2321 Avenue des Érables, No. 105, Montreal
Asking Price: $650,000
Monthly maintenance fees: $314
Taxes: $3,967 (2021)
Lot Size: 1,300 square feet
Agent: Jeff Lee Broker, Engel & Völkers Montréal Outremontxxxx
Sometimes in real estate you think you know what you want, and then you walk into a space that’s nothing like you imagined, but it is still somehow “the one.”
That’s the experience Isabelle Allard-Gendron had in 2018 when she first bought the loft-style condo apartment on Avenue des Érables. “We wanted to visit a bunch of places, but it was the first one we visited and I completely fell in love,” she said. One of only 19 apartments in a small infill redevelopment of a former concrete plant, the apartment used to be the loading dock for the factory. The industrial feel, the 12-foot ceilings and the wide open space inspired Ms. Allard-Gendron immediately.
“The woman who had it was really into vintage furniture, so it was like a showroom,” said Ms. Allard-Gendron, who is a designer and creative director at advertising firm Sid Lee. She has become the go-to entertainment host among her friends – she says you’d be amazed how big a Christmas tree the main living space can host – and the flexibility of the space has lent itself to everything from dance parties to art shows. “The brick arches … it creates these little zones, so you can really play with where you want to put your stuff; we switched many times the configuration of the apartment. It could be a gym, or an office, or an atelier for artists.” And the solid walls make for a very sound-insulated and quite space: “I could imagine musicians here too – we listen to a lot of jazz. It’s really like a bunker in here.”
After the family of three moved in they weren’t there long before decamping to New York in 2019 for work. But, the pandemic brought them home in 2020 and Ms. Allard-Gendron has been enjoying the neighbourhood, the quiet and the work-life balance of working from home.
This part of Ville-Marie is close enough to the popular Plateau area to do all your shopping on Mont Royal, but far enough away that it retains a very quiet family atmosphere, according to listing agent Jeff Lee.
“It’s like you have your own little bubble,” he said. “We mostly go out in Mile End or downtown. … This is a little off the grid,” he said.
The house today
Because it’s a ground-floor apartment, Ms. Allard-Gendron tends to use an exterior entrance concealed behind some bushes on the small terrace that’s just off Avenue des Érables. You could also use the main entrance to the building, or the rear-parking lot entrance, and then enter the unit from an interior door at the back of the apartment.
The glass-and-steel terrace door opens into the eat-in kitchen and offers a view that runs the length of the apartment. The spine of this space is a central wall of exposed brick left over from the old loading dock that runs down the length of the apartment, punctured by entrances and windows and cut outs. Plumbing and electrical conduits are exposed against the weathered brick that’s a mix of ruddy red and brown. Looking up, the parts of the ceiling from the original building in the kitchen and hallway are clad in wood strips, and the floor is a concrete slab throughout.
“It’s not perfect; there are stains and chips and things like that, and the photos don’t get the right colour; it’s a really warm hue, a dark beige. If you were to polish it you would lose this original texture and that’s what I like about this place,” Ms. Allard-Gendron said.
All the new walls are simple, clean and painted white; the ceiling beams are also clad in white creating a neutral palette that allows the industrial materials to jump out.
A long island with bar seating dominates the kitchen, which is also all-white cabinetry, with stainless steel appliances and stone-tile backsplash behind the sink.
To the right is a large opening cut into the brick that takes you into the living space. This space is multi-function, and currently the TV and sitting area is next to the street-side windows, a lounge and reading space occupies the back half. “It’s such a good place for kids, they can run and play with the space without being afraid to break anything,” Ms. Allard-Gendron said.
Behind the living space are the bedrooms, but if you’re looking for privacy this may not be the most ideal space: The bedroom walls stop about 10 feet up, leaving open cut-outs at the tops to bring in light from the windows, and the first bedroom is the primary but there’s no door to close and there’s a window cut into the brick that opens it up to the hallway. Ms. Gendron had considered putting glass in to divide it more, but ultimately decided against it. “Personally I like to live in an open space, I like this feeling … it also feels very private in some way, because of the brick walls,” Ms. Allard-Gendron said.
The second bedroom, her daughter’s, is at the very back of the apartment and so at least there’s less foot traffic past its door.
Opposite the bedrooms are two sliding doors that open to the laundry closet (stacked machines) and the bathroom. The standalone tub and graphic tiles in the walk-in shower offer a little decadence for the apartment’s sole bathroom. Around the corner is the interior building entrance and coat closet.
“The kitchen is amazing, this is where I like to be,” Ms. Allard-Gendron said. “I like to cook, and we often eat at the counter, because it’s right in the middle of the house and the light is really good in the kitchen. You have the view to the whole apartment, that’s the place we spend the most time.”
She would spend even more time here, but as someone who specializes in rebranding, she’s anxious for the next design challenge. She’s even open to parting with some of the unique furniture pieces acquired over the years, because even though it’s 1,300 square feet to fill the loft “you need a lot furniture.”
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