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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.

Montreal apartment La Firme Exterior
The apartment is located Montreal's Plateau Mont-Royal area

La 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.

Exposed brickwork La Firme Monteral Apartment
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.

Raised salon
The apartment features a raised salon

Within 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.

"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.

Centuries-old apartment building
Contemporary elements contrast with the centuries-old building

Opposite 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.

Renovated bathroom
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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Montreal apartment
Montreal apartment
Montreal apartment
Montreal apartment
Montreal apartment
Montreal apartment
Montreal apartment
Montreal apartment