Linebox Studio – Butcher House

The Story

This project saw the conversion of a 19th century butcher shop (with heritage designation) into a single family residence. The renovation / addition project had to meet the strict criteria imposed by its Ottawa heritage designation imparted on the buildings front facade and massing. The desire of the clients was was to design a fresh, clean and modern renovation / addition while working with and respecting the boundaries imposed by the existing home and its connection with the past.
Designing a contemporary addition to an existing 1908 neighborhood butcher shop it was both interesting and conceptually heavy. We paid close attention to be progressive while also respecting and reusing elements of the old structure and the history of the place.

The design includes elements such as a sunken fire place with a surrounding social space. The proximity of the interior garden to the exterior garden creates a sense of connection to the outdoors. We also wanted to reclaim some of the existing materials that cladded the walls and ceilings of the old butcher shop to bring back some of the character of the original building while also designing new forms and functions that expressed the current owners.

Owners Notes

We knew, at some point, that our duplex needed to become something – something better than what it was – a run-down, quirky little building that squatted defiantly on a sidewalk in quietly posh New Edinburgh. We needed a vision. Before Andrew, we invited other architects over to get their opinions on what best to do with the former butcher store. The excited glow in their eyes and streams of ideas coming from their designer minds confirmed what we knew – the former little butcher store had potential.

After meeting Andrew, we knew we had the makings of a great working relationship. He took our ideas and must-have lists and incorporated many into the design. We were aware of the stringent rules of this heritage area that is New Edinburgh, and opted to maintain the original footprint with a modest addition in the back. We were happy to go with the commercial feel the building had, and Andrew designed a very streamlined, modern “über cool” dwelling. From the moment you open the front door, you are looking through many panes of glass, right through to the backyard. That vision, created by Andrew, was hard to comprehend by looking at drawings. When that front entrance materialized, it was easy to see the talent behind the vision.

Windows throughout the house bend the sunlight, giving the open concept layout, architectural definition. The “fire pit” invites visitors to cosy-up with a glass of wine and contemplate the double-sided fireplace. An atrium-style interior garden located in the middle of the ground floor will be occupied by a tree or palm that will reach up through two storeys, towards a large skylight. The commercial style kitchen in cool blues, stainless steel and charcoal grey is juxtaposed by the old-world warmth of a butcher block, specially constructed to honour the house’s humble beginnings. The dining area sits beside an exterior wall, cut with windows of all shapes and sizes. Upstairs, squared-off, dingy spaces have become bright bedrooms, gleaming bathrooms and a luxurious master bedroom with ensuite.

To say we love the new Butcherhouse sounds cliché. But we do. The Butcherhouse still sits on the sidewalk, but now it sits up proud with a definite attitude! Thanks Andrew.

  • Ugur G.

    THAT FIREPLACE is superb!

  • Brad W

    Ugur G – I keep seeing people dressed in tie dyed t-shirts, beads and birkenstocks lounging around that fire pit listening to old Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young records – there is a tell tale smell in the air…very cool space

  • Brad W

    Of course, much later in the evening the fire pit becomes a trip hazard for guests no longer able to see or walk straight…

  • Andrew – Linebox


    Believe it our not but I was pushing the client to install “old school” shag carpet in the sunk-in fireplace pit (orange or orange). It was always a running joke but now I wonder :-)

  • Bruce

    Possibly after a full bottle of wine I could cozy up in this fire pit and contemplate the double-sided fireplace. :)