A House Unchanged for 40 Years Is Preserved with a Creative New Use — House Call

Name: Marie-Eve Lalande
Location: Saint-Lambert, Quebec, Canada
Size: 1000 square feet
Years owned: 40 years

This house was built in 1900 and for the last 40 years, it belonged to my parents-in-law who had one way of living: like in the old times! Every object that entered the house had to be antique, pretty, and authentic. So, you can forget about the microwave, no matter how helpful it could have been! My husband was raised here using this old toaster that you had to turn your bread so it would toast on the other side, too. (Normal toasters existed, just so you know.)

The fully functional kitchen. The oven is a Moffat, the fridge is a Westinghouse.

(Image credit: Studio Antique)

My mother-in-law could have told the story of every piece of furniture she had. She was so proud of all of her things! So when they had to leave the house, we didn’t have the courage to sell everything and renovate it. To modernize it would have changed it forever, no coming back. We felt like we couldn’t take away its beauty and its authenticity so we kept it the way it was.

As it never been renovated or modernized in 118 years, why would we change it? And sell all the antiques? We could have, but then the house would have lost its soul. We know that nowadays, people don’t really want to live like this anymore, so, to keep the house alive the way it was, we decided to open it for photographers, renting the house for different projects. It’s a real house, fully functional, and people who enter it are under its charm!

This is our way to preserve it; it’s what my mother-in-law would have wanted. (She never told us to keep the house, but she often said she wanted to live like in a museum). And for people who enter it, they do appreciate it! Sometimes I get messages from photographers I do not know telling me that it’s such a good idea we did this with the house. It’s always nice.

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? I wish the walls were insulated. We do have cold winters over here! Turning on the heat feels like you’re heating the neighborhood instead of the house…and you pay for it.

What is your favorite room and why? I’d say the bathroom, always full of sun, the clawfoot bath is super comfortable, the vanity so pretty, and you’ll have to see the toilet. Everyone is impressed; the wooden water tank is over your head and you really have to pull the chain to empty it. All fully-functional!

Any advice for creating a home you love? If you renovate an old house, keep the clawfoot tub!

Thanks, Marie-Eve Lalande! See more about this home on their website.

• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour & House Call Submission Form.

*This submissions responses have been edited for clarity and length.

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