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Butler House, Ottawa. When re-installing the jaunty glass block windows in the vestibule after insulating the wall, the couple had to “struggle with the contractor and the carpenter” to get them framed in the simple way they were originally.

Danielle Jones

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‘During our five year house hunt, I was walking around with this [Marcel Breuer] book under my arm, and James would say ‘You’re torturing yourself, give it up,’” laughs Ms. Jones. “I didn’t start off looking for a Modernist house because in Toronto that would be torturing yourself. We’ve met a lot of architects in the course of our whole [restoration] process, and they all get excited about vintage Modernism,” says Ms. Jones, “and they’re all very happy to recommend their own specialists.

Danielle Jones

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The kitchen/dining room. The dining set is original to the house, purchased from the estate of Mrs. Butler.

Danielle Jones

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Pointing out the Butler family’s built in hi-fi speakers in the living room cabinetry, Ms. Jones says they ‘worked for about a day: we put a Frank Sinatra record on, and it played two songs and then it cut out.’ While some of the trim on the big, built-in white oak unit in the living room is peeling, the couple has “a wood guy who’s going to give us a consult and help us figure out how to recondition it without ruining it…it’s the guy who did the Museum of Nature.”

Danielle Jones

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The studio. About architect John Donkin, who helped the couple design their lower level workspace, Ms. Jones says ‘he was sympathetic to the house from the get-go; ironically he had been up and down this street many times, but with all the foliage he had never seen the house.’

Danielle Jones

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There are so many trees on the half-acre lot, the couple says, ‘We don’t see the street in the summer.’

Danielle Jones

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The living room. Says Mr. Laish about the window hardware: “What’s amazing is these 50-year-old hinges, with a little bit of elbow grease and grease, are all working.”

Danielle Jones

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The built-ins.

Danielle Jones

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There are no hallways in this 1964 home. Rather, rooms ‘pinch in’ to allow circulation: ‘The hallways become hallways when we’re walking through the house like this,’ says Ms. Jones as she moves past the window-wall from the living room to the master bedroom behind the fireplace, ‘but when you’re sitting in the living room, they disappear, so there’s a sense of enhanced space.’

Danielle Jones

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When they first bought the Butler residence in 2009, the couple wanted to change a number of things. “But as we lived in the house, we moved really slowly and we’re grateful for that because the logic of the house slowly reveals itself over time,” says Mr. Laish, “and it’s such a pleasure now to have this both as a livable house, but as a valid document of its time, upstairs, and then downstairs we have what we need to work in a modern way.”

Danielle Jones

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Both artists, the couple admits that ‘“living in a glass house has changed the way we relate to objects; we don’t have the need for visual stimulus,’ says Mr. Laish. ‘It would be ridiculous, in this house, to hang a picture on the wall of a landscape!’

Danielle Jones

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Winter dusk.

Danielle Jones

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