_macangus residence _bohemier residence _house de bruce _big brother
  little sister
_ortynsky residence _5118 cartier _83 douglas

The customary 2 to 3 storey row house in Montreal is similar to those in Amsterdam, long and narrow with limited natural light. 5118 rue Cartier stands apart from a typical Montreal row house because it is open on 3 sides.

Originally built in 1908 the block had very minor updates over the past century, the second floor unit was in need of a complete redesign. The existing layout had the under lit living room facing northwest and the kitchen located in the southeast corner. The task was to modernize the apartment and open up the living space, while maintaining 2 bedrooms - keeping within a strict budget of $60,000.


  • a central load bearing wall limited potential changes to the layout
  • a roof drain, water tank and water supply could not be moved
  • 1st and 3rd floor units could not be disrupted by the new construction

Practicalities/ Design Imperatives

  • separate living & dining spaces from sleeping, cooking and bath functions
  • capture the light in the living space
  • rotate bathroom 90º but maintain existing location of plumbing
  • elevate tub to allow plumbing from the kitchen to pass to the primary drain
  • improve lighting and comfort with new windows and doors
  • keep plaster and lathe on exterior walls
  • re-use existing floor, with some patching
  • create classy, inexpensive, finishing details
  • integrate compact kitchen fixtures with cabinetry
  • design shelving and storage to contain clutter

Photos by Jan Vailhé