Old & newPublished on February 24, 2019


  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • A gallery wall in the living room combines treasured collections with antique prints and local artworks
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Designer Irene Langlois in her chic master bedroom
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Black wall tile in the main bathroom was found in Florida, the floor tile is from Olympia Tile
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • The dramatic entrance sets the tone. Artwork above the console was a memento from a trip to Cuba
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • A Chinese desk in the den has travelled three moves with the Langlois
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • The Bombe chest is a treasured piece that sets the tone for blending old and new
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

Irene Langlois has a myriad of both personal and professional decorating projects under her belt. Her latest move, downsizing from a large home in the Glebe to a condo at 300 Queen Elizabeth Drive, shows her talent for combining collected treasures with up-to-date furnishings.

After years of accumulating cherished pieces and creating stylish living spaces for her now grown-up family, Irene and her husband decided that downsizing was in order. The couple spends their winters in Florida, so they sought a more maintenance-free condo lifestyle in Ottawa.
Built by Teron in the early 70s, the building is under consideration by the heritage registry. Highly regarded for its canal views and ample room sizes, the unit at 300 Queen Elizabeth Driveway was in its original condition, but Irene could see its potential right away.

“I was immediately impressed with the corner views of Patterson Creek and the canal,” says Irene, who not only liked the location but the untouched interior also offered her the opportunity to create the ideal living space. “It was essentially in its original condition so I had a blank slate to work with in the re-design,” adds the empty nester with treasured collections and loads of style.

The renovation, spearheaded by contractor Guy Charbonneau, took four months to complete. It included new bathrooms, a kitchen, and replacing the flooring with white oak from Northern Plank Flooring to create a light, balanced backdrop for richly-textured furnishings and vibrant carpets. A geometric entrance tile sets a stylish tone from the start, with a constant flow of balance between elements of opulence. Statement light fixtures combine with a soothing white colour scheme that allows for pops of stronger colours.

The white kitchen by Cedar Ridge Designs takes its look from contemporary design. Yet it transitions from modern, with a wall of black ash wood cabinets finished with brass handles, to a more traditional feeling that flows beautifully into the main living area. An open-concept floor plan balances both contemporary and traditional elements to create an intriguing space filled with objects of interest, as well as gallery walls showcasing the work of many talented Canadian and local artists.

A Bombe chest, which has moved with the family three times, is an example of the open mind Irene keeps when it comes to finding a new use for old pieces. Once a useful piece in the foyer of their past home, the chest now takes centre stage as part of the kitchen/dining room space. Some of the few new items that they purchased for the condo include a sofa for the den and the dining table and chairs. However, most pieces transitioned from their old place into the new space so that the couple feels right at home.

Top five tips to combine old with new:

  1. Edit what you have and work from there to update with new finds.
  2. Re-think old pieces to use them in new ways.
  3. Change the colour scheme to breathe new life into furnishings.
  4. Integrate old treasures with new to create an eclectic intriguing space.
  5. If it makes you smile, keep it, no matter what the current trends dictate.

Mary Taggart

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