Springtime brings about not only seasonal changes, but opportunities for home renovation projects. Canada’s season changes are better enjoyed from a home that carries an old charm while flaunting spirited modern upgrades. Within a suburban Montreal neighborhood, this bright home was built by the owner’s father in the 1960s and its heirloom features were respectfully dressed in modern skin. According to its architects, NatureHumaine, “the original house lacked natural light and had a series of closed rooms surrounding a central stair.” Now known as the Closse Residence, the old structure shines brightly renovated and brings a bit of modern sparkle to its neighborhood.
“The first move was to open the south facade with large glazed patio doors. Removing the original partitions let the light penetrate deeply into the house. A new sculptural stair built of hot rolled steel, maple veneer, and frosted glass becomes the focal point of the house. The counter of the central island in the kitchen cantilevers 2.4 meters out from the cabinets becoming the dining table, uniting preparation and eating spaces. Two pivoting glass doors close off the entry creating a winter vestibule. The immense stone fireplace was conserved and restored. It’s textured materiality contrasts with the purity of the new elements. The exterior of the house was restored and repainted and the windows were replaced. A contemporary dormer was added to the roof of the house containing the two second floor bathrooms.”
Knowing how to budget for a home renovation makes it easy to completely transform a home from dark & outdated to modern & fresh. An inherited home can be beautifully renovated, opening up interior spaces and capturing all the interior movement around a sculptural stair, as in this example of a modern dream home. This particular Canadian home photographed by Adrien Williams exhibits simplicity and brightness in an exemplary mixture.
The best architects can create designs which will give clients and the public things they didn’t even realise they wanted, and this is especially important when architects are given the difficult brief of creating structures in much-loved, iconic areas.
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests