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Wishing to live both in the city and on the waterfront, the owners searched long and hard before finding this small, narrow, affordable lot on the Des Prairies River. The lot’s shape, proximity to the river and the character of the adjoining properties were the main factors that shaped this urban home with a beautiful natural setting.
It was necessary to build small to stay within the construction budget; in any case, the clients preferred to invest in spatial quality than square footage. Approaching retirement, they wanted an intimate, low-maintenance living space.
The surface area of the ground floor is 720 sq. ft. (67 m2), while the second floor has 658 sq. ft. (61 m2) of usable space. The living room, dining room and kitchen are on the ground floor. At the clients’ request, and counter to current trends, these rooms are all distinct from one another. The layout preserves a sense of privacy and facilitates cohabitation. The two bedrooms and main bathroom are upstairs. The bathroom layout also reflects the sense of privacy, with two sinks, washbasin, toilet and shower in three spaces separated by sliding doors.
The house’s L-shaped footprint meets the clients’ needs and fits the nature of the site. It naturally delimits and structures the entrance, patio and living spaces. On the ground floor, a single partition with sliding panels is used to separate the rooms.
The building’s eight façades allow for an unusually large number of strategically positioned windows. Despite the house’s proximity to its neighbours, each room receives ample natural light and has river views while preserving the owners’ privacy. The floor-to-ceiling windows and double-height living room give the small space an expansive feel and afford excellent river access.
The house’s simple volume is designed to minimize the building’s impact on the site, while the contrast between two materials helps divide the volumes. The result is a home as discreet as the people who live there.