It only takes four decades for 1980s charm to devolve into 2020s cringe. After purchasing an appealingly spacious yet woefully outdated home on Montreal’s south shore, a growing family enlisted Ménard Dworkind (MRDK) to complete a renovation of architect Frank McGrath’s original 1981 design. The end result is a skillful ’80s revival, maintaining due respect for the past while also addressing key aspects that hadn’t quite kept with the times.

A before and after GIF of the front facade of a Montreal home renovation by Ménard Dworkind. The front greenhouse was removed and a portion of the roof was removed to introduce a boxy new volume.

Chief among these obsolete elements was the front facade’s bulky, run-down greenhouse — a feature that made the building particularly unpopular with the street’s other residents. An unusable attic space off the main bedroom was another area in need of some serious attention.

The back facade of a Montreal home renovation by Ménard Dworkind, featuring a sunken basement courtyard.

In turn, MRDK’s efforts focused on stripping away both of these underperforming zones to bolster both the home’s functionality and its curb appeal. The concrete foundation of the original greenhouse now frames a large window-well that extends down to light the basement office. Continuing its optimization of underground space, the firm also excavated a portion of the backyard to create a sunken courtyard that walks out from the basement den.

The main bath of a Montreal home renovation by Ménard Dworkind, featuring extra-high clerestory windows.
The main bath of a Montreal home renovation by Ménard Dworkind, featuring extra-high clerestory windows.

Upstairs, meanwhile, MRDK lifted a portion of the roof to introduce a boxy new volume that houses the 4.27-metre-high principal bathroom and walk through closet.

A large lime plaster partition encloses a fireplace in the living room of a Montreal home renovation by Ménard Dworkind.
A lime plaster staircase curls into a large volume that contains a fireplace in the living room of a Montreal home renovation by Ménard Dworkind.

Along with these major architectural moves, the studio also reconsidered the home’s other main interior living spaces, introducing more natural light, higher ceilings and plenty of storage space — not to mention a few impactful focal points. To wit, the grand new staircase’s lime plaster handrail curls into a curved volume that frames the double-height living room’s central hearth. Clad in triangular Mutina tiles in an earthy red, this fireplace culminates in a fun zig zag just above the wide-plank wood flooring.

A travertine kitchen island with a strip of red marble running down the side in a Montreal home renovation by Ménard Dworkind.
A travertine kitchen island and backsplash in a Montreal home renovation by Ménard Dworkind.

The kitchen, for its part, is anchored by its own sculptural standout: a travertine island that features an inverted demi-bullnose edge countertop, as well as inset “racing stripe” strips of Rosso Levanto — originally a clever way to disguise a groove that resulted from a fabrication error, but now an artistic element in its own right.

A travertine kitchen backsplash slides away to reveal an enclosed pantry in a Montreal home renovation by Ménard Dworkind.

Despite the kitchen’s calm demeanour, the space is not oblivious to the realities of life with a young family, either — it just keeps all the chaos and clutter tucked cleverly out of sight. A roomy pantry built behind the travertine backsplash provides storage space for dry goods and bulky appliances that might otherwise crowd the countertop. And when it comes time for baking, a portion of the backsplash slides into a wall pocket to reveal a passthrough opening that makes it easy to move things between the two zones. What a perfect encapsulation of a renovation that so gracefully harmonizes two different time periods.

The post MRDK Digs Deep To Reinvent an ’80s Home on Montreal’s South Shore appeared first on Azure Magazine.

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