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Sleek Extension of 1880s House Grows Around a Poplar Tree in the Backyard

Neat!

There are lots of ways to go about designing a fabulous home extension, and sometimes a key piece of inspiration could be right in your backyard. Take Canadian firm Microclimat's recent project in Montreal, which involved the expansion of a circa-1885 rowhouse. The glassy addition, which includes an angled and cantilevered top-story reading nook and master bedroom, clearly shows respect to the large poplar tree on one side of the yard, giving it room to breathe and, in a way, interact with the revamped building.

A key organizing feature of the renovated home is the new open steel staircase zig-zagging up and down the floors, a satisfying visual complement to the tall tree on the other side of the glass walls. Take a closer look.