After enjoying many years of busy family life in a 2,000 square-foot heritage house, Albert Melanson and his partner Michel Beaulieu decided that it was time to make a change.
“Our two daughters had moved out to start their own lives and Michel started a job requiring him to be in Montreal throughout the week,” says Albert. “Our home, once a source of great happiness, was starting to feel quite lonely and overwhelming to take care of.”
Youthful, but close to retirement, the couple made the decision to downsize by purposefully taking a year to slowly purge the contents of their stately home, “so that the transition would not feel too sudden.” They selected items for gifting and donation, allowing each other three boxes of impractical memorabilia to be put into storage. When their property sold, time was allotted to grieve its loss and validate all accompanying emotions before excitedly embarking on the renovation of a gorgeous two-bedroom condo, in the heart of Ottawa’s downtown area.
Featuring an enormous wraparound balcony, a must for the couple, the party-perfect patio is outfitted with a hot tub and multiple seating areas. It showcases magnificent views of the city, including the Museum of Nature’s glowing “Jellyfish” which becomes even more impressive at night.
Employing the expertise of Andy Rioux Design, architect Sam Cox and contractor Joey Benoit to tailor and execute their vision, work included the creation of a large open-concept main room complete with kitchen, dining and entertaining areas. To create a seamless visual flow to the light concrete of the 900-square-foot outdoor space, white engineered flooring was installed, and floor-to-ceiling windows were fitted with filmy sheers to allow movement and diffuse light to filter through.
Industrial background elements such as a cement ceiling with open duct work, and high-hanging light fixtures to enable unobstructed views, now mix nicely with elements of wood and low, comfy furniture. In keeping with Albert’s belief that, “every home should have some treasured art,” a large 1964 art print called Jackie by Andy Warhol sets a whimsical tone, along with a collection of prized Inuit polar bear sculptures perched and dancing on surfaces throughout the home. Mirrors are used creatively throughout the condo to reflect cityscapes onto opposing walls and to trick the eye into perceiving a much longer hallway.
Delightfully unexpected colours are used such as the orange hue of a Veuve Clicquot champagne bottle label, and a deep turquoise repeated in accent pieces. The soft glow of an exquisite chandelier, designed by a Canadian architect, and retro-looking chairs covered in quilted vegan leather add to the vibrant décor.
At night, the condo transforms easily into the look of an upscale New York-style lounge. By choosing paint, cabinetry, appliances and countertop colours in shades of black and charcoal, including wallpaper for texture, the working elements of the kitchen virtually disappear with the downing of the sun.