Technically speaking, the Victorian era ended on January 22, 1901, the day that Queen Victoria died. But the 19th-century spirit of her reign is very much alive in Carrie MacPherson’s Montreal home. Built in 1913 near the base of Mont Royal, the home was originally a carriage house for a nearby mansion, but was eventually converted into a private home. Carrie, a magazine editor and content creator, wasn’t really looking to move, but her boyfriend, Chris, spotted the house online in 2016 and suggested they visit. Carrie quickly fell in love with the home’s whimsical flourishes, including vintage chandeliers, several statues and a hand-painted fresco in the bathroom. “If I were a house, this would be me,” she said.
Tone it Down
Rather than load up the walls with colour, Carrie painted the living room a fresh white, which gave her the freedom to layer the space with the tchotchkes she loves. For the furniture, she went with a light grey palette, including velvet grey curtains and two grey captain chairs from Urban Barn. All the chandeliers came with the home when it was purchased in 2016.
Fit for a Horse
Originally, the dining room is where the carriage was kept – hence the ridiculously high ceilings. Carrie and Chris picked out the greyish-blue floral corduroy for the medallion chairs, which they had reupholstered.
This and That
Carrie often hosts tea parties and she keeps plenty of accessories, including cake pedestals and silver candelabras, in this custom-built shelving unit – or, as she calls it, her “knick-knack display case.”
What’s Old is New
Carrie often finds some of her favourite pieces on Kijiji. The giant gold-framed mirror was one of those treasures, scooped up for $300. Her longterm plan is to add a marble fireplace behind the dining room table and mount the mirror above it.
Carrie has a mild china addiction; she owns four sets, including one passed down from her grandmother. The hand-printed blue napkins are by Mezari, a textiles company run by Carrie’s friend Stephanie Coleman.
The solid wood front door was custom-designed by the previous owner, who based the design off the home’s original, but lowered the mail slot to avoid the annoying “thud” of a delivery. Above the radiator, Carrie has hung an old sketch of Mont Royal from the mid-1800s, which was a gift from Chris’ uncle.
Birds of a Feather
Carrie’s home is filled with stories, but the most interesting may be the statue of Saint Clotilde, the patron saint of brides, adopted children, exiles and widows. The previous owner saved her from being thrown out by a Montreal church and drove her home in the back of his convertible. The statue came with the house and Carrie likes to decorate Saint Clotilde each Christmas. The birdcage was purchased from an antique store in Vermont.
The set of twin beds in the master bedroom are Carrie’s most prized possession. The beds are originally from France and Carrie bought them off a man who inherited them from his grandparents. To spruce them up, she hired someone to reupholster the bed with oak leaf fabric and add dozens of brassy grommets. Because the beds are so old, the mattresses had to be specially made to fit into the curved frame.
His and Hers
Carrie usually heads to bed by 10PM while her boyfriend often writes late into the night. So having two beds just made sense. “When he comes to bed, he doesn’t wake me up,” she said. Chris’ bedside table includes a little peacock lamp and several sketches of birds.
Carrie’s side of the bed has more an antique feel, with five vintage paintings in gold frames. The funky black lamp resembling a woman holding the moon was picked up for $35 during a road trip through rural Quebec.
Breakfast in Bed
“I always have breakfast in bed,” Carrie said. And when she does, she uses this vintage breakfast table. The two cakes seen here are from Patisserie Rhubarbe, a nearby bakery.
All That Glitters
Carrie drove through a snowstorm to pick up this gold vanity on Montreal’s west island. The vanity is actually Florentine desk, which means the top two tiers aren’t attached.
Let There Be Light
One of the smartest design touches in the home is this glass cutout in the floor, which brings natural light from the skylight above to the dining room below. Carrie had the closets specially built to add some much-needed storage.
Across from the closet it this semanier dresser, a French design that has one drawer for each day of the week. The idea is that each drawer contains a fresh pair of underwear. The shoes atop the dresser are from Gucci’s 2018 runway collection and are covered in Swarovski crystals.
A Shower Like No Other
The home’s previous owner was an artist and he painted this striking fresco above the shower with a friend. “I feel like I’m living in a Parisian apartment,” Carrie said. “Whenever anyone steps into the bathroom they’re like, ‘It’s so quirky!'”
Here’s a closer look at the mural.
Believe it or not, this kitchen is in the basement. The window above the counter isn’t actually real; it’s backlit and opens onto storage space, where Chris keeps his golf clubs. Carrie loves white tulips and she often keeps fresh flowers throughout the home.
A bust of King George VI, which also came with the house, is tucked in the corner on the marble counter. “Of all the statues, he’s my favourite,” Carrie said. “I say hello to him every morning – ‘Hey, George!'”
Window to Nowhere
Here’s a better look at that faux window. A black PAL radio sits atop a couple cookbooks and Carrie often spends her mornings listening to the radio. “It picks up NPR from Vermont in the basement.”
All in the Details
Behind the kitchen are two doors, which the former owner sourced from a monastery. One leads to the laundry room, while another leads to the powder room.
Carrie knew she wanted a bold wallpaper for the powder room and this black-and-white print does not disappoint.
Tour de Montreal
The wallpaper was specially designed by Mezari and it depicts several Montreal landmarks, including the Jacques Cartier Bridge, Saint Joseph’s Oratory and a classic Montreal depanneur.
A Statement Piece
Here’s a closer look at the wallpaper.