Sunday, June 27, 2010

Old 'Dep' transformed into new 'Digs' =Point Saint Charles home

Graphic designer Jenny Schumacher, 47, bought a depanneur in the St Henri district of Montreal and converted it to a home.

Occupants: Jenny Schumacher, 47, plus daughters Isabelle Lindsay, 11, and Julie Lindsay, 13

Location: Charon near Wellington in Pointe St. Charles

Size: 2,400 sq. ft. (including finished basement)

Bought for: $75,000 + renovations

Been there: Since June 1998

When Jenny Schumacher, 47, bought a derelict depanneur in Pointe St. Charles for $75,000, her mom was horrified. But this graphic designer had a vision. Today, the building she once described as, "bombed-out," has become her 2,400-square-foot dream home with modern, clean lines and lots of light.

I found this place by walking by. We were already living in The Point, in our first house, and this place was right around the corner. It had been a depanneur for 80 years, though a coiffeur had moved into the downstairs, and there was an apartment upstairs. I said, this is exactly what I want -on the corner with full southern exposure, and room to build a garage. But it wasn't like this -it was a hole in the wall. It was horrible. My mother cried when she saw it. But I had this vision.

Describe the state that it was in.

It was like a bombed out apartment upstairs. It was a shell. It had this sort of nuclear pink painted brick that was all chipping off and a corner depanneur entrance. We changed everything. Everything. This was during the ice storm.

You were renovating during the ice storm? What was that like?

I wasn't doing it. The architect and the contractor were doing it. (Laughs.) They were, like, this is demolition, we don't need electricity. We hired these architects, YH2, they're pretty well known, but this is when they were just starting out, and it was their biggest project to date. They came in and said, what do you like and what do you like to do? I said, I really like to entertain, I really like Frank Lloyd Wright, I like lots of light and lots of open space. They came up with several designs and we chose the most neighbourhood-friendly design.

What do you mean by neighbourhood-friendly?

We didn't want to stick out like a sore thumb. Because it does look pretty sombre from the outside. I mean, it looks renovated, but it's not, 'ta-da, here we are.' The only thing we kept original was the original pine floor in the kids' bedrooms. Then we tried to match that same style everywhere. We didn't keep any ornamentation -there was no point.

Why match the original floors, but not the ornamentation?

Well, the original chimney is there, it's just decorative. I like a little mix of old and new, but mostly I wanted modern. And mostly it was too rotted out to keep anything.

(The main floor is open, with Schumacher's office overlooking a large kitchen, dining room, and a cozy living room surrounding a woodstove.)

Tell me about the woodstove.

This was what the architects did not want. But we wanted it because we had a wood-burning stove in our old place during the ice storm and it saved our lives. We cooked on it, heated the house, everything. Anyway, we talked them into it. It's really warm in the winter, and I have a big American Thanksgiving party every year, and we have a fire and it's the best.

Any story behind the table?

I moved from the U.S. to get married, so I was able to move stuff up here without being taxed to death. We went down to the Crate and Barrel in Boston and I fell in love with this table set, but it was ridiculously expensive. So I looked underneath and saw it was made by the Vermont Furniture Company in Burlington. I called them and said, do you have seconds? They did, so we went down to Burlington and it was one-quarter of the price. I love it.

How does your mother feel about this place now?

Now? She's all, 'Jenny, you were right, you had a vision.' She loves it!

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Les F said...

I should have mentioned that you can enlarge each photo in the topic window, just click on each photo to see this neat house. -Cheers ! -HF&RV-

Sherry Hummell said...

Why does it say on top "in the St Henry District" of Pt St Charles and then it says on Charron near Wellington? Unless things have changed, St Henry and The Point were different areas and Charron and Wellington were certainly not part of the Point...Did I miss something here?

Sherry Hummell said...

Sorry to sound so picky but we always distinguished between the two.

Les F said...

Yes I noticed that too, I think whoever wrote it initally just wasn't thinking, because Noone would mistake the two,if they knew better.....................Cheers ! -HV&RV-
.............our friends & family no longer here would be spinning a bit........hahahaha
It's even worse nowadays the powers that be would like to forget anyone else ever lived there ,as finding info on it in today's world is near impossible if you don't type in "Sud-Ouest Montreal.
and there is another longer than need be title too......(which I choose to forget)
---Let's Stick to the

Diane Roberts said...

I saw this newspaper article and like Sherry, it just didn't make sense. Charron & Wellington was not Pointe Ste Charles and St Henri was separate again. By now, I don't know where this apartment is, but I do know they've done a great job, because it doesn't look anything like my aunts & uncles homes in the Point! Come to think of it, it's better than anything I saw in Verdun!...Diane

robert jomphe said...

Charron & Wellington is Pointe Ste Charles look on google

Diane Roberts said...

Okay Jumper...must use the Google maps more often now that the brain cells are affecting my memory! Cheers, Diane