In its first life, our property this week was a duplex in Saint-Lambert, which has remained almost as is since its construction in 1950. Its second life, which began five years ago, saw it reborn as a single-family home and transported completely elsewhere, by the magic of design.

What do you want, when you are a designer by profession and it’s your passion, it’s hard to keep the status quo in your own home. The duplex had only one owner when Sophie Beaucage and her partner, Michel Robichaud, bought it in 2015. However, it was only four years later, when the tenants downstairs left, that the couple and his children left their other house in Saint-Lambert to move into their duplex.

The long, dark corridor flanked by closed rooms, typical of the 1950s, was not going to last long, like many other outdated attributes. In fact, apart from the hot water heating which has been preserved, everything, absolutely everything, has been redone, both inside and outside. The final transformation into a single-family home took place after the departure of the tenants upstairs, in 2023. The result is striking, both in terms of the visual appearance and the quality of the materials. There are so many ideas per square foot!

The facade of the property fits well with those of its neighbors and, despite the contemporary nod of certain elements, it does not let us guess what is hidden behind. Ms. Beaucage had other ambitions for this facade, but she had to deal with the requirements of the City, which wants to maintain a unity of the built heritage.

However, the originality of the house is revealed as soon as you open the front door. We then find ourselves in a welcoming and bright entrance hall, which elegantly hides its storage space. We don’t discover them right away, because the eye is already elsewhere, attracted by the central element of the house: the metal and wood staircase that the owner designed and had custom-made.

Fun and ingenious detail: the plumbing pipes that act as handrails match perfectly with the exposed steel beams that replaced the load-bearing walls, as well as the style of the staircase. The latter is flanked by a glass wall on the side which overlooks the living room and the foyer, and a semi-openwork panel on the kitchen side, summarizes the owner.

Having difficulty finding someone here to make the fence she had imagined, she finally had it made in England. An ocean is no obstacle to a good idea.

Well windowed, the kitchen is airy, functional and fully equipped. A tap, installed above the gas stove, makes it easier to fill pots. Both ovens are electric, to ease the chore of cleaning. The Dekton island is very durable and there is plenty of storage space while remaining discreet.

The dining room, located in what was once the living room, has a dark gray stretch ceiling, which gives height. However, the owner has kept the original plaster molding of the ceiling.

We moved so quickly from the entrance to the staircase that we forgot to mention Madame Beaucage’s office, cleverly placed next to the entrance hall. She can receive customers and suppliers there without interfering with the privacy of the house. Fluted glass panels separate the office from the living room, and open or close depending on the circumstances.

Upstairs, the master quarters, with its bedroom, bathroom and large walk-in closet, occupies one side of the house. Two more bedrooms, as well as another bathroom and laundry room, are on the other side. Windows and a skylight generously illuminate the entire floor.

In the basement, the old cement cellar has given way to a spacious living space which offers two bedrooms, a living room and a laundry section. Boasting an independent entrance, the place could easily be used as intergenerational accommodation.

When it comes to transformations, the exterior is not left out. In the courtyard, the cleverly furnished cedar terrace adds a comfortable living area during the summer. A heated above-ground concrete swimming pool has even found a home there. Corten steel panels, judiciously placed, contribute to privacy.

“I think about everything down to the smallest detail. When I do a project, I put my whole soul into it,” confides Ms. Beaucage, who draws a lot of inspiration for her work from her travels.

In fact, the owners travel a lot and for longer and longer periods, which is the primary reason for putting them up for sale. The children have now left the family nest, Mr. Robichaud is retired, and Ms. Beaucage is also considering slowing down her professional activities. In addition, they have a country house in Estrie. The time has come for them to travel lighter, but it is not without regret that they will leave this house and their beloved Saint-Lambert, a peaceful and green town where they had the pleasure of living and raising. their children.