Nothing relating to this sleepy area in a suburb of Montreal would sign up at a medieval-inspired sculpture gallery lurking within one of the homes. But step within Mélanie and Steve Dupont’s home and you’re going to find intricately carved timber bas-reliefs and towering wooden characters that nod to the era.
It is thanks to Quebec artist and sculptor Maurice Boisvert, who dwelt in the home and used it as his studio ; he hands carved all of his wooden sculptures there till he passed out in 2004. When the Duponts transferred in, lots of the rooms at the 1950s-built house needed an update, but they desired to honor as lots of the first artistic details as possible. Thus a redesign ensued, balancing preservation with modernization.
at a Glance
Who lives here: Mélanie and Steve Dupont, who both work for the town of Montreal, and kid May-Lee
Location: Boucherville, Quebec
Size: 3,000square feet;two bedrooms, two bathrooms
Year built: 1952
The Duponts made adjustments that would update the home but not alter Boisvert’s labors of love. As an instance, they maintained decorative wood components near the ceiling added new oak flooring throughout the primary level. Plates bought on family excursions to Morocco and Portugal sit on the first wooden shelves.
Boisvert had modified a lot of the first structure of the home himself, creating many challenges for the Duponts. “We didn’t know how he did it,” says Mélanie. “If we ever had to fix something, we had to work out not just how it had been constructed the first time, but what type of materials were used.”
Boisvert’s most dramatic display of sculptures, which are inspired by historical Rome, the Middle Ages and distinct characters from Quebecois history, circles the spacious kitchen and dining area, which the Duponts believe the core of the property.
To create the main flooring more practical and airier for entertaining, the Duponts and their team of renovation-savvy friends tore down walls and carefully removed a portion of the sculptures that adorned the walls. (For now they are keeping the sculptures at the cellar and intend to incorporate them in to that area when they renovate it.)
They replaced the cabinets but kept an original corner cabinet with a meshed door and the copper range hood, which Boisvert decorated.
Kitchen cabinets: Verdun
Boisvert’s sculptures appear as elements of the structural work in the home, and as large decorative touches on the fireplace and sunken into a nearby wall. White upholstered seats and a glass table using a wood base update the room without getting away from its artistic appeal.
A thick, strong staircase and low ceiling made this space dark and cramped.
AFTER: A sculptural spiral stairs now opens up the space to more mild. Sélesta custom made the stairs to ensure that it was safe and child friendly and that it combined well with the first woodwork.
The Duponts replaced all of the windows in the home to properly insulate for Canadian winters, but abandoned this one as a reminder of the house’s unique condition.
Boisvert had built a Murphy bed to the wall near the stairs. The Duponts converted it to a dining storage cabinet.
Steve wished to expand the use of natural materials first to the home, so that he redid this bath floor using cement and river rocks that he bought at a local hardware shop.
A framed biographical plaque about Boisvert hangs in the hallway close to the bathroom. Written in French, it describes his life and career in Quebec, as well as a number of the artistic projects he took on in his later years, such as functions in Montreal’s City Hall.
The living room, or “Steve’s area,” as Mélanie calls it, includes hand-carved ceiling panels. Mélanie added red velvet drapes and a bar cabinet to match the gentleman’s lounge feel.
Since the area was ” so intriguing,” Steve says, they didn’t want to distract from the first look and texture with a big TV. They created. It contrasts from behind a decorative ceiling bit on hinges.
They hid modern technologies everywhere, too. From the sunroom, a decorative wall mirror reaches a flat-screen TV. After seeing a similar concept at a design series for approximately $2,000 Canadian, Steve was decided to make his own version for less. He bought a piece of bronze-tinted mirror glass from a local supplier and had it built to a decorative frame. When darkness falls, the screen becomes completely visible from behind the mirror glass.
The sunroom leads to a resort-like patio and backyard with a pool, which the Duponts added after going in eight decades back.
Though Mélanie did most of the interior decorating, she enlisted designer Manon Leblanc to assist with a couple spaces, including the upstairs living area. The design of the space is supposed to be a bridge for and build upon the conventional wood seems downstairs.
This wood-paneled room over the garage with garden views was previously Boisvert’s studio.
AFTER: Leblanc transformed the area to a flowing pink queen area for May-Lee.
The couple fully remodeled the garage to resemble a more modern auto body shop. They commissioned artist Jean Pronovost to paint a custom mural.
The heavy, castle-like door, hand carved from Boisvert, gives visitors a sneak peek of what to expect on the inside.
Steve, May-Lee and Mélanie relax on the spiral stairs. “We love that we helped to make our home,” says Mélanie. “It makes it significant.”
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