Northern Architecture and Simple Interior Design
We have known these clients and have worked on house projects together for several years. We began with a small basement bathroom in 2009, then the kitchen in 2010, the ground floor bathroom in 2012, and an outdoor deck.
After the sale of their main residence in Saint-Laurent, the clients acquired a cottage at the northern end of Archambault Lake in Saint-Donat, a picturesque, south-facing site with about 100 m of private beach.
A renovation project: dreams become reality
Since the cottage was built on a wetland, we could not enlarge the perimeter. Our only option was to include the sunroom inside and keep the current shape of the house.
Understanding client requirements
Transforming a cottage into a main residence
- A warm, inviting space for hosting a large family
- A restful place for contemplating nature
Having already built a strong relationship with these clients, we were able to propose a concept reflecting our contemporary inspirations. Our first idea was to inundate the interior with natural light and work with soft, airy textures.
The starting point for our colour scheme and materials was a local tree species: the northern white cedar. Over time, this siding will develop a silver hue on the outside while keeping a blonde colouring on the inside. In addition to the external siding, we used this wood in structural features such as the staircase, the main beam, and the living room ceiling.
The porcelain on the floors (heated floors) was chosen to reflect sunlight and pull the natural surroundings into the interior: the white floor draws in the beach in the summer and the snow in the winter.
Accents in green glass were determined by the nearby conifers that we wanted interpreted into our artificial environment. And why not use coloured glass! Clear glass is often used in contemporary spaces to define different areas while maintaining a sense of continuity; in this case, we wanted to take this technique to another level.
Dimensions and interior space
We integrated the sunroom with the interior environment while preserving its separate status. We covered the walls and ceiling in white cedar like the house’s exterior to make the area into an intermediary space between outdoor activities and household comfort.
To enhance this feeling of comfort and relaxation, we reoriented the existing fireplace toward the sunroom and added a gas fireplace on the living room side.
The particularity of interior designers is that they work from human experience toward design and not vice versa. Sometimes, it is by designing kitchens and bathrooms that we better reflect our clients’ daily uses and ergonomic comfort. We demonstrate our strength in authenticity and our respect for clients and their environment.
In the bathroom, we avoided a shower curb by incorporating a linear drain—and the heated floor continues uninterrupted. It’s a simple, harmonious adjustment, but one that requires a general contractor with an open mind and effective communication throughout the team.
The bath is next to the window with a view of the marsh behind the house. Hooks were added nearby for robes.
As soon as we conceive of spaces, we talk to clients so that they can visualize them as clearly as possible in the utmost detail, and we discuss real-life situations and uses to achieve a harmonious daily life once the project had been completed. Meetings take place at the home in question but also in our studio. This way, clients see the whole team that is involved and our designers’ commitment to our ongoing projects.
The kitchen was an economic masterstroke. It has a laminated countertop and a trendy look despite its affordable materials. Even though we love luxury, modernity, and noble materials, it is important to firmly establish a financial framework for projects and use all our creativity to develop a successful design.
Typically, high-end kitchens have counters in quartz or natural stone, but here we refaced the cabinets on the counter and avoided several thousand dollars in expenses.
Integrating the range hood with the counter allowed us to keep the open view over the lake, which was a high priority for the clients.
In the end, we have a calm, serene environment with a modern spaciousness—an authentic design.
Relationship with the clients during this project
Trust, attentiveness, and commitment
Jan. to April 2016 Finishing and decoration
Sept. to Dec. 2015 Complete renovation
August 2015 Demolition
July 2015 Adding services: septic tanks, wells, and so on.
Sept. 2014 to June 2015 Reflection period and stepping back from the project, decision to go ahead with the 2 phases
2013–2014 Programming and design
2013 Acquisition of cottage in fall 2013
Upcoming (Phase 2)
The family is growing and would like to turn the attic into a loft bedroom. This step of the transformation was initially planned, but there was not yet a need to use this space. It could potentially be recreated through the years.
The family is observing their use of space and we’ll see if it makes sense to expand the living area into the attic.
Every year we sign 2–3 special projects that directly involve the interior designers Frédric Clairoux and Julie Lafontaine so they can offer exceptional, personalized service attentive to the project’s superior quality.
Renovation & Extension
1,400 square feet
between $300,000 and $350,000
September 2013 to September 2016