PHOTOGRAPHY: JEAN BLAIS
STYLING: TRACEY MacKENZIE
When buying a house, there are many considerations to weigh. There’s price, of course, but there is also, size, location, style, and how much work it will require to renovate or maintain. The list goes on. When it comes to selling a house, the list of issues can be equally long. What should the asking price be? How should it be staged? Who should be the agent? Then, there are the considerations involving the pending move.
The owners of this semi-detached home in the Town of Mount Royal dealt with all of that when they decided to put their property on the market. But when the sign went up on the front lawn, they found themselves wondering about one thing: Will their house find a good home?
Built in 1950, this five-bedroom house has been the hub of their family’s busy lives for more than two decades. It was the setting that changed and evolved with them. It is where they all came together – as individuals, as a family, as members of a community.
“It was a ‘maison du bonheur,’ ” says the homeowner, Hélène.
She and her husband bought the property in 1997. It was where they raised their two children. It is also where they became part of a neighbourhood, where their children’s friends dropped by.
And it’s where traditions were quickly established. Hélène recounts how one of her neighbours who loved to cook dropped by with a large old Mongolian clay pot, filled with perfumed rice. After washing the pot, Hélène, who is a nutritionist by profession and who enjoys cooking, felt ashamed to simply return it empty, so she filled it with her own succulent creation before walking it across the yard. That was the beginning of a practice of culinary exchanges that has lasted 21 years.
During their time in the house, the couple renovated every room, almost every corner of the 2,550 square feet of it. They redid the living room, adding custom shelving on each side of the updated fireplace. They re-imagined the master bedroom, renovated the other, and converted one into a home-theatre space. The basement was completely overhauled. Removing the stucco ceilings and knotty pine finishes from the 1970s, they created a welcoming family room and expansive home offices for each of them.
The yards were landscaped, with a tiered Brazilian-wood deck designed for the backyard.
And Hélène restyled the kitchen, a space where she spent much of her time, adding a bistro area with a chalkboard panel on the wall where menus were regularly posted. It was an area where style and function came together. “It was a practical kitchen,” she says. “My priority is to have guests over and have fun.”
At the start of 2018, however, after her two children, now young adults, had moved out, the house was quiet. And that is when the couple decided it was time to move on; it was time to downsize. “It was tough to see the kids leave,” Hélène says. “It was so lively. In January, when I realized it was so silent, I knew it had served its purpose.”
She pauses as tears well up in her eyes. “When I think about it, when I talk about it…” she begins again, struggling to compose herself. “I am not sad. I am emotional. We were happy here.”
Hélène and her husband have entrusted real estate broker Sylvie Ménard with finding the right buyer. Ménard, a broker with Royal LePage Humania, is confident it will attract a lot of attention. The T.M.R. area has few available homes on the market, she says, and the fact that this one has been completely renovated provides a “turnkey” option.
This is a house that will find a home, Ménard adds, where another family will create a whole new chapter of memories. •
UPDATE: This property has been sold.
Sylvie Ménard, Real Estate Broker
Royal Lepage Humania