PHOTOS STEVE MONTPETIT
BUILT ON A MAJESTIC TREE-COVERED LOT ON LAKE OF TWO MOUNTAINS, THIS HOUSE BLENDS GRACEFULLY INTO THE LANDSCAPE DESPITE ITS IMPOSING FOOTPRINT.
A long pathway lined with huge trees leads to the house. In fact, from a distance, you can hardly see it. “We were looking for a large lot by the water, and we wanted to stay on the island of Montreal. We’d lived on the West Island before, and though we’d already visited several other sites, we chose Senneville as it is easy to access the main roads. For us, this was the perfect compromise between city and country, so we don’t need a secondary residence,” says the owner. “We’d made it clear to the architect that we wanted a singlestorey house that would showcase the natural beauty of the site, bringing in as much natural light as possible, and focusing on the view of the lake.” The house that previously occupied the site was in poor condition, so they applied for a demolition permit and obtained permission to build a very different kind of structure. “Our approach was to suggest a contemporary project that would respect both the setting and the surrounding architectural heritage, which has protected status,” says architect Alexandre Blouin of Blouin Tardif Architectes.
The owners wanted a house that would be resolutely modern, yet timeless. The architect’s solution was to work in blocks, and use fine materials, such as limestone and local white cedar, even for the garage and parking area. The result: a harmonious, balanced whole. “There are lots of windows on the lake side, while the front façade is somewhat curved,” the architect explains.
Inside, the house is organized around a wide central corridor giving onto the main living area, with a double-height ceiling that magnifies the view of the water. The owner maintains, “We wanted our home to be extremely functional and modern, but warm and welcoming, too.” The wood ceiling amplifies the feeling of warmth, and creates a connection to the outdoors.
In the kitchen cum dining cum living room area, large textured floor tiles echo the limestone exterior and create a sense of continuity with the terrace. “We played with contrasts by putting a zinc panel over the whole back wall of the kitchen, which also hides the functional elements. The white cabinets in the cooking area subtly blend in, and there’s a service kitchen in the back. At the other end, you exit onto the veranda and the outside eating area,” says Blouin. Tapered fixtures illuminate the stone island and the dining table.
The furniture is proportionate to the generous spaces: a wood and leather corner couch in the living room, a massive table in the dining room. Large rooms require imposing elements to create a welcoming atmosphere, especially in such a streamlined setting, where opaque and clear glass predominate. “In the living room side, we have more limestone covering the fireplace wall, and the opposite side of the fireplace faces into the master bedroom. This area was designed as a private suite,” explains Blouin. In the bathroom, one glass divider partially encloses the shower, while a second sets the space slightly apart from the bedroom.
THE INFINITY POOL FEELS LIKE PART OF THE LANDSCAPE, FRAMED BY MATURE TREES. THE WOOD AND STONE SURROUNDINGS ECHO THE MATERIALS USED FOR THE HOUSE.
With natural light streaming in through the windows, the lakeside façade serves as an extension of the outdoors. The cedar ceiling in the summer living area provides protection from sun and rain and anchors the space, as with the interior. “Two trees were preserved between the pool and the house to connect the lush environment,” the architect recalls. At night, artificial lighting takes over. Obviously pleased with the end results, the owner states, “We were involved in every detail at every stage. We suggested other ideas, and our architects were very open and respectful. They listened, understood and respected our expectations. It was the same with the builder and the subcontractors—we worked closely with them. There was really a great feeling of teamwork and collaboration.”