Photos Adrien Williams
Built into a hillside on the shores of Lake Memphremagog, this contemporary home is the ideal place to enjoy festive gatherings with friends or revel in the absolute serenity of a forest hideaway.
This building’s primary purpose is to bring people together. “On annual trips to California with friends, we discovered the joys of spending time together in extraordinary homes. Thinking it would be possible to recreate this environment in Quebec, we asked architecture firm Nature Humaine to make it the top priority when we decided to build our own house,” explains the owner. Passionate about snow sports, the thirty-something owner and his spouse also wanted a place to have fun.
Architects Stéphane Rasselet and Fanny Guigon therefore arranged the space with this in mind, giving the driveway a concrete finish suitable for skateboarding. The locations of the house and recreational areas, like trails for snowboarding, were chosen to preserve the undergrowth and avoid cutting down any trees. The building’s roof calls to mind mountain peaks as well as modern cathedral ceilings, a nod to the nearby Saint-Benoît-du-Lac Abbey.
The owners also wanted to maximize views of the water. “The property has a relatively steep slope, with the lake to the northwest. We had to find a way to take advantage of the panoramic views and bring in light at the same time. This inspired the idea of creating three major volumes for three distinct living spaces, connected by a central hub. We extended the roofs and added huge skylights facing south to bring in natural light,” explains Rasselet.
Concrete floors, AtelierB; lighting, Lambert & Fils; steel elements, François Béroud
Steel elements, François Béroud; kitchen cabinets, Crul Design
Steel elements, François Béroud; stairs, Crul Design
The solid oak stairways cuts through the floor, landing delicately on the lower level. The client wanted a minimalist, uncluttered interior that was nonetheless comfortable. Heated floors and the fluidity of spaces provide this comfort.
The stainless steel roofs are sloped, creating an interesting dynamic inside and outside. The first volume houses the common areas, anchored by a central steel-plated fireplace connecting the living room, dining room, and kitchen. The kitchen is equipped with a wood-burning stove, the epitome of cosiness.
Vanity, Crul Design
The second volume holds the studio-office, characterized by vertical proportions, a skylight, and wood-clad walls. The sleeping area in the third volume has a children’s bedroom and the master suite. “Being in our bedroom is like being in the forest itself, facing the lake. It’s amazing,” raves the owner.
Just as the homeowner wished, the common areas provide space for the hosts and their guests to spend memorable moments together. That being said, the private areas are designed so everyone can enjoy their privacy. Facing the garden, the lower level houses the guest rooms, each with its own sliding glass door directly to the outside. “By taking a modular approach, we made each area independent while directing them all towards the lake,” explains Fanny Guigon. The owner finds the end result magnificent in every respect, and never tires of following the constantly moving sun as it reflects off the lake and onto the ceiling.