After having spent a lifetime living in a modest mid-century house, this couple had grown tired of dealing with poor energy efficiency, leaks, and structural deficiencies. They had, however, fallen in love with their lot bordering the Gatineau Park only minutes from downtown.
They had made it very clear that they wanted a contemporary and minimalist house that would stand out from the traditional suburban homes surrounding it. This client immediately grabbed our interest with his bold tastes. We knew, however, that a certain balance needed to be achieved between minimalism and comfort in order to retain the feeling of warmth to be expected when entering a home. Proximity to the forest also had a significant impact on the design. We made use of wood ceilings as well as exposed certain structural elements, such as the metal beams and Douglas fir supports, to achieve the desired balance of warmth, simplicity and durability.
We found that designing the main living spaces on the second level as open lofts optimized the house’s connection with the forest by setting the surrounding treetops as a backdrop to everyday living. A generous terrace and an overhanging roof extend beyond the living room. This provides year-round exterior space and has the added benefit of favoring heat gains in the winter and providing shade in the summer. In the winter, the dark tile floor functions in accordance with the Trombe principal, absorbing solar energy during the day and releasing it at night in the form of radiation.
Despite, boasting over 350 m2 (3600 ft2 ) of 3-4m (10-14ft)ceilings, high grade finishes, full basement and a garage, the house was completed on a budget of less than $450,000 due to the design approach and rigor of the construction management.