On the heritage Opeongo Road at the historic Crown Point, the site is on the shores of, and commands incredible views of, the “Great River” and the Gatineau Hills beyond.
The existing house, a rather tarnished folly with diagonal siding, related to nothing. However, the family had grown up there creating a fondness born from both the site and the collective family memory. Several “special spots” were preserved, requiring a sensitive approach using the family’s collective memory as the foundation of the transformed home’s design. These spaces include a quaint living room with fireplace, made into a quiet but bright reading zone, with new oversized cantilevered bay window looking directing the view to the adjacent forest. The owners wanted their memories to be evolved and improved, not brusquely cast aside.
We established the assignment to be our harmonious blending of new program, owner needs, and connection of the space to the natural site, improving the advantages of the views while preserving portions, culminating in the creation of an enlarged place around which family experiences could continue to evolve.
The primary organizing element of the design is the new “Atrium”, a 2.5-storey glass and cedar pole angular volume that weaves together the two main wings of the home. The Atrium serves as the new family entry, encloses the dramatic new stairwell that overlooks the river below, and at the same time, connects the new Great Room (created by opening up several smaller spaces) to the new Master Suite. It is also a focal point for the Master Suite itself, while providing an integral private bright reading nook. The Atrium also functions as a “light vessel”: pouring natural southwest light into the north-facing, light-challenged home by day and becoming a huge shining beacon for passing sailors or dock loungers by night.
The majestic trees on site inspired the raw log pole structure which knits together the new and old. It brings the forest literally indoors, softening and informalizing the sophisticated new finishes palette chosen. The finishes were designed cohesively with the architecture, and possess visual flexibility to comfortably accommodate the client’s eclectic furniture.
Features include a two-way fireplace separating/connecting Master bedroom from Jacuzzi bath, sun porch with woodstove perched at the edge of the cliff, terracing decks to waterside hydraulic docks, complete with illuminated handrail and oversized hot tub, and open kitchen, dining, family room that face the views and are modulated with various columns, counters, skylights, special fixtures and other architectural devices.