Does the essence of a place have an effect on creation? This is what Judith Lussier believes, owner with his wife Marie-Andrée Labbé of an exceptional apartment where they laid the foundations of the popular series STAT.
It’s been six years since the couple left the Plateau Mont-Royal to move into this condominium located in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighborhood, just steps from vibrant Ontario Street. With the air of a loft without being completely one, the two-bedroom apartment with high ceilings saw the birth (or end) of three recent hits on Quebec television. It was in the office set up in the center of the space that Marie-Andrée Labbé, screenwriter, wrote the texts for the series Trop (season 3), Sans rendez-vous and STAT, the new daily series from Radio-Canada which has attracted over 1 million viewers in its first season.
Journalist and author, Judith Lussier assists him with research and takes charge of communications with consultants, a full-time job, given the complexity of the program which takes place in a hospital environment. “We work side by side. We’re like office mates! says Judith Lussier, while Marie-Andrée Labbé is in New York to recharge her batteries between two projects.
With its high ceilings, sleek style, staggered layout and skylight, the place (a former commercial space, possibly a convenience store) calls for inspiration. “In a library, there are reasons why the ceilings are high: the mind can navigate, there is space,” remarks Judith Lussier.
For her, it was also a “repair house”. So fresh out of a depression, the move was synonymous with a fresh start. “It is a house that repaired me. And Marie, it is a house that inspired her. We like to honor him. Every time she does a series, I have the posters framed because I think it’s nice to see what she’s done. »
When they arrived, the apartment had a very different style. Rented on Airbnb or for filming, it was more a place to party than write, with its colored LED lights, epoxy-coated concrete floor, disco ball, and glowing floor that evokes a pedestrian crossing (always present !). “It was very flashy Airbnb,” recalls Judith Lussier. You come to spend a weekend here and it’s funny. For us, for our energy, that’s not exactly what we wanted. Or else STAT would have been completely different. “It would have spelled District!” “, she says, laughing.
But the configuration of the space, both original and well thought out, with a large open area delimited by landings, appealed to them.
To put it to their liking, they called on the designers of the Catherine Catherine studio. In addition to adding custom storage furniture and a bench seat, they have fitted out a vestibule that provides a transition between the outside and the inside and allows visitors to adjust their perceptions. From the outside, the building looks unremarkable with its brown brick facade aligned with the sidewalk, a contrast that has always appealed to owners.
“I liked that aspect because I’ve always considered that we’re newcomers to the neighborhood,” says Judith Lussier. The neighborhood is popular, we don’t feel like being “fresh shit” with our 2 million dollar facade. We like that it goes a little unnoticed, it does not clash. »
Judith Lussier dreamed of this apartment for a year. When she found out, Marie-Andrée Labbé was not ready to move. A year later, noticing that it was still on the market, they visited it together and it was a crush.
“We really had a blast here. We are happy with where we are going, but we still really like the house. We liked everything. We’ve been fine. “ Sam too, their little dog from Kosovo, who shares their life and their apartment which has no courtyard, but is advantageously located in front of a park.
If they chose to leave it, between writing two seasons of STAT, it is because the open space is no longer suitable for the demanding writing of a daily series. “Marie works crazy hours. I undo the dishwasher, I bother her. It’s fun because it’s like a collaborative space and we work together, but we needed to separate the areas a little more. »
It is therefore in another place and in another district that the adventures of Manu, Isa, Philippe, Éric and the patients of Saint-Vincent Hospital will be put on paper. “Creating STAT is an Olympic discipline,” continues Judith Lussier. There, we settle down to do that for a while, we don’t know for how many years. We have fun, success, knock on wood. The public gives it back to us, it’s cool. »
Asking price: $730,000
Year built: 1919
Description: Apartment in undivided condominium with a loft spirit refurbished by the designers of Catherine Catherine. Located on the ground floor, it has two closed bedrooms, a large open area on three levels, an unfinished basement and a garage with a small workshop overlooking a snow-cleared alley in winter.
Living area: 1910 ft2
Municipal assessment of the building (for the two undivided co-ownership units in 2021): $901,300
Common costs: $2077/year
Property tax (2023): $3289
School tax (2023): $371
Real Estate Broker: Olivier Mailloux-Bertrand, EXP Real Estate Agency