Let’s start our new series about Montreal Makers with someone who literally builds something with his bare hands! Today we meet with Pierre-Olivier Houde (right) on his worksite of a Plateau Mont-Royal duplex building, being converted into a slick open-concept residence by his company Le Pierre Rénovation. He and his friends Shawn Welch and Yan Mercier managed to turn their initial hobby and passion into a real trade.
“Of course we started with small projects, renovating a room at a time. But the idea of converting a whole two-story duplex is far more interesting because it becomes our office for the duration of the contract. Materials and tools stay inside and every day, we meet up here to move forward with the plan”, explains Pierre-Olivier next to his electric saw bench, right in the middle of the future living room.
For this project, our renovators execute a concept and plans drafted by La Shed Architecture, well-known for their minimalistic and slick open-concepts.
“The final result will be very sharp and modern. The real challenge here compared to a new construction, is that we deal with a building that has history. Many layers of renovations and different occupants over the years have stacked on one another. Remove the floors and you suddenly realize that there are three previous ones under it!” Indeed all these Plateau Mont-Royal duplex and triplex have moved and “worked” with the passage of time. Something to give many headaches to OCD architects and developers trying to achieve pure lines.
Notice on our pictures how everything has been torn down in order to preserve only the shell and structure, allowing a lot of room for creativity by the architects. Below is a render of the dining room with the living room and staircase in the back. On the upper level, a mezzanine will overlook the living area and provide access to the master bedroom and bathroom. Two other bedrooms are also in the works.
This house is kind of a pilot project since the original duplex is owned by Pierre-Olivier and his girlfriend Véronique Gingras, an advertising copywriter. This will be their future palace and family residence. More and more of these conversion projects happen all over the Plateau, Rosemont and the Mile-Ex, thanks to boutique architecture firms, who focus on residential properties and tasteful home owners who appreciate it.
“Véronique and her communication skills and social networking abilities help a lot when it is time to showcase our work and projects online. In turn, it attracts like-minded potential customers who can appreciate the same design features and architectural vision. I would not be fulfilled by finishing cookie-cutter basements day in, day out. I need a challenge every time” tells us P-O, proud of what he’s doing.
Walking back to the car, photographer Justin Dallegret and I felt uplifted : “There’s something calming and noble in their craft. Some days I feel like I only ping-pong emails back and forth while these guys are actually building something tangible” said Justin. Such a wise man. We invite you to follow the adventures of Le Pierre Rénovation on their Facebook page and please keep submitting your projects and companies for our upcoming articles.