This Montreal Mansion For Rent Is A Retro Fever Dream Come To Life (PHOTOS)
The man behind the vision, Emmanuel Hébert, has big plans for the future.
Manoir Blackswan is a living time capsule that sprung from the mind of Emmanuel Hébert, a Montreal antique dealer whose passion for the past is only outmatched by his eye for the extraordinary. And you can revel in it all — for a price.
The curated collection features flamingo pinks, malachite greens and gilded curios dating back to the 1800s.David Rawalia | MTL Blog
"What's so special about the space is you can't find any of these pieces anywhere else," Hébert explained, walking around his curiosity-filled living room. The high-shine checkered marble floor gleams under a constellation of chandeliers.
Each object has a tale of its own, and most have travelled far before finding a place in the manor. Hébert sources most of his treasures from Montreal and Toronto, cities rich in the spoils of Canada's history, although many originate from across the globe.
An eight-foot bamboo birdcage in one corner came from a woman who spent 30 years in China, while a pair of towering copper palm tree lamps from an Iranian family turn another corner into a chic oasis.
Five-foot wall sconces, weighing 180 pounds each, that once graced the lobby of the Royal York in downtown Toronto. Right: A close-up of the hand-carved stone mantel.David Rawalia | MTL Blog, @manoirblackswan | Instagram
"Almost three-fourths of the richest population in Canada used to live in Montreal from the 1840s to the 1940s,” he said. “People from Scotland, France, England… they brought all their stuff into Montreal, so it's the place to find crazy antiques."
More than a collection of forgotten trinkets, however, Manoir Blackswan is a stage that can be rented out for content production. Its three storeys have been featured in movie scenes, its hand-painted walls have echoed the rhymes of rap videos, and its carefully curated oddities have served as props for Quebec television shows.
A bear head rug in front of the fireplace.David Rawalia | MTL Blog
The grandeur of the Montreal mansion is a testament to countless artists who've contributed their craftsmanship to the space, including an Ontarian taxidermist, Chinese stone carvers, and a team of Italian plasterers who created cornices and other architectural details in the building. Each door handle is intricately carved, made of solid bronze, and dates back to the 19th century.
The crowning glory of the main entrance is a fireplace sculpted from blocks of Nero Marquina marble based on Hébert's own drawings — the elaborate stonework done by a family of artisans in China.
Nearby is the creature that inspired the manor's name — a black swan. Revered for its rarity and beauty, it stands as a symbol of the bold, unexpected, and mysterious. The black swan is an outcast that embodies Hébert's knack for seeing beauty where others might not.
Hébert and his black swan tattoo next to the manor namesake.David Rawalia | MTL Blog
Many pieces in the space, like a set of swan head faucets, were once discarded. "An old guy just renovating his home had these in his garage — really nice and solid brass. He was kicking them when he showed them to me! Each set used to be worth at least three grand," said Emmanuel, who bought them for a few hundred bucks.
A gorgeous set of Art Deco lighting fixtures was also found in the garbage, only to be sold for a handsome sum of 30 grand to a buyer in Australia. "The wife of the guy who found them was telling him to leave the trash alone, and what he found was one of the rarest models of all Art Deco lighting fixtures from the 1930s," Emmanuel recounts, a testament to the value of knowledge in his trade.
He even plans to open his own antique institute to teach people the tricks it took him years to learn. "I'm trying to create something that I would have loved to have available to me when I first began," he said.
Even the powder room at Manoir Blackswan is a testament to Hébert's quirky taste and humour. "Everything's green, and at night, you feel like you're doing magic mushrooms in this room. It's really cool," he laughed. "I wanted a room that can make you high without being high. This is how I think — welcome to my world!"
With Airbnbs and hotels often following the same slick white, minimalist look, Manoir Blackswan is a breath of fresh air. "You go anywhere in the world, and a lot of design is starting to look the same. I wanted to break from that," said Hébert.
Hébert in the living with an eye-catching baggage cart visible by the window.David Rawalia | MTL Blog
Manoir Blackswan doesn't fall into any one definition. Hébert describes his style as "eclectic," blending kitsch flamingos from Miami with regal gold and glass Coco Chanel tables that originated in the '60s. Part personal collection, part showroom extension, not everything is for sale, however.
Take the ornate baggage cart by one window: "Two guys from France rented the Airbnb, went out and got drunk. They stole the cart from a hotel and 'skateboarded' on it to the Airbnb. Then they left the next morning," said Hébert.
"The Airbnb owner was so upset, finding this he sold me the piece for 75 bucks on Marketplace. It's worth like $2,500. It's solid brass!" Emmanuel exclaimed. "The guys actually left a note, that's how we got the story. So I can't sell this thing. The story behind it is too good. It's bigger than the piece itself, you know?"
The butter-coloured tea room with hand-painted walls.@manoirblackswan | Instagram
And just when you think Manoir Blackswan couldn't get any more impressive, there's the upstairs. The second floor has an array of bedrooms and a bathroom with a clawfoot tub. The nearby walk-in rainfall shower alone is the size of your average 3.5 apartment in Montreal.
Down the hall, the tea room is a tranquil space with a calming aura that invites relaxation. The walls of this room are graced by the artwork of Montreal's Sonia Laurin. Her hand-painted flower and bird design lends an organic touch to the space.
Hanging from the ceiling, an array of floral-themed chandeliers radiate a soft light, their crystal components creating an ethereal and enchanting atmosphere.
Hébert reflected in two mirrors next to a dog statue, a dress form and an antique cabinet.David Rawalia | MTL Blog
Then, there is a props room, a repository of historical objects from different periods and parts of the world that's like stepping into a museum.
And at the end of the hall, a gothic room with plush red velvet furniture and a king-sized four-poster bed. The old bed was found in a cottage nestled in an obscure forest near the GTA. Hébert described a memorable drive in an oversized truck on a narrow gravel road, the waterfront destination an isolated paradise. "The truly unique pieces are often found with equally unique people living in unique places," he said.
"Each room really has its own vibe," said Hébert. "I'm always aiming to push the limit of my imagination, try something new and see how it goes. The manor is always evolving as I buy new pieces."
The wood-carved king-sized four-poster bed in the red gothic room.Sofia Misenheimer | MTL Blog
Hébert is charting an exciting path for the future, laying plans to build an on-site private art gallery as the second phase of his ongoing project. The unveiling, scheduled for 2024, is not only set to make an impact on the local art scene but also aims to redefine event hosting in the area.
Designed to accommodate over 250 guests, the gallery will prominently feature the distinctive works of artist Stéphane Marceau, whose international representation Hébert personally oversees.
The manor's existing configuration, densely packed with precious antiques, poses challenges for hosting larger crowds. The forthcoming art gallery promises to resolve those constraints with a spacious design, perfect for more substantial gatherings. The entire property is already a well-fortified haven, which will soon be complete with an electric gate and sturdy brick wall.
Props in an upstairs room.David Rawalia | MTL Blog
Despite his grand surroundings, Hébert's charm and affability remain undimmed. His passion for the manor is palpable in his enthusiastic sharing of its history with visitors.
Manoir Blackswan stands as an emblem of an era gone by, breathing life into objects once deemed worthless and inviting you to find joy in the unusual. Whether you are a film director seeking an unforgettable backdrop, a curious soul wanting to immerse yourself in the captivating narratives of old, or simply someone looking for a unique location for a special event, you can rent this extraordinary space for $250 per hour (minimum two hours).
If you indulge in its beauty, Manoir Blackswan is sure to weave its magic around you.
This might be the most unique home in all of Montreal! Manoir Blackswan is a living time capsule that sprung from the mind of Emmanuel Hébert, a Montreal antique dealer whose passion for the past is only outmatched by his eye for the extraordinary. And you can revel in it all — for a price. ✨🏡 #mtl #montreal #mtltiktok #realestate #antiques #antiquehomedecor #interiordesign #victorianhome #mansiontour #montrealrealestate
Where: 72, rue Mc Comber, Châteauguay, QC
Cost: $250/hour (minimum two hours)
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