When designer and interiors stylist Judith Gougeon purchased this semi in Montreal’s covetable Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighborhood, it was dark and dingy, with yellowed glass door panels and and a palette of dark browns and beiges. In just four weeks, she got the space move-in ready. Walls and floors were painted, the electrical was rewired and unsalvageable doors were removed from the dining room. A three-week kitchen renovation followed a year later.
Today, the 1,850-square-foot house is a polished and comfortable family abode. The home’s simple yet eclectic look is thanks to Judith’s life-long affinity for collecting. “I pick up things left and right — I’m terrible with that,” she says with a laugh. Here’s a look inside the bohemian space.
A lover of fresh-cut blooms, Judith (pictured with partner Michael) collects white vases and displays them together in a white cabinet in the entry, which bolsters the impact of the collection. The handmade animal statue that Judith bought in Guatemala when she was 19 has moved with her over the years.
Rather than replace the original, dated fireplace, she painted it a dark grey — along with an accent wall — to create a dramatic backdrop for her collection of travel mementoes and heirlooms. Seen throughout the main floor, the woven pendant lights are actually baskets Judith found for about $15 each in a market in Oaxaca, Mexico, that she repurposed.
Floor-to-ceiling drapery cordons off the dining room and kitchen, and adds a note of elegance without breaking the budget. “It’s actually cotton fabric from Ikea that looks exactly like linen,” says homeowner and designer Judith Gougeon. The dining chairs are another thrifty move: she found 30 old wooden school chairs online and gave them new life with a coat of paint. “They were too good to pass up so I bought them all,” she says. “I sold some to friends, too.”
One of Judith’s trademarks is painting every surface. “Since I’ve been a homeowner, all the floors in my houses have been painted,” she says. “When we moved here, I wanted to paint the oak floors and people said I was crazy. But now, everyone loves it.” The framed black and white artwork was drawn by her son, Victor, when he was younger and is a budget-friendly way to add visual heft to the space.
In order to make room in the kitchen for a freezer, an armoire was salvaged from the kitchen reno and moved around the corner into the dining room. The handsome piece is now a statement hutch with plenty of closed storage.
“Subway tile is classic; it’s going to last forever,” says Judith, “but I wanted to give the kitchen a personality.” She elevated the cheap and cheerful tile by using a darker grout; the striking contrast creates impact without overwhelming the 170-square-foot space.
The greige floors and geometric rug set a graphic tone on the second-floor landing and play up the dark grey doors.
A gallery-style wall of art pieces including hearts, crosses and masks brought back from travels to Mexico and Guatemala add a global vibe to two-year-old Rachel’s bedroom. “When they’re not expensive, I’ll buy a series of things I like,” says Judith.
Rather than splurging on a large area rug that would be mainly hidden under the furniture, Judith opted for a number of smaller rugs in Victor’s bedroom. Here, concentric woven designs at the foot of the bed inject a moment of color and are warm underfoot.
In the home’s only bathroom, a few small changes bring energy to the simple white space. Installing a showerhead adds function, while painting the tub exterior black brings a touch of drama. For Mediterranean flair, striped fabric is fashioned into a shower curtain, which complements the fish souvenir from France that hangs on the doorknob.
“I’ve had the mirror for two decades and the table was a family heirloom that I’d been eyeing for years,” Judith says of the bathroom’s vanity. “The table was finally given to me by my grandmother Jeanne, and it fit perfectly in the nook. It was meant to be.”
Author: Jessica Flower
Maxime Desbiens and Angus McRitchie
House & Home June 2018