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This room was filled with
tractors when we bought the house,”
says designer Heidi Smith about her elegant
living room. She’s not exaggerating: The entire
ground floor of the light-filled conversion in
Westmount, Que., was a garage at the time.
That’s because the building was actually the
stables for a large turn-of-the-century mansion
that was torn down in the 1940s.
Having previously lived in a dark, formal
home, Heidi craved wide-open spaces and a
blank canvas that she could use to design a
functional home for her family of six. That’s
exactly what she got when she stumbled upon
this rare find. “There were definite challenges,”
she says with a laugh — the stable
was a protected historical building, which
meant that very little about the exterior could
be changed, including small, awkwardly
placed windows intended for horses.
She carved the ground floor into a large
entrance hall, open-concept kitchen, family
room and formal living and dining spaces.
With her experience and knack for clever
design solutions, she also installed 200-year-old
salvaged-pine flooring and built a graceful
staircase from scratch. You’d never guess this
was once an uninspiring, utilitarian space
where animals lived.