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Country contemporary

SO MANY STORIES LAY HIDDEN WITHIN THE WALLS OF THIS EASTERN TOWNSHIPS HOME, AND DESIGNER CARL LAPOINTE UNCOVERED EACH ONE BY ONE TO REVEAL THE PROPERTY IN ITS TRUE GLORY.

Lapointe patiently waited ten years before acquiring this rare gem and began to breathe new life into it. He was first attracted by the manicured meadow strewn with wildflowers. And then his eyes lit up upon the old Loyalist farmhouse. It had more lives than a cat, yet had lost none of its dignity or charm.

Fortunately, many of the heritage elements had been preserved. The challenge for the new owner was to reinvent the house without betraying its past. “I worked the interior spaces with an extremely simplified concept, playing with high contrasts to accentuate the clean-cut lines of the architecture,” explains Lapointe.

The project advanced in slow, thoughtful steps. The ground floor was completely opened up and a large window was added at the back to allow for more light. The walls were painted a silky white and the original floor was stained flat black and oiled to form a monolithic box – a haven of serenity – undisturbed by light switches, heating units or differing ceiling heights.

The designer opted for an understated style and focused on the essentials. He kept the narrow refectory table – bought from a religious congregation as a perfect fit for the small house – but removed the old kitchen in favour of clean, contemporary lines. “My design work is largely inspired by European practices. I wanted to incorporate certain trends into this property.” Indeed!

The kitchen, breakfast nook and dining room, which play to different eras, now form the heart of the house, and hold the key. The stainless steel countertop island with blond walnut panels stands at the center of the space, inviting family and friends to gather. The lacquered wall cabinets that conceal the appliances serve as a partition, while picking up the colours of the landscape. The ceiling displays the original beams, beneath which a row of glazed-door cupboards hide dishes and other mealtime necessities. The table is old, the chairs from the 1950s, the bench is contemporary. Everything blends in harmony to serve a single master: light.

The staircase, with its delicately decorated stringer, and the upstairs bedrooms speak the same language. The narrow beds fit the space snugly, and the lovingly collected vintage sheets tell a story, whereas the spatial concept and colour choices are decidedly modern.

But it’s the bathroom, with its narrow, lacquered slats, retrostyle sink and supremely minimalist fittings, that best summarizes Carl Lapointe’s design vision: “Let’s take liberties and invent an era.”

Country contemporary – e-mag