The Elmire project encompasses the impressive renovation carried out by La Firme within a condominium living area situated in the vibrant Plateau Mont-Royal district of Montreal. This district holds a significant place in history, having previously served as a textile mill and a Campbell’s soup factory. La Firme’s intervention has successfully transformed Elmire into a contemporary living space that aptly reflects the interests and desires of its residents.
La Firme has successfully achieved a harmonious balance between Elmire’s historical roots and its modern form by implementing a design approach that prioritizes the preservation of the building’s original architecture. The original structure, including the impressive BC fir timber beams, brick walls, and structural arches, has been left exposed, serving as a defining feature within the interior. These elements act as a counterbalance to the infusion of more modern elements by La Firme, such as the white oak construction that helps organize the space. The use of stone accents, along with the white oak, complements Elmire’s simple material palette.
A key aspect of the design process involved the incorporation of extruded volumes in the form of multifunctional White Oak building blocks. These blocks subtly frame the spaces and serve various purposes. For instance, one block houses the kitchen while also providing concealed space for a laundry room, a water closet, and a coffee nook with its own stainless-steel counter and integrated sink. In the loft area, an L-shaped configuration within another block accommodates a master bedroom, an en-suite bathroom, a multifunctional gallery, a conservatory, and a meditative space. Additionally, the white oak cabinets not only define the spaces within the condo but also offer ample storage space.
“We were able to take a space steeped in history and to mold it into something that respects its past, but which also lays the groundwork for its future,” explains Louis Béliveau, Lead Designer at La Firme. “Simultaneously, the design is informed by the personalities and lifestyles of the clients.”
Combining the clients’ passions for geology and the culinary arts, La Firme’s kitchen design features a unique labradorite granite countertop with a laser-cut bent stainless-steel counter, beautifully finished with white oak and Fenix panels. A slightly raised, split-level living room reveals breathtaking views of nearby Mont Royal, with a pull-out guest bed cleverly concealed in a custom drawer to complement the room’s functionality.
A preserved archway marks passage through to the loft area, where the multifunctional gallery and conservatory occupy a bright and open floor plan where the clients can indulge in their passions for contemporary art and music. The open spaces narrow and transition through another archway leading into the master bedroom and bathroom.
The cabinets in the master bedroom, skillfully designed by La Firme, serve a dual purpose. Apart from providing storage for clothing and linen, one of the cabinets also serves as a home for the clients’ private wine collection. Moving to the adjacent bathroom, which predominantly features tiles, a wall adorned with five slabs of book-matched Calacatta verde marble adds an extra touch of opulence.
The veins of the marble are meticulously aligned to create a subtle geometric pattern, further enhancing the luxurious ambiance. In line with La Firme’s approach of blending the old with the new, a band of glass blocks has been incorporated as a functional retro reference to 1980s design. This clever addition allows natural light from the gallery space to gracefully illuminate the room.
“Our approach extends beyond aesthetics, with a focus on practicality woven into each design decision that we make,” adds Mr. Béliveau. “For instance, the decision to use oak blocks was a response to our vision for creating a compressed entrance space that would unfold to reveal the grandeur of the interior.”
Beyond traditional, La Firme’s transformation of Elmire is a thoughtful reimagination of space, history, and modernity that raises the bar in terms of architectural renovation.
“Elmire stands as a testament to our unique design philosophy of projects informed by personality,” concludes Louis Béliveau. “It also distinguishes itself as a model of how modern living can be fully integrated into Montreal‘s rich historical fabric.”