Sophisticated Family-Friendly Apartment

A pre-Depression-era apartment with a dark, outdated interior was remodeled for a modern-day family. Designers Jay Britto and David Charette used a crisp neutral palette, better lighting, custom furniture and colorful modern art to breathe new life into the home.

Intimate Living Room with Modern Design

Modern Design in Intimate Living Room

The neutral color palette in this space gives this living room a bright, inviting feel, while darker tones on the sofas and the curtains help to make the space feel intimate, and with the absence of a television, this space is the perfect place for the family to gather for some face time.

Photo by: David Giral

David Giral

Why did this home appeal to your client?

Our client wanted to be closer to his family, and this home is just across the street from his brother’s house, so it was the perfect location for him. The building had always caught his eye because of its pre-Depression-era history and because it’s just off the main avenue of downtown.

What did your client want for his home?

The owner’s priority was a home that would meet the needs of his three children. He also wanted it to reflect his modern tastes and love of travel. Heated walls and floors to help ward off the frigid winter temperatures were also a must for our client.

How did you improve functionality for your client?

Plenty of Light and a Large Soaking Tub in Master Bath

Modern Master Bathroom with Plenty of Light and a Large Soaking Tub

This master bathroom used to be dark and claustrophobic, so with the renovation, designers added plenty of light to the space with canned lighting and a modern light fixture. The modern tub gives the homeowner plenty of space to soak after a long day, while the double vanity gives the space plenty of storage.

Photo by: David Giral

David Giral

Before we began working on this project, the home felt really dark and cramped with low ceilings. We wanted to brighten it up and make it more modern, so we painted the walls and ceilings white and then added a neutral color palette and chrome finishes. You’ll see that those carry through the whole house. Our client looks at everything like an investment, so we wanted the home to feel timeless. We wanted it to work well for a long time. We also gutted the bathroom and created a double-envelop design, so that our client could shower in privacy. Because this home is in such a high-traffic area, you can see into the apartment from multiple directions, so we had to think about how to provide privacy in an urban environment.

What was your biggest obstacle during this project?

Because the home was older, we started to find certain structural issues as we progressed, like asbestos. So we had to find ways to respect the architectural details of the home while also gutting the interior and bringing it up to code. We even had to go to the city to get approval to make certain changes to the layout, like removing the home’s other staircase. Our client knew it was a unique, older home and was aware that you can’t anticipate everything, so he understood what we had to do, which helped streamline the process.

What guided the living room design?

The client wanted this space to feel comfortable and classic, so I picked the sofa and fabrics with that in mind. We also ripped out the old fireplace, because it felt too old school for the room, and brought in the piece you see now. Finally, the marble and recessed lighting gave the space a bright, modern look.

Did you preserve any of the original architectural details?

Sophisticated and Intimate Living Room

Intimate and Sophisticated Living Room

From dreary and dated to calm and sophisticated, designers restored the neoclassical plaster work in the living room to reveal a luxurious, yet comfortable space. They removed the old fireplace that was dark and too heavy for the space and replaced it with a monolithic slab of real marble and a fully functioning fireplace that is light and inviting. The room’s lower ceiling lends the space an intimate feel that is enhanced by the absence of a television, putting the emphasis in this space on face-to-face family time.

Photo by: David Giral

David Giral

One way we maintained the integrity of the home was by keeping the original floors. We stained them darker, as you can see in the living room. We also took molds of the home’s original detail, like in the dining room, so that those features could still be enjoyed and appreciated after the remodel.

How did you create a stylish kid-friendly home?

For the kids’ rooms, we really thought about lighting, storage and warmth, because Montreal is very cold. We installed warming floors in each room and focused on making the palettes more youthful, while still neutral. The girl’s room has shades of red and pink, while the boy’s bedding has pops of blue. We also added curtains over their windows, to give the illusion of more space.

What did your client want for the dining room and breakfast nook?

Eat-In Component in Kitchen with Custom Banquette

Custom Banquette Gives Modern Kitchen an Eat-In Component

The owner wanted a place where his family could enjoy meals together, so designers added a custom banquette to give the kitchen an eat-in space, while the fun upholstery makes the space lively and casual. Although the main function of the banquette is to provide seating for the family, it serves the dual purpose of hiding the radiator in the home and was built to be easily taken apart and moved in case repairs need to be made.

Photo by: David Giral

David Giral

He wanted a traditional dining space where he and the kids could come together and sit down as a family. So the dining room has plenty of chairs for everyone, with the artwork bringing in the color and breaking up the monochromatic palette. And then for the breakfast nook we added that custom round banquette for the kids, so the space doesn’t have to feel too precious.

What “hidden gems” are in your design?

In the kitchen, you’ll see that we took the panels up and over the ceiling, which makes the space feel more intimate. Overall, we really enjoyed working with the stonemasons in Canada, because they have such a level of craftsmanship and took as much pride in the project as we did.

What did your client think of the finished design?

Our client’s intuitive and knew exactly what he wanted, and I think we delivered on that. We created a sense of home for him and his kids, and I think he was really pleased with that.

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Jay Britto & David Charette

Jay Britto & David Charette

Contact Me
Britto Charette IIDA, ASID, AIA ASSOCIATE 310 North West 26th Street Miami, FL 33127 305-640-5005