The best of then and now
BY RICHARD MAHONEY
News Staff When Michelle Daprato and Serge Bellefeuille began renovating a 113-year-old home in Alexandria, some people suggested they were wasting their time and money.
In fact, one person had a dire suggestion: “I would have bulldozed it.”
A year later, the couple is putting the finishing touches on what has turned out to be a model reno project.
The refurbished Main Street home, built in 1902, got the attention of Decormag, the Québec-based decoration magazine, where Michelle’s sister, Judith Gougeon, works as a designer.
The feature on the house in the current issue is the result of a daylong photo shoot highlighting the bright and white interior of the 2,600-square-foot residence.
While inside, the home has a definite fresh and modern feel –“industrial” is how Ms. Daprato describes her kitchen theme – outside, the goal is to travel back in time.
Mr. Bellefeuille, a construction contractor, has been painstakingly restoring the yellow exterior. “I am trying to get it to look like it was when the house was orginally built,” he says. Days have been spent hand-shaping cedar shingles. “The final colour will probably be gray,” adds Ms. Daprato, who works as a receptionist in a doctor’s office.
“It has the prettiest view on Main Street,” she proclaims, noting that the location was one of the home’s big attractions.
“When the sun goes down on Main Street, all I see is trees,” says Ms. Daprato, looking out from her upstairs bedroom window.
The cozy bedroom, which was once an unused attic, was another asset.
“I want my room here,” was her initial reaction when she and Mr.
Bellefeuille first checked out the upper floor. Mr. Bellefeuille has worked on all sorts of jobs over the years. “When you start from scratch and start something completely new, you have a plan on paper. But with this kind of renovation, it is more of a challenge. The plans are up here,” he remarks, tapping his temple. More photos Page 4.
FACELIFT: Michelle Daprato and Serge Bellefeuille are nearing the completion of their year-long renovation project.
SOLID: Michelle Daprato and Serge Bellefeuille have mixed modern accoutrements with solid reminders of the past.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT: Michelle Daprato knew she wanted her bedroom to be located in the former attic.