Original title : In the heart of nature
Photos : André Doyon
Perched on a hillside in the middle of a forest, this completely renovated home now takes full advantage of the view outside and the abundant local wildlife.
The owners had long been looking for a heavily forested property close to services before buying this home. “We immediately fell in love with the site, and thought of building a glass curtain wall in the house. Our idea was to take the basement, which was level with the garden, and use it for the common areas that were originally on the ground floor. It was quite low, so we opened it up to double the ceiling height,” explains the owner. Under the leadership of architect Maurice Martel and design firm Desjardins Bherer, everything was redesigned so the inhabitants could commune with nature.
“In the main living room, matching sofas can accommodate several guests, without obscuring the view. The clients wanted a television and a fireplace, which is always a challenging combination. We thought of making a large floating module to connect these two elements, creating a lovely harmonious effect,” reveals interior designer Marc Bherer, who used black concrete to clad the fireplace and an outdoor storage unit to create a link between inside and outside. The ceramic tiles on the floor contrast with the oak ceiling. In the upper levels of the house, the same wood is used for the floors, storage built-ins and the module next to the stairs, creating a warm atmosphere.
Ethereal and sculptural, the pendant light over the dining room table is as beautiful from the bottom as it is from the top.
The main entrance on the ground floor faces an open riser staircase. “The former staircase was made of solid black granite. We wanted the new one to be open, to lighten the space. With the current design, now you can see into the yard as soon as you enter the house,” notes Bherer. The unusual entrance level has several functional areas: a central module includes a powder room and mudroom, while a den cum library has central doors hiding an office. “We reorganized the lines of the mezzanine by making straighter angles and creating storage space, which creates a feeling of continuity between the lower and upper floors,” notes the designer, who used the space under the entryway to build the kitchen. The low ceiling makes this area cosy and provides for more effective lighting.
The new architectural volumes were designed to maximize views of the surrounding landscape, including from the master bedroom. “To enter the master, you pass through an antechamber used as a walk-in closet. The owners wanted to leave this area open to provide an unobstructed view of the outside,” says Bherer. The bathtub in the ensuite bathroom overlooks the garden, while the floating vanity and built-in mirrored medicine cabinet offer refined aesthetics and perfect function.
Thanks to the new layout, the pool is now only steps away from the living room. “Originally, the pool was far from the house; it was complicated to get there,” notes the owner. The large covered patio with outdoor kitchen and seating area offers ample opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. The client remarks, “There are deer, groundhogs, raccoons and lots of squirrels around; we feel as if we are guests among all these creatures and are privileged to live here.