Canadian architect Natalie Dionne adds a black box extension to the back of a brick townhouse in Montreal, to provide more space for the kitchen and a balcony for the master bedroom. Conceived as a jewelry box, large openings blur the interior/exterior boundary, revealing its treasure of fine cabinetmaking work within through the playful use of complementary surface materials.
The addition is covered with large plates of iridescent, black fibre cemenHouset board, with a perforated motif for the loggia, finely assembled with matching rivets. In contrast, blond wood and light porcelain and ceramics, illuminate the interior.
When large windows fold open to incorporate the garden into the home, interior and exterior materials interact to connect spaces. Inside, oak wood paneling covers the walls and ceiling of the shed, while a lattice of western red cedar lines the exterior alcove. The slate slabs of the terrace adjoin the concrete-like porcelain floor of the kitchen. Heritage of the past, the original oak wood floor of the dining room, preserved and restored, set the tone. The kitchen island, made of solid oak, stands monumentally in the centre and serves as an altar to daily rituals. At the perimeter stands, more soberly, white or black furniture and cabinetry.
On the ground floor, blond oak paneling lines the walls, ceiling and cabinetry in the kitchen. A large island made from solid oak provides a focal point in the kitchen. Its long design provides ample countertop and eating space.
Upstairs, the addition has expanded the master bedroom, which includes ensuite bathroom, walk-in closet, and loggia. Another bedroom and an office are also found on this level.
This semi-detached townhouse, made of red clay brick, is typical of Westmount and the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough of Montreal. Through the reconfiguration of outdated internal divisions and the grafting of two black volumes in juxtaposition, the pre-existing architecture is enhanced and transformed to better reflect the modern lifestyle and aspirations of its inhabitants.
“We are always striving to strike the right balance between new and old in order to create a coherent whole, preserving the authenticity of the existing details while affirming the contemporaneity of our interventions,” said Natalie Dionne.
all images © Raphaël Thibodeau