Original title: Perfect symbiosis
Photos : Maxime Brouillet
Located in Saint-Faustin–Lac-Carré in Quebec’s laurentian region, domaine Valdurn offers amazing lake views amid lush greenery. It is also the site of this amazing home with a unique spatial design.
Architects, Loukas Yiacouvakis and Marie-Claude Hamelin of the firm YH2
General contractor, Sébastien Turcot
On one side, a long walkway reminiscent of a suspended bridge connects the house to the road. On the other, a flight of eighty steps built into the hillside leads down to the lake. The owners enjoy perfect tranquillity both outside and inside their home, which is one with nature. Lovers of winter sports and the Laurentian Mountains, they were immediately charmed by the steep location. “Although we knew it would be challenging to build on a site like this, it offered a forest setting close enough to Montreal for us to come on the weekends and host our future grandchildren,” notes the owner.
The couple contacted their friends, architects Loukas Yiacouvakis and Marie-Claude Hamelin of the firm YH2. “My husband and I have always said that we would call on them if we ever built a home, because they have tremendous respect for the land on which they work,” she maintains. In the beginning, the couple wanted to build a small house for themselves and a separate guest house, but Domaine Valdurn does not allow this type of construction. The design was then reworked to set aside one section of the house for guests. As the homeowner explains, the base of the house consists of two large concrete blocks, one for guests and the other for a spa. These blocks are connected by the main living area, which appears to float in the landscape. “If we had constructed a single large building on sloping ground, we would have gotten in the way of nature. The creation of separate units is not only functional, it creates a flow. The land between the two foundations at the spa level also provides an outlet for runoff water,” explains Yiacouvakis, who considers the site a jewel-like setting of mature trees growing from the rocks. “The basic idea was to preserve nature and feel immersed in it when inside the home. That is why we used the same materials on the exterior and interior; doing so blurs the lines between inside and out.”
Mahogany and corten steel are some of the materials selected to complement the colours of nature.
The concrete cladding on the exterior walls of the lower units and the floor in the sauna area is reminiscent of limestone boulders. “I dreamed of having a sauna and spa and now there is a large open shower where our future grandchildren can play,” remarks the homeowner. The idyllic location is perfect for recharging while enjoying the pleasures and benefits of the water and sauna. The upper levels of the house are very bright because they are nearly as high as the treetops. The master suite on the top floor and the common area housing the living room, dining room and kitchen receive a lot of natural light. Surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, the living area features a ceiling and floor of sapele (African mahogany), which imbues the space with warmth and reinforces the feeling of being in the middle of the woods. “We originally wanted to use Western Canadian pine, but the price was exorbitant, so we went with sapele instead,” says the owner. The stairwell is in African mahogany as well, and the floating stairs, which blend right in, are anchored only with steel cables that also serve as railings. Numerous pot lights and delicate pendants above the island and dining room table provide lighting when the sun has set, creating a magic atmosphere inside the home and emphasizing its unusual architectural lines.