The Coachman’s House – The house, indeed, seemed not to be very great, even in the eyes of a little girl of 4 years. Nestled between two impressive properties of the chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine and at the end of a cul-140 pi, she seemed even more tiny. But Simone mom, Caroline Alder, much wanted this house, not least because of the challenge irresistible to make a home warm and comfortable for her family.
“When we bought it, 10 years ago, we immediately understood that this house was a stamp attractive, both by the atypical nature and modest property that by its scale, and the intimacy that it exuded. I loved the energy of the place”, she wrote to Ms Alder, the subject of her first impressions. Intrigued by so much enthusiasm, we agreed to visit her property.
The mansion, built in 1910, is a home check, or Carriage House, one of the few to have survived the passage of time. There remain only a few in Montreal. Most were built in the Nineteenth century, prior to the implementation of public transport. The coachmen kept their horse and buggy to the house and lived on the top floor.
The Coachman’s House
Surprise: At first glance, the house seems to actually lilliputienne if you compare it to its neighbors. But as soon as it has passed the threshold, the sensation vanishes. It is that Ms Alder and her husband, both architects, have changed the spaces and have added an extension that greatly increases the surface area of the house. “It was too small for our family, but I felt that it might be appropriate if it was.”
But, that said renovations and enlargements, said the possibility of denaturing the unique look of the property which had so much seduced. In this sense, the couple had requirements inflexible. “It was important that our interventions do not alter the original character of the façade.” In addition, he wanted to give as much as possible a second life to existing materials, integrating them in the renovations. Not for the sake of economy, since the costs of labor are often higher, but because it seemed foolish that materials that are still in good condition to take the path of a landfill.
Examples? The living room wall is an assembly of battens which were buried under a multitude of layers of paint and laid bare by the owners. They have also been used to manufacture the moldings and baseboards of the ground floor. The huge windows in the extension are from projects that are not successful on the manufacturer. “I initially chose the windows, and then I designed the expansion.” The couple has also privileged the ash for the wood parts rather than a different species in the hope of keeping in memory those trees that disappear because of the terrible disease which afflicts.
The interior doors come from merchants specialising in the recycling of materials. Mrs. Alder was chosen to match the age of the house. The floor of the house of Simone, on the floor, is made of strips recycled from the home of the parents of Mrs. Alder and an eco-centre. They are unequal both in colour and in the width. The result is charming.
Harmony: The recovered items are skillfully integrated into a contemporary setting, where the old meets harmoniously with the modern. The differences are attenuated by the homogeneity of colours and materials. But the quality of the elements, and the front door in mahogany with beautiful windows to the rear, is undeniable.
Ms. Alder has approached this development project as if it was his creative workshop. “Every little detail has been carefully studied and resolved. Nothing has been done in a hurry. In addition to the design, research of materials and project management, I have actively participated in the execution of the work alongside the entrepreneurs.” His workshop in the basement, a veritable Ali Baba’s cave of the handyman, in fact faith.
The family left its small home to move closer to the school of Simone, who is studying the violin. The dream of his mother: to find a new project that will require a lot of time and energy.