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    YSG designs playful Sydney penthouse for empty nesters

    Australian studio YSG has added quirky fixtures and furnishings to this penthouse in Sydney’s Darlinghurst neighbourhood to suit the owners’ new post-lockdown design tastes.

    Drawing on references from tiled Spanish tapas bars to the colour palette of surrealist artworks, YSG gutted the apartment’s formerly “sober” interior to make way for a bolder fit-out.
    A fluffy armchair decorates the lounge of the Dream Weaver penthouseThe owners’ newfound freedom as empty nesters, alongside the lifestyle changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, played a key part in their wish for more aesthetically striking living quarters, according to YSG.
    “The past year of being sequestered at home amplified their desire for individual expression and more colourful injections regarding final furnishing selections,” the studio explained.
    “As consummate entertainers, they also requested conversational custom pieces.”

    Slabs of blue lapis lazuli stone clad the kitchen prep counterThe living room is now dressed with thick pile rugs, purple patchwork sofas and a shaggy pink armchair.
    A zingy pop of colour is provided by a trio of Murano glass floor lamps with contrasting transparent and metallic gold stripes. Nearby, a sliding door was inset with a matching amber-tinted porthole.
    Lapis lazuli is also incorporated into the custom drinks trolleyAlmost-black cabinetry was fitted in the adjacent kitchen alongside a backlit steel-framed shelf, which YSG said helps to display the owners’ tableware with “museum-like finesse”.
    The space is anchored by a blocky prep counter clad in purposely mismatched lapis lazuli stone slabs. A sculptural white breakfast bar is fitted with a rotating granite platter, on which the owners can present cheese and canapes when guests are over.
    A plum-red bed centres the principal bedroomJust beyond the kitchen is a dining area complete with a wooden table that was made bespoke by YSG and local industrial designer Adam Goodrum.
    There’s also a custom drinks trolley that features a worktop and handles made from the same blue lapis lazuli stone that covers the prep counter.
    At the back of the space is a wall overlaid with glossy off-white Moroccan tiles that reflect light around the room.

    YSG carries out tactile overhaul of Budge Over Dover house in Sydney

    A similar medley of materials and colours can be found in the principal bedroom, which was extended out onto the penthouse’s terrace to make space for a study nook and walk-in wardrobe.
    At the heart of the room is a bespoke wood-veneer bed frame stained in plum red and topped with a Calacatta Viola marble headboard. Berry-hued pendant lights are suspended at different heights directly overhead.
    The adjoining en-suite bathroom features an onyx stone surroundIn the ensuite bathroom, the studio installed a panel of veiny onyx that winds its way around the shower cubicle and beneath a row of mirrored vanity cabinets, at which point it turns into a ledge with two integrated sinks.
    Similar stone fixtures were created in the guest bathroom and the moodier main bathroom, which is entirely clad in deep indigo tiles.
    Indigo tiles create a moodier feel in the family bathroomAround the terrace, YSG added a number of large potted plants and succulents to keep the outdoor area out of sight from neighbouring properties.
    The space is dressed with blue furnishings that create a visual link to the waters of Rushcutter Bay, which can be seen in the distance.
    Tall plants provide privacy to the penthouse’s terraceYSG was established in 2020 and is led by designer Yasmine Saleh Ghoniem.
    The studio has completed a number of projects in its hometown of Sydney, including a family house with tactile interiors and a moody gin bar featuring black walls and juniper berry-blue furnishings.
    The photography is by Prue Ruscoe.
    Project credits:
    Design: YSGStyling: Felicity NgBuilding: Promena Projects

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    Light and Air updates Financial District apartment with open floor plan

    Brooklyn studio Light and Air has renovated a loft in New York City’s financial district by removing partitions to create an open, inviting space.

    Occupying the 12th storey of a converted commercial building in one of Manhattan’s historic neighbourhoods, the apartment has generous windows and floor area, but previously made poor use of these qualities and felt cramped.
    The apartment occupies the 12th storey of a Manhattan building”The existing conditions stifled the unit’s access to light and air,” said the design team. The owners tapped Shane Neufeld, of  Brooklyn-based Light and Air Studio, to rethink the space.
    “The space featured a low-hanging storage loft that hovered over the entry and a sprawling closet that loudly commanded the center of the space, disrupting any potential for meaningful visual connections,” said Neufeld.
    It was updated to have an open floor plan”Our goal was to maintain the functionality of the storage loft while creating a more generous entry and rethinking the programming and materiality of the apartment in its entirety,” the designer added.

    The team removed many of the apartment’s internal walls and reduced the footprint of the overhead storage loft to allow taller ceilings. Within the reconfigured welcome area, custom closets, shelving, and a sculptural wooden bench provide plenty of storage, some behind a slatted wooden wall.
    A minimal material palette was used throughoutLight and Air also updated the flooring in this area, marking the transition between the concrete of the building’s corridors and the apartment’s hardwood. The polished concrete is also found in the kitchen and bathroom.
    Within the 1,200 square-foot (111-square-metre) apartment, Light and Air partitioned the space using open shelving, allowing some perspectives to stay open between the living room and bedroom.
    Custom desks were built into the space”Our strategy took the shape of an open floor plan with minimal partitions and reducing the existing material complexity through a more straightforward approach,” said Neufeld.
    The living and dining room is positioned in the corner of the unit and has windows facing in two different directions.
    “Two exterior walls with multiple southeast and southwest exposures allow for significant natural light and impressive views of lower Manhattan,” said Neufeld.

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    These spaces were connected to the kitchen, which remained in the same location, but was updated with matching cabinetry, new appliances, and an additional sink that provides more functionality.
    Throughout the apartment, the designers employed a minimal palette. The walls have no base moulding, there is flush cabinetry, and custom, built-in desks.
    Wood takes centre stage in the project”As one moves in and around the different elements (some floating effortlessly off the ground), its functional variety and formal character become more readily apparent,” Neufeld concluded.
    Light and Air studio, also known as L/AND/A, was founded in 2017. The firm also designed a townhouse in Brooklyn, with a skylight illuminating a central staircase.
    Other New York City apartment renovations include a “minimal but warm” apartment that was designed by Selma Akkari and Rawan Muqaddas, and a loft on Broadway that local studio Worrell Yeung reconfigured to meet the needs of a growing family.
    The photography is by Kevin Kunstadt.

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    Park Slope condo becomes New York City's “largest mass-timber building”

    Local studio Mesh Architectures has completed Timber House, a condominium in Brooklyn that developer The Brooklyn Home Company claims is “the largest mass timber building in New York City.”

    Timber House is made of glue-laminated timber, a type of structurally engineered wood used to make mass timber structures, and is the largest mass-timber project in New York City in terms of square footage and height, according to The Brooklyn Home Company.
    It is also the first condominium project in the city to be built using mass timber, the developer said.
    The building has 14 condos”Timber House started with the simple notion of creating a sense of life in a building, which engages, stimulates, and at the same time, calms us,” said Eric Lifton, founder and principal of Mesh Architectures.
    “The way we do that here is by using a plant as the primary building material.”

    The building’s columns, beams and floor plates are all mass timber, while the core had to be made of concrete masonry because of city restrictions, the studio said.
    The apartments stretch across the length of the structureTimber House is located in the residential Park Slope neighbourhood in Brooklyn and comprises 14 condos that stretch from the street-side to the back of the building.
    According to Mesh Architectures, the building was “constructed with passive house principles”.
    While not passive-house certified, it was built with solar photovoltaic panels on the roof to provide energy, and mineral wool and polyisocyanurate insulation to reduce the need for air conditioning.
    Heating and air conditioning is provided by air-source heat pumps.
    The building was developed in collaboration with The Brooklyn Home CompanyIt also features passive house-quality windows with triple glazing, and the 10 parking spaces in its ground-floor garage each have an electric charging station.
    The building’s facade is characterized by a flat face made with Danish brick that, according to the team, was chosen to integrate the building into the mostly brownstone neighbourhood.
    On the upper levels, the envelope is sculpted into jutting windows and recessed balconies with glass railings. The balconies’ undersides are wooden, giving the exterior palette a touch of the timber within.
    The floors are also made of woodA rooftop terrace provides views of Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan.
    Inside, wooden walls and ceilings line the corridors, which have hexagonal tiling on the floor that was designed custom by Mesh and produced in Turkey.
    The condos have 11-feet-tall (3.3 metres-tall) ceilings and feature exposed timber beams with LED lights that are integrated directly into the wood.

    The Dezeen guide to mass timber in architecture

    The timber beams also extend down from the ceiling to frame some of the walls and windows, providing insight into the building’s structural makeup.
    “The exposed wooden beams present in the home create a style reminiscent of city living in the 1960s and ’70s when we picture those large loft-style residences, which is really special,” said Bill Caleo of The Brooklyn Home Company.
    “As a city, if we want to lower our carbon footprint we need to prioritize mass timber.”
    In addition to the ceiling and beams the condos have wooden accentsFlooring in the living areas is wood, while the kitchen is floored with white tile to match the white cabinetry – accented with natural wood tones – and a long, white island.
    Other recently-announced designs for mass timber structures include the world’s tallest timber building designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen and a Henning Larsen-designed Volvo experience centre in Sweden.
    The photography is by Travis Mark. 

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    Daytrip transforms east London terrace house into understated apartments

    Design studio Daytrip has taken a less-is-more approach to the renovation and extension of this Victorian terrace house in London’s Clapton, which is now home to three separate apartments.

    The 250-square-metre Reighton Road development was designed as a “minimalist sanctuary” that could act as a blank canvas for residents’ belongings.
    A two-bedroom flat takes over Reighton Road’s ground floor and two basement levels (top and above)”A good home should be flexible and speak of its owners,” explained Hackney-based Daytrip. “The ability to cultivate and populate it over time with art, objects and personal items makes the home unique.”
    The largest of the flats has two bedrooms and takes over the building’s ground floor as well as two new subterranean levels, which are illuminated by a number of lightwells.
    Another apartment is self-contained on the building’s first floor and a third occupies the second floor and a new loft extension.

    Walls in the apartment’s kitchen are finished with tadelakt plasterIn the bottom apartment, the first basement floor accommodates a pair of spacious bedrooms, both of which were finished with poured concrete floors.
    Below that, the second subterranean level is meant to serve as a versatile studio-like space, where the residents can do home workouts or indulge in artsy hobbies.
    The kitchen’s rear wall is finished with grey bricksThe ground floor houses the apartment’s main living spaces including a new kitchen suite with handleless alabaster-white cabinetry.
    Save for a grey brick wall at the rear of the room, surfaces were washed with creamy tadelakt – a traditional lime-based plaster from Morocco.
    “It’s a purposely minimal and subdued kitchen, reserving the chaos to the cooking,” the studio said.
    The living room features white-oiled oak flooring and restored cornicingAt the front of the kitchen are wide glass doors that can be slid back to access the garden.
    London-based landscape design studio Tyler Goldfinch was brought in to give the paved outdoor space a wild, textured look using tiered planters overspilling with different types of grasses.
    There is also a silver birch tree surrounded by a circular bed of pebbles.

    Daytrip digs beneath east London townhouse to create contemporary living spaces

    Unlike the rest of the apartment, the living room was finished with white-oiled oak flooring while the ceiling’s original cornicing was restored. These same features also appear throughout the other two apartments on the upper floors.
    To create a sense of cohesion, all three flats were styled by East London galleries Beton Brut and Modern Art Hire, which carefully curated a mix of Italian and Japanese furnishings for the development.
    The other apartments on the upper floors also feature white-oiled oak flooringMany of the pieces were crafted from velvet, boucle or raw timber, bringing a sense of warmth and tactility to the interiors.
    With this aim, all of the bathrooms were also finished with tadelakt walls and limestone floors.
    All furnishings were selected by Beton Brut and Modern Art HireThis is the second residential project in Clapton from Daytrip founders Iwan Halstead and Emily Potter.
    In 2020, the duo overhauled a five-storey townhouse in the east London district by turning its dated 1970s-style rooms into serene white-washed living spaces.
    The photography is by Jake Curtis.

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    Amity Street Residence is a “minimal but warm” New York apartment

    Interior design studios Rawan Muqaddas and Selma Akkari have renovated an apartment in a 20th-century building in Brooklyn, New York, adding warm and natural materials to the residential space.

    Amity Street Residence is located on the fourth floor of a stone building that was built in 1910, overlooking a quiet but central corner of the city at the intersection of Amity and Clinton street.
    Amity Street Residence has been renovated into an open plan apartment. Photo by Clement PascalNew York studio Selma Akkari collaborated with London studio Rawan Muqqadas on the 1,400 square-foot interiors, which have been updated from a “neglected” apartment into a space filled with warm colours.
    As part of the renovation, the studios rearranged the rooms to create space for an additional third bedroom if required.
    Rawan Muqaddas collaborated with Selma Akkari to create a warm interior”A dialogue of opposites was the main theme behind the creation; minimal but warm, understated yet rich,” said Rawan Muqaddas, founder of eponymous studio Rawan Muqaddas.

    “We wanted to retain the essence of the 1910 building by reinterpreting the original traditional details, which we were excited to build on,” she told Dezeen.
    “The previous owners of the apartment called this their home for decades, leaving behind layers of history and some areas that were left neglected.”
    Stained oak shelves line the back of the dining areaThe two studios transformed the single floor apartment into an open-plan living, kitchen and dining area. A handful of original features, such as the decorative cornice and bold skirting, were preserved.
    The living space now boasts views across the street from the two large bay windows, which had previously been obscured.
    Cream coloured paint lines the walls. Photo by Clement Pascal”The first thing that caught our eye was the 30-foot apartment frontage composed of the width across both bay windows,” recalled Muqaddas.
    “As it stood, the windows felt shy and in hiding; we wanted to do the opposite and celebrate the curve.”
    Large bay windows were made into a focal pointFloors in the apartment have been covered in warm wood, while the walls were painted in a creamy neutral colour. A couple of contemporary chairs frame the window and let the inhabitants enjoy the street views.
    “A warm colour palette was deployed to unify the spaces by way of gentle oak floors, cream-hued walls that contrasted with dark stone, and stained wood inset bookshelves,” said Selma Akkari, founder of Selma Akkari.
    A study area sits at the back of the room and could easily be swapped for a third bedroom if necessary, the designers said.

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    The studios also retained the apartment’s curved interior arches that run through its core. These openings help create a feeling of space.
    “To encourage a dialogue between the interior and exterior, we wanted to carry through the historic curved facade into the curved interior arches,” Akkari told Dezeen.
    “This was the guiding theme throughout the process: opening up the front area as the living and dining space and dedicating the quieter area to the more private spaces at the back.”
    The apartment has oak flooringThe apartment now has an airy aluminium-clad kitchen with an island counter and a long marble shelf in place of overhead storage cabinets.
    “We were very attracted to contrasting and unexpected colours and textures, in particular, the brushed metal counter topped with a veiny marble, with a backdrop of dark smoked oak shelving,” said Akkari.
    The same warm palette is continued in the bedrooms. Photo by Clement PascalThe warm material palette continues in the master bedroom and second bedroom, where the same flooring and beige furnishings can be found.
    More Brooklyn interiors include a townhouse with a striking staircase by New York studio Space4Architecture and a family-friendly townhouse called Bed-Stuy by Brooklyn studio Civilian.
    Photography is by Sean Davidson unless stated otherwise.

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    Maison Pour Dodo by Studio Merlin is a north London flat with a “spectrum of storage”

    Studio Merlin has revamped a Stoke Newington flat for its founder, Josh Piddock, by incorporating an abundance of storage to form serene, clutter-free living spaces.

    The project’s nickname, Maison Pour Dodo – which loosely translates from French to “house for sleep” – was inspired by Piddock’s desire for a tidy, restful home that had little material noise.
    To achieve this brief, Studio Merlin decided to install a range of storage throughout the two-floor flat that could comfortably accommodate Piddock’s and his girlfriend’s belongings.
    A tall bookshelf has been erected in the living area”The ‘spectrum of storage compression’ idea was taken from previous work assessing museum collections where some objects are in dense storage and others are on display and readily accessible,” explained Piddock, who founded Studio Merlin in 2020.
    “We all filter and organise to some degree and the answer is more cupboards and shelves, but specifically repurposed for a domestic setting,” he added.

    “The real principle is of auditing one’s possessions to create a hierarchy between household articles that reflect their value, favour and practical needs on a daily basis.”
    An opening looks through to the kitchenOne of the first rooms Studio Merlin tackled was the flat’s living and dining area, where a large floor-to-ceiling shelf has been erected to hold the inhabitants’ collection of books and ornaments.
    At the heart of the space is a plump blue sofa by Muuto, which directly faces onto a wall where the inhabitants will project tv shows and movies. This solution was chosen instead of a television to avoid the space becoming “dominated by consumer electronics”.
    The room’s warm, plaster-coloured surfaces and pale Douglas fir floorboards are also meant to add to the calming ambience.
    The cabinetry features smoke-blue cupboards fronts from ReformA newly created opening looks through to the kitchen, where there’s a wall of deep-set IKEA cabinets with smokey blue door fronts from Danish brand Reform.
    Matching low-lying cabinets run along the other side of the room, topped by a concrete counter from Caesarstone where food can be prepared.
    In the corner of the kitchen, there’s also a small seating nook above which are a series of open, pantry-style shelves where the owner can display jars of cooking ingredients.
    Blue paint forms a faux balustrade in the stairwellA paint in a similar shade of blue as the kitchen cabinetry has been applied on the white walls of the apartment’s stairwell to form a faux balustrade.
    Stairs on the first-floor landing are fitted with what the studio describes as “in and out storage”, designed to hold day-to-day essentials that inhabitants need to grab before heading out the door.
    An arched cut-out leads to the cat’s litter trayThe second-floor landing houses more storage cupboards, one of which has been punctuated with an arched cut-out through which Piddock’s cat can access its litter tray.
    There’s also a small study nook for working-from-home days, complete with a desk and Douglas fir stool.
    A small study nook offers a place for inhabitants to take work callsThis second level of the home accommodates the sleeping quarters. In the principal bedroom, built-in wardrobes help to neatly conceal the inhabitants’ clothes.
    Douglas fir offcuts have also been used by the studio to fashion custom curved bedside tables, where books and other trinkets can be tucked away.
    Built-in wardrobes conceal clutter in the bedroomPart of the original bedroom was sectioned off to allow space for a tub in the adjacent bathroom, which features terrazzo-style flooring and gold-tone hardware.
    Storage has been considered here, too – above the toilet is a series of vanity cabinets that have been made to sit flush against the room’s dark green walls.
    “The effect is a composed space where each thing has a home; sometimes concealed, densely packed and understated, others as pride of place, carefully curated and easily physically or visually accessible,” concluded Piddock.
    The bathroom subtly incorporates more storageLondon’s trendy Stoke Newington neighbourhood is host to a number of design-focused homes.
    Others include Two and a Half Storey House, which has an extension that’s hidden from the street, and Gallery House, which features a huge storage wall where the owner can display his personal collection of ceramics and glassware.
    Photography is by Richard Chivers.
    Project credits:
    Architect and interior design: Studio MerlinEngineer: Elliott WoodMain contractor: H Quality Construction

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    Fettle designs apartment block The Gessner to resemble a private members' club

    Interiors studio Fettle took cues from hospitality spaces when fitting out this contemporary residential block in London, which houses 164 apartments alongside a co-working area and an in-house cafe.

    Managed by property developer Way of Life, The Gessner is set in a former pencil factory in the rapidly regenerating industrial area of Tottenham Hale.
    The Gessner’s lounge doubles up as a workspace for residentsFettle created refined and cohesive interiors for the development, informed by its experience in designing hotels such as The Hoxton in Boston and Schwan Locke in Munich
    “Most of our work as a company currently is hotel-based, so we have a strong understanding of what makes these kinds of spaces special,” co-founder Andy Goodwin told Dezeen.
    There’s also a cafe inside the apartment block”A lot of the other commercial clients we work with are aiming to achieve a very layered, somewhat residential feel to their spaces so there is a lot of overlap,” he continued.

    “We utilised many of the same suppliers we use within members clubs, hotels and restaurant projects.”
    As well as apartments, The Gessner includes guest suites for temporary visitorsAfter coming through the ground floor entrance of The Gessner, residents arrive at a lobby that’s richly furnished with sofas, patterned armchairs and a mix of vivid artworks curated by art consultant Kate Anniss.
    During the day this area serves as a communal workspace, while in the evenings it can be used as an oversized living room where residents can convene and chat.
    Nearby, there’s a cafe with wood-lined walls, tan leather seating and a terrazzo service counter inlaid with orange aggregate.

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    Furnishings and fabrics found on The Gessner’s ground floor are also incorporated throughout the apartments, which are available furnished or unfurnished, as well as in a pair of guest suites located on the building’s 13th floor.
    These can be reserved by residents who have friends and family coming to visit, or by other travellers hoping to stay in the area.
    Residents can make meals in the building’s communal kitchenThe 13th floor plays host to a number of other communal facilities, which were designed to encourage socialising among residents.
    This includes a large dining room and kitchen with wooden cabinetry and a greenery-filled gantry that stores pots and pans.
    The kitchen adjoins a private dining roomThere’s also a lounge and a spacious outdoor terrace complete with sun loungers, beach-style umbrellas and a BBQ station set beneath a shady pergola, where residents can while away the warmer summer months.
    “One of the key things with both hotels and apartment buildings is having some synergy between the public and private spaces, which was successful at The Gessner as they feel like a continuation of each other,” Goodwin said.
    Residents can also make use of The Gessner’s roof terraceFettle was established in 2013 by Andy Goodwin and Tom Parker.
    The Gessner isn’t the only project to come from the studio this year. Last month, the duo finished work on The Malin, a homely co-working space in New York with loft-style interiors.
    The images are courtesy of Way of Life. 

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    La Firme reorganises centuries-old Montreal loft with contemporary finishes

    Montreal architecture studio La Firme has reorganised an apartment in a 1800s textile mill, using cabinetry to shape the new interior configuration.

    The Elmire Condo was completed for a young couple in Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal area.
    “This project took a space in a mid-19th century building that’s been a textile mill, a Campbell’s soup factory, and finally a condo complex,” said La Firme, a local studio whose name means simply The Firm.
    The apartment is located Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal areaLa Firme left much of the original structure exposed, including tall, rough-hewn timber beams and brick walls with structural arches as passages between rooms.
    According to the studio, these original elements serve as a “counterpoint” to their intervention, which consists of a series of white oak cabinets that delineate that redefine the rooms, while offering an abundance of storage for the owners.

    La Firme left structural arches and brickwork exposed”These contrasting elements organise the space into a rectangular area for the kitchen and salon, and an L-shaped loft for the master bedroom and bath, with a combination gallery, conservatory and meditative space,” said La Firme.
    The studio was able to include two bathrooms as part of the renovation: one for guests and the other within the primary bedroom. Plenty of stone is used throughout the apartment, reflecting the owner’s passion for geology.
    The apartment features a raised salonWithin the ensuite bathroom, a wall is finished in Calcatta marble that was bookmatched to create a subtle geometric pattern with the veins of the stone. “Natural light comes in from the gallery space through a band of glass blocks, in a wink to 1980s condo design,” La Firme explained.
    The long kitchen countertop sits partially at bar-height, then transitions to table height due to a step in the apartment floor. “The kitchen embodies [the client’s] love of minerals and culinary passion,” said La Firme.

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    “Quebec’s geological richness is brought inside with the island countertop, a slab of Labradorite granite that extends into a table on a raised platform,” they added.
    Beyond the kitchen is the salon, which is raised a few steps higher, and enjoys clear views of the city’s Mont Royal. Within these steps, the architects included a concealed pull-out bed for guests.
    Contemporary elements contrast with the centuries-old buildingOpposite the kitchen is a counter with drawers offering flexible storage or a place to work from home.
    Through the brick arches is the conservatory, a secondary living area separated from the combined living room and kitchen.
    Two bathrooms are included in the renovation”The gallery/conservatory is the loft area’s raison d’être,” La Firme explained. “Bright and open, it puts on display the clients’ other great loves: an impressive collection of contemporary art and a space for playing music.”
    Besides the white oak cabinets and occasional stone accents, the architects kept to a relatively limited palette for the intervention.
    Other apartment renovations in Montreal include a 1920s unit that Naturehumaine renovated with curved walls and pale green cabinetry, and a residential extension wrapped in galvanised metal.
    The photography is by Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard.

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