Until three years ago, Michelle and Guy Bouthillier lived in what Michelle describes as a "very large house." Set in Outremont, it had 17 rooms, filled with antiques and original works of art. By 2015, the retired couple, who are in their late 60s, decided that their home was too much to care for and began looking for a minor.
The Bouthilliers have four children (and five grandchildren) who have long created their own lives. The couple needed enough space to accommodate the family when they visited, but they certainly did not need as many rooms as before. To that end, they started looking for another house, scouring newspaper ads and visiting open houses.
They ended up with a 2,800-square-foot condo in Outremont, which had been two condominiums at one time, converted into a residence by a previous owner. This, however, was not the end of the story. Michelle was initially ambivalent about the change and was not interested in her new address, so she and her husband put her back on the market. Your "very large house" was on the market at the same time and both properties sold within 10 days!
The saga continued when the condo buyer changed his mind and the Bouthilliers took him back.
They are now finally installed in their beautiful home, part of a luxury condominium development, which encompasses a health center and a sports complex. The Bouthilliers condominium has five bedrooms (two are home offices), three bathrooms, an open plan living / dining room, a laundry room, a small porch and a large enclosed garden.
Q: Do you have a garden and yet the condo is one floor above ground level?
M: The way it was designed is ingenious. Although we were looking for an apartment, we did not want to live in a high-standard development. The garden was what finally sealed the deal for us. It's beautiful in summer with all the flowers and it's a great place for grandchildren to play when they come to visit.
Q: The condo certainly looks more like a house than an apartment.
M: Yes. And I feel very comfortable with that.
Q: Looking around the interior with its elegant antiques and all its beautiful paintings, it seems that you have created a smaller version than you had before?
M: (Laughter) That was more or less the idea. I had to get rid of so many things, but there was a lot left to provide this place. We still have things in storage for which we have no room. My children did not want any of that either.
Q: Did you buy something new here?
M: Only the bed in the main room.
Q: The sofas and love seats in the living room, their old side tables and their Oriental rugs, were all the things you had before?
M: They went. Guy and I have been collecting furniture and paintings for many years. Some of the things we buy here. Several of our paintings are from Québécois artists, but we also bought paintings abroad when we were traveling and sent them back to Montreal.
Q: Can you point one out?
M: We found the large oil painting of flowers in Belgium. (She hangs behind a grand piano.) To ensure that the painting was not damaged, the canvas had to be removed from the gold frame and rolled up, then reinstalled here in Montreal.
Q: Do you seem to like furniture designs from specific times? I see you have a pair of Louis XIII throne chairs in the living room.
M: I like this style. The dining room chairs are Louis XIII too but also taste the Jacobin style. (Usually made of dark wood, Jacobean furniture is characterized by spiral legs.) The table in the foyer is Louis V.
It certainly is very ornate.
M: This style has a lot of gold decoration. The table top is made of marble and the side lamp with the base of the figurine is also made of marble. I took my mother-in-law's lamp.
(We move to the kitchen, which is equipped with jacaranda cabinets and stainless steel appliances. At the other end there is a white Eero Saarinen tulip table, mid-century, surrounded by matching pedestal chairs. for dining is opposite a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the garden.)
Q: This is a very attractive kitchen, but I imagine it is smaller than the one you had in your previous home?
AN: It certainly is, but I got used to it now. In fact, it has plenty of storage space. (Bouthillier opens drawers and doors to show me what she means.) I'm not very interested in the ceramic beige floor. It was here when we moved. I can change this at some point, but this is something for the future.
Shelter is a weekly series that features a conversation with tenants or condo owners.
Occupants: Michelle and Guy Bouthillier in the late 1960s, and Laurent Bouthillier, 40
Size: 2,800 square feet
Price: About US $ 1 million
Was there: Since 2015