Woodland Wonder

December, 2016


Olivier Bourgeois and Regis Lechasseur, founders of Bourgeois Lechasseur Architects In 2010, Olivier Bourgeois and Régis Lechasseur decided to combine their complimentary strengths and open their architect firm in Québec. The firm has been showcased in several publications throughout the world. In 2011, London’s prestigious Wallpaper magazine ranked BOURGEOIS / LECHASSEUR ARCHITECTES among the Top 20 World Emerging Architectural Practices.

Architects Olivier Bourgeois and Régis Lechasseur created this beautiful family home in rural Quebec whose simplicity is destabilized by subtle shaping.

North Hatley

Photographs: Adrien Williams Location: North Hatley

"At our first meeting, the clients spoke of simplicity and an open view of the woods. They wanted a house that ‘looks like a house.’ They preferred a more traditional style, reminiscent of East Coast homes by the sea, standing like cedar-shingled ‘lighthouses,’ standing strong against the storms. These houses seem to rise up to view the horizon. From the beginning, we could see that they were open to contemporaneity and boldness, even though they wished to retain the traditional country style of North Hatley’s early homes. This duality between the traditional and the modern was our guide throughout the design,” say Olivier Bourgeois and Régis Lechasseur, architects behind this stunning property in the naturally beautiful Quebec city in Canada. Their firm Bourgeois Lechasseur Architects completed this family home in rural Quebec featuring a facade of cedar tiles.

The property is bordered by a stream, and the sound of the water is both soothing and inspiring. It is located at the end of a mountainous domain, close to the heart of the village of North Hatley. “When we first visited the property, we were charmed by the dense, leafy forest and deer close by,” say the architects. The winding ‘’Méandres’’ road leads to the property, and the project is nestled in one of its sharp curves.

A Room view
A room with a view
ample use of glass
The ample use of glass offers stunning views in the common areas of the home.
A stone island with wooden floors in the kitchen
A stone island with wooden floors in the kitchen.

Upon approach, the house has a strong presence, but its build and size give it a traditional look. Wandering through the property, the cedar seems to step back, allowing the indoors to mingle with the outdoors. “It is almost like a boat that has come to rest on the banks of a bend in the river. The house is nestled into the side of the mountain, as if it slid, stopping just before the chasm,” say the architects.The main floor literally opens into the forest, and the upper level seems to float above it. The screened-in room, a continuation of the glass wall, reaches toward the forest, drawing the stream closer.

The KL house, as it is referred to, has natural cedar siding and along with the tin roof, is reminiscent of some of North Hatley’s country homes. However, its elongated and streamlined shape contrasts subtly with the older, opulent homes on the lakeshore. The house and its adjacent garage have a simple and well-assumed volumetry and a slanted roof with a small overhang, but this simplicity is destabilized by subtle shaping. The overhanging upper level covers the porch and terrace, protecting the windowed rooms on the main floor from the summer heat.


wooden ceiling
The wooden ceiling creates a stunning visual illusion
The entrance hall
The entrance hall leads to a bright transition area that opens up vertically, providing a glimpse of the upper level and its cedar ceiling.
The bathroom is minimal with a clean design, wooden walls and an all-white bathtub.
kitchen overlooks the living space
The kitchen overlooks the living space and gets a great view of the woods.

The absence of mouldings highlights the authentic character of the natural cedar shingles. The trimmed area’s smooth cedar planks provide a contrast to the textured shingles. In both cases, cedar shingles were chosen for their orange hue, which adds a touch of warmth to the project. Bold, wide openings along the siding frame the inner scenery.

The entrance hall leads to a bright transition area that opens up vertically, providing a glimpse of the upper level and its cedar ceiling. The living areas flow through an open, longitudinal space that offers a constant view of the forest. Dark trims around the windows enliven the home’s long facade. This linear movement continues and folds indoors to house the living room. A change in shape creates the library and the foyer. This darker area contrasts nicely with the white walls and lustrous furniture. The wooden floors add a soft quality to the project. The open staircase invites the occupants to climb up. The upstairs walls are covered in cedar slats. An office area and long, low storage furnish the space. The bedrooms and bathroom are simple and discreet, each one providing a partial view of the landscape. A very large window in the master bedroom offers a glimpse of the lake through the trees. In response to the client’s wishes, the KL house looks “like a house” but also sets itself apart, in all simplicity, by re-interpreting the region’s early country homes.