After renting ski chalets for many years at Mont Tremblant, an Ottawa family finally bought and renovated a compact condo in the popular alpine resort in Quebec.
Their newly renovated one-bedroom condo is a wonderful example of how 700 square feet of space can be efficiently utilized for maximum style and function. It is the perfect retreat for a family of three avid snowboarders who spend every weekend at the hill experiencing the thrills of the snowparks and enjoying the buzz of social activity.
“When our son Griffin was in a snowboarding program, we had seasonal rentals for the winter,” says Jean Spicer. “But they became difficult to find after online market sites made short-term rentals more lucrative. For a while we were like weekend hobos, until the opportunity came up to buy this condo. The price was right and the carrying costs are not dissimilar to what we would pay for a seasonal rental.”
The transformation of the former rental unit in the pedestrian village was done in the spring last year, and Jean’s husband, Mike Beun, took on the renovation project himself. Mike owns Woodlawn Home Comfort, an expert HVAC service that specializes in high-quality fireplaces and heating systems, so he was well qualified for the job. With help from his older son, Burke Beun, who works in the family business, they gutted the interior and completed 90 per cent of the work in just one month.
COMPACT CONDO SPACE
Vaulted ceilings and tall, light-flooding windows help to make the compact, open-concept condo look and feel surprisingly spacious. “It’s positioned to run the length of the street, so we get more windows on the exterior wall, plus the bay window makes a huge difference for seating and it overlooks the village square,” explains Jean.
The layout of the unit also allowed room to install a murphy bed on the long wall in the dining area. It’s a smart, space-saving sleeping spot for 15-year-old Griffin, and gives his parents the comforts of a private bedroom tucked in behind two barn-style sliding doors. A three-seater, pull-out sofa bed provides extra space for overnight guests.
In the open-galley kitchen area, they opted for a clean, modern style with black IKEA cabinetry and a marbled-quartz countertop in a waterfall design for the peninsula. Although the bathroom has not been fully renovated yet, it is still spacious enough to fit a new stacked washer and dryer.
To stay true to the ambience of an alpine retreat, they kept the wood-burning fireplace and Mike upgraded its allure by adding a mantel of reclaimed wood. Taken from the floor boards of rail cars in France with the original bolt holes still exposed, the wood was also used for open shelving by the fireplace and for an entry closet. Together with the wire-brushed oak flooring, the wood elements add a warm, rustic feel to the condo’s light grey walls and neutral décor.
Most of the furnishings were obtained locally. A big, solid coffee table was bought from MY Home in Kanata along with the customized sofa bed, and the round dining table comes from Structube. Mike sourced the barn-style doors from Home Depot, while Jean added some personal touches with two antique pieces passed down from her great-great-grandparents. A brass wood bucket with ornate lion-head details and a little cow-hide upholstered footstool keep each other company by the fireside and hold fond memories of her McLachlan lumber family from Arnprior.
“It was amazing how quickly Mike finished this project—he found it very satisfying,” says Jean, who notes that they have done many renovations over the years, including their stunning family home in the rural west end of Ottawa. One of the many attractions of their all-season condo is the convenient underground parking. “Once we park the truck, we don’t have to drive it again while we are here, which is very different from our life at home in the country.”
In addition to the snowboarding and skiing trails, the whole family loves the social life at Mont Tremblant. “We are part of an active community and manage to host dinner parties in our condo—it has such a cozy charm to it,” says Jean, who adds that at the end of a lovely weekend, it’s also great to just lock it up and go home!