansions, say the architects, particularly through the centred, symmetrical perspectives created by the double windows looking out at the park and the narrow double doors leading to the kitchen.
Designed with guests in mind, the basement bathroom delivers a surprising experience inspired by bathrooms in the finest restaurants. A cylindrical basin was installed on the floor in front of a partition mirror, hiding the facilities, in a space with a theatrical feel that opens onto the staircase and faces the illuminated wine cellar.
With an entire wall of windows facing the backyard, the kitchen and dining room take advantage of both the abundant natural light and direct contact with the outdoors. Planned with formal entertaining and gourmet meal preparation in mind, the kitchen successfully combines elegance and functionality. It is organized around a large white marble island with matte black cabinets, for a minimalist look. Detached on all sides and raised from the floor by thin steel legs, the island enhances the feeling of spaciousness in the room. Perfectly integrated concealed doors offer the possibility of hiding or revealing a second countertop, which can be accessed on both sides.
The carefully restored facade facing the street rivals the elegance of the back facade, which is entirely made up of windows and opens onto the backyard. These facades reflect the interior of the home and provide continuity, both in terms of the materials used and the graphic effects created.
La SHED was established when architect associates Sébastien Parent, Yannick Laurin and Renée Mailhot decided to team up. “The studio is dedicated to a new type of architectural relationship, where to call an architect would scarcely be stranger than hiring an accountant – a relationship where conceiving your own living space would neither be a luxury nor would it be utopic,” says the firm in a news release.