Montreal’s Plateau Mont Royal neighborhood serves as a repository of early 20th-century stone duplexes that bespeak a rich architectural history. One such jewel in this treasure trove is the Lanaudière Residence—a home transformed by the combined expertise of Michael Godmer Studio and Dany Durand Courchesne Architecte. More than a mere makeover, this renovation carries an emotional weight as the owners inherited it from family, imbuing the house with generational memories. The final work successfully navigates the delicate balance of respecting architectural history, fulfilling practical needs, and adding a dash of modernity.
Lanaudière Residence Technical Information
- Architects: Michael Godmer Studio + Durand Courchesne Architecte
- Location: Montreal, Canada
- Topics: House Renovations
- Area: 1,575 ft2
- Completion Year: 2022
- Photographs: © Maxime Brouillet
Above all, it was essential to preserve the building’s memories and history, since the client inherited the house from her mother. A simple approach was chosen that allowed us to maximize the existing floorspace, so that the owners, in their 30s, and their two dogs can enjoy the space for many years to come.– Michael Godmer Studio + Durand Courchesne Architecte
Lanaudière Residence Photographs
Preserving Heritage, Maximizing Space
One of the prime directives for the renovation was the preservation of the home’s legacy. Inherited by the current owners from their mother, the residence bore not just bricks and mortar but memories and histories that the designers were keen to respect. To ensure the longevity of this multi-generational home, Michael Godmer and Dany Durand Courchesne chose a simple approach that could maximize the existing 1,575 square feet of floor space, making it comfortable for a young couple in their 30s and their two canine companions.
Initial consultations indicated the need to revamp storage solutions and update the kitchen and furnishings. Though an ambitious plan to dig out the basement was discarded, the project found its true north in an alternative path—incorporating the second-floor unit into the home. This approach honored the building’s structural constraints while meeting the original requirements of the design brief.
The layout of the ground floor was redesigned to preserve the original structural elements while effectively compartmentalizing the space. Two distinct volumes were created—one housing storage, a powder room, and a secondary kitchen near the entrance, and another that encompassed the living room. The central hallway, echoing the home’s original floor plan, serves as a thematic conduit. The design language speaks in whispers of white oak trim, stone-textured tile, and limewash paint—a combination that feels both welcoming and profoundly personal.
In designing the interior spaces, contrasting elements were woven together to produce a harmonious living environment. The staircase, a central fixture in the home, received a facelift with new stair treads made of oiled white oak, bridging the aesthetic transition from the ground floor to the private spaces on the second floor. The terracotta-colored glass screens in the primary bedroom and en-suite bathroom add a touch of vibrancy while maintaining a visual and thematic link.
Recognizing the owners’ desire for a more open feel, a triple sliding door on the ground floor dramatically enhances the flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. The door leads to a raw concrete slab that seamlessly extends under a second-floor balcony in true Montreal fashion. The redesign also replaced the original spiral staircase leading to the balcony with a newly built railing, recreating the original black wrought iron for historical accuracy.
Even amidst the bustling urban backdrop, the residence manages to carve out a private haven through a fence made of vertical natural cedar boards. By balancing new elements with original architectural features such as antique wood furnishings, exposed brick, and wood-framed windows, the authenticity of the space is carefully preserved.
In an era where architectural identity can easily be lost to the whims of modernity, the Lanaudière Residence stands as a monument to the enduring legacy of timeless design. Through its meticulous planning and execution, Michael Godmer Studio and Durand Courchesne Architecte have successfully straddled the past and the future.
Lanaudière Residence Plans
Lanaudière Residence Image Gallery
About Michael Godmer Studio
Michael Godmer Studio, founded by designer Michael Godmer in 2017, specializes in the renovation of residential period buildings and creates spaces that harmonize the history of a place with the lives of its inhabitants.
About Durand Courchesne
Founded in 2017, Durand Courchesne is an architectural firm known for its contemporary and minimalist approach. Specializing in both residential and commercial projects, the firm aims to create simple, sensible, and timeless designs, guided by Courchesne’s own multidisciplinary experience and commitment to architectural excellence.
Notes & Additional Credits
- Design Team: Michael Godmer, Catherine C. Lavallée and Dany Durand Courchesne
- Structural engineer: Ma-Th – Solutions d’ingénierie