Every host knows that guests always gather in the kitchen. A town house might boast a truly stunning feature, say a full-width central atrium, which they’ll grace with an ooh and an aah. But they’ll do it as they beeline for the food.
So when Andrew Curtis of RobitailleCurtis was asked to gut-renovate a family’s three-story, 2,800-square-foot town house in Montreal, he knew the first thing to do. He relocated the kitchen from front to back. This not only allowed it to overlook the garden—to be designed by his wife, Sophie Robitaille—but would also incentivize guests to make their way through the ground level.
That means proceeding from the entry, past a freestanding white cube that turns out to contain the powder room, and into the atrium. Here, he covered almost an entire wall with a grid of shelving, its upper compartments reached via a library ladder. Set into the shelving is a streamlined gas fireplace, replacing an oversize original.
The fireplace’s hearth shelf and the radiant-heated concrete flooring both end up, like typical guests, back in the kitchen. But not so fast. Let’s first climb the stairs to the master suite, where a palette of white and dove gray defines the elegant bathroom.
For the real fun, however, go up to the playroom. Where the atrium creates a void in the floor, he stretched actual trapeze netting across. “It’s a hammock with memory. It returns to a taut position,” he says. And was sourced through Cirque du Soleil’s supplier, no less. If a party breaks out, the hammock can hold multiple kids at once.
From this dizzying perch, you just glimpse the kitchen. It’s mostly white and stainless steel, warmed up by a festive backsplash in varying shades of blue hexagonal tile. A curtain of stainless coils can close the space off, since pets may be eager to join the fun.
“It’s strong enough to withstand a Great Dane jumping,” he notes with a laugh. Man’s best friend likes to hang out in the kitchen, too.