Les Sillages residence is residence is Appareil Architecture’s renovation project of a shoebox in Montreal’s Rosemont-Petite-Patrie neighbourhood. In order to offer a young family more space, Appareil Architecture reconfigured the interior of their home and added a second floor, all while respecting the identity of the small residential building and its early twentieth century architectural heritage.
The architects draw a clear line between the new and the existing by setting the second floor back from the front facade, all while leaving a prominent place for the original exterior, whose marquise has been refreshed and composition lightened. By choosing a spruce panelling to cover the extension, Appareil Architecture renews and distinguishes itself from the recent trend of metal sidings.
As a little working-class house from the beginning of the last century, the exterior architecture exudes simplicity, particularly through the materiality of the wooden attic and the language of the openings. The generous windows that line the front and the back facades harmonise the house’s exterior. Coherence and fluidity are also found in the treatment of the pathway from the inside to the outside of the residence: the terrace and the interior flooring, being at the same level, connect the courtyard to the dining room, while the railing of the staircase that continues on the balcony seems designed in a single gesture, like a leaf unfolding.
The ground floor is divided in two; the front side features the private spaces, and the other side sees the living spaces open onto the backyard. While the guest room, bathroom, office, and laundry room adopt a more classic configuration by each having their own space, the common areas are all open concept. The kitchen, living room, and dining room share the same space, but have been placed at different levels.
A set of two steps separate the kitchen and living room from the dining room, giving the impression that the first two spaces are sunken, much like a conversation pit. This adaptation gives an intimate character to the space while framing the view of the backyard. The wide openings to the outdoors prevent any feeling of being cramped, while the two-level treatment energizes the space and makes circulation to the new terrace more fluid.
This set of levels creates an upward journey from the entrance to the backyard, and from the ground floor to the second floor. As you enter further into the house, the spaces expand, all bathed in natural light thanks to the large windows in the dining room and the opening above the staircase, which occupies a quarter of the living space.
To connect the two floors, Appareil Architecture designed an elegant quarter-turn staircase with cherry wood steps, which are highlighted by the thin wall railing. The staircase frames part of the window opening; connecting the two floors and optimizing the entry of light.
As the couple both work from home, the space was to include separate workspaces. A closed office is situated on the ground floor, while an open workspace is nestled upstairs, adjoining the staircase, the glazed rear facade, and a small balcony perched in the air.
Upstairs, the bedrooms have been placed on the street side, though the use of a recessed volume offers privacy despite their large, beautiful windows. The panoramic windows in the master bedroom offer an immersive experience that is quite unusual in the city: by framing the view of the treetops, it gives the viewer the impression that they are surrounded by nature.
Both the parents’ and the child’s bedrooms are connected through a large bathroom. Featuring a large skylight to preserve privacy, this bathroom is bathed in natural light that illuminates and plays with the soothing hues of blue-green tiles lining the space. A ceramic band elegantly dresses the top of the walls like a white frieze. Appareil Architecture exudes creativity by playing with the materiality of ceramics like a tapestry. The language is the same for both bathrooms on the upper and lower floors; the latter using a beige-pink ceramic. The two bathrooms seduce with their refinement and minimalism.
As in many of its projects, Appareil Architecture has custom-designed the furniture, promoting consistency in the different spaces: from the entrance to the kitchen’s cabinets, through the bathroom vanity, the master bed, and the walk-in closet.
The warm shades of cherry wood for the floors and natural maple for the cabinetry — made by Tandem — give colour to the interiors. The blue-gray presence in the kitchen brings softness to the space, as well as a certain freshness. Appareil Architecture created a clear, refined, and comforting space with the Sillages residence.
True to its values, the architecture and design studio collaborates with local creators and materials, from wood to lighting. In the staircase sits the Parc luminaire from Lambert et Fils, while the rest of the lighting is from Luminaire Authentik.