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Into the woods

OVERLOOKING LAC DES ÉCORCES, THIS COUNTRY HOME DESIGNED BY DAOUST LESTAGE, COMBINES CEDAR, STEEL AND GLASS IN PERFECT HARMONY WITH THE SURROUNDING LAURENTIAN LANDSCAPE.

Like a secret cabin in the woods, the house stands hidden behind a curtain of hemlocks and cedars. And although it was built in 1998 by Daoust Lestage, architecture design urbain, it shows little signs of age. The multilevel design accommodates the slope of the land and provides a breathtaking view of the lake and the forest in every season.

The unique, heavily wooded site influenced the layout as well as the choice of building materials. “We wanted the house to fit the character of the place,” explains Renée Daoust. “When you arrive, a walkway leads to the top floor, immersing you immediately in nature.” Vertical construction made it possible to reveal different aspects of the landscape at every level: first, a bird’s eye view as you pass from the walkway to the deck; then, a dramatic overview as you descend the indoor spiral staircase surrounded by huge windows; finally, the panorama at lake level is breathtaking, enjoyed on the long wooden stairway down to the dock.

The architecture is simple, streamlined and powerful. “We like to do research to make sure our projects pass the test of time. The idea is to forget the architecture so that it simply becomes timeless.” The building materials were chosen for the same reason: western cedar for the exterior, structural steel and lots of glass. Continuity is created by using the same materials indoors, along with slate for the floor.

Such peaceful harmony with nature encourages relaxation. The functional rooms, such as the little office, the kitchen and the bathroom—all on the road side of the house—are easily forgotten as you sit on the sofa looking out at the lake. The absence of a television and electronic gadgets further ensures a Zen-like calm. At dusk, when the sun reflects off the waves, making the light dance across the living room ceiling, the true spirit of this Daoust Lestage creation comes to life.

Into the woods – e-mag