As the founder of Shan, the internationally acclaimed swimwear company, Chantal Levesque made sure to include a swimming pool in the plans for the five-bedroom, 6,000-square-foot home she helped design with Montreal architect Renée Daoust. Located on a thickly forested property near the Shan factory in Laval, Que., the open-concept home was completed in 2009 and has windows for walls, ensuring that the pool will be visible from every room. Access is from the main-floor living room, where the 55-year-old entrepreneur likes to relax after travelling around the world to distribute her Canadian-made swimwear to luxury department stores including Le Printemps in Paris, Harrods in London and El Corte Ingles in Spain. This glassy, modern space, her favourite part of the house, is where she entertains friends and watches movies with her three sons. "The room also allows me a relationship with nature," she says. "I watch the changing of the seasons outside my window."
"This painting is by my friend, the artist Corno. I have many paintings in my house by her, as well as works by my son, Nathan. I like having things by people I know. I don't think I can have a painting on my wall if I don't know the artist. I like the woman in the image. She has a lot of energy and confidence. She reminds me of my customers. I am inspired by that."
The leather couch and ottoman
"These are from Roche Bobois. I love them because they are comfortable and of very good quality. I also like that they are simple in their design. I don't like my furniture to be fussy, because I want to keep it a long time. I don't want the style to go out of fashion."
"This was Renée's design and she obsessed over it. She actually built it once then ripped it out and built it all over again. She wanted it to be exactly as she imagined: the most important sculpture in the house. We actually had a few arguments over it, because I kept telling her it was fine as it was. But she disagreed with me and stayed focused and in the end she was right. It is made from wood and metal and was spray-painted in an auto shop. It is striking and beautiful and can be seen from all over the house."
The rattan chairs
"I got these the first time I went to Kennebunk, in Maine. They remind me of the time when I used to travel for pleasure. Now I travel for business all the time and I am never free to shop for myself."
The lighting over the kitchen island
"I made this fixture myself, taking a simple white structure and adding lamp shades. I have travelled with it from house to house, always taking it with me. It represents my three sons."
"This was a gift from my lover, Jean- François Sigouin, who shares the home with me. He bought it for Valentine's Day from Latitude Nord in Montreal. I loved it because it's like a piece of art."
"This Italian marble, from the Amalfi coast, has the lines of the sea in it, so it's possible to see how long it had lain in the earth before it was quarried. I like it when something has a past and then a future in my home."