Two years ago designer and artist Joel Dumas returned to his hometown of Montreal in search of a home foundation that he could talk to his son and daughter. His most important criteria: being near some green area. Having lived in Bali and in the Quebec countryside, Dumas couldn’t imagine himself living in a completely urban landscape. So his glowing ground-floor home is situated directly across from Mile End’s prized Laurier Park, providing his family with the connection between the interior and outside world they wanted.
Traveling significantly influences Dumas’ design; he uses things he is found and purchased over the years to create his own furnishings, utilizing almost exclusively recycled and repurposed materials and objects. “I try to not purchase brand new in any way,” he states. “If something exists, I’ll work with it, reinventing it becomes my own.”
at a Glance
Who lives here: Joel Dumas, son Eloi (12 years old) and daughter Naïmé (9)
Location: Mile End district of Montreal
Size: 1,100 square feet, two bedrooms, two bathrooms
Dumas relaxes facing a light wall that he made out of a pair of Christmas lights sandwiched between sheets of plastic. While it provides both the living room and attached bathroom an atmospheric quality, “it’s currently employed as a Skype desktop,” he states.
Dumas purchased every one of the textiles on the couch during a yearlong trip to India 10 decades back. He went to antiques stores in New Delhi and Kashmir with the particular goal of locating unique textiles and fabrics, which he then used to make those patchwork blankets and quilts.
A natural, raw-edge wood dining table is the centerpiece of the living and dining area. The tabletop is made from a teak tree root located in a woods in Bali, cut down to size. The legs were subsequently added — made shorter to make sure they could support the weight of the wooden slab. Dumas had routine seats cut down to the proper height and reupholstered them with cloth that he picked.
The tree sculpture was made from a fallen riverbank tree in Java, turned white by erosion from water and wind.
This giant, real clamshell — constituting approximately 5 ft in length and estimated to be 1,700 years old — was given to Dumas many decades back. It was supposedly found in Asia by local natives several ages back. Now a sculpture, the exceptional piece serves a practical purpose: “I use it as my incense holder,” Dumas says.
Dumas made this massive mirror out of ocean driftwood from Bali, cut down to 2-inch bits.
The open-concept bedroom is kept private with hefty floor-to-ceiling drapes in a rich rust color. By day the distance acts as a media room and a hangout for the children.
This terra-cotta Buddha statue originated from Bali and dates back about 100 decades. Dumas acquired it as a gift from a friend, whose grandfather owned it originally. “He was happy that the statue was traveling,” Dumas describes. “For me, it’s a really special piece.”
With his children in mind, Dumas constructed desks which run the entire length of the window wall. When he is working from home, his children enjoy drawing and doing assignments beside him, using the natural light and park view.
Dumas made the desks, utilizing natural wood suar for your tabletop. Old metal plane ovens, located at a scrapyard, were incorporated into the desk design for use as service and as storage for files and school supplies.
The main bathroom, renovated by the previous homeowner, was provided a personal touch with the addition of artwork and artifacts. The mermaid sculptures were commissioned from an artist in Surabaya. “When I locate musicians I enjoy in Indonesia, I love to encourage them at all I can,” Dumas says.
What he loves about the bathroom is the contrast, with the ethereal glow of the lighting panels offset from the industrial quality of the salvaged plane ovens.
Dumas re-created a normal Balinese spa setting to your bedroom his children use when they stay over. The golden voile fabric, purchased in India, makes for a fun canopy above the bunk bed.
A modern kitchen backsplash was used from the bathroom. Dumas decorated the white and black area with a teak ladder that he designed out of material found in rice paddies in Indonesia. “The workers in rice paddies used to prod cows with hand-carved posts made out of teakwood,” he states. “I inserted hooks to the timber and produced a series of ladders and ramps.”
Dumas profited from the previous homeowner’s recent kitchen makeover. He personalized the oven with uniformly reddish collective accessories and items.
Cabinets: Ädel Birch, Ikea
A movable kitchen island creates practical use of the floor area. A recycled aluminum tile, among the first tiles made by Dumas’ company, DXU, rests against the wall. “It’s my way of hanging items,” he says, laughing.
Wall tile: Komodo Series, DXU, Dumas Umemoto; cabinets: Ädel Birch, Ikea
With front and rear doors almost always open, this house has become what Dumas calls for a “cat highway.” “My house is your direct route from the park into the rear alley,” he states. “Cats love to just wander through my house. Often cats will subsequently bring other cats to show them how good it really is.”
Dumas made the patio tables out of tabletops brought back from Mexico, adding custom-designed iron legs beneath.
The medley of colors in the garden — and of course that the hammock — provides the space a playful vibe significant to Dumas and his loved ones. Some of his favorite memories were produced out in this garden: playing basketball baseball with his son, watching his daughter utilize a Hula-Hoop and juggling with the two of them.
For this Zen garden area, Dumas made this lounge chair, which can be made of used bicycle tires.
The front garden and vivid redbrick facade echo the exotic elements inside. Dumas’ treasured element, though, is outdoors. “The park is exactly what brought me into the house to begin with,” he states. “It has become a part of the house. I prefer to keep the doors open to bring nature inside.” He and his children spend their days in the park across the road, taking walks, going ice skating and having picnics. “It’s our garden,” Dumas says.
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