This custom home sits on a steeply sloping forested site adjacent to the Gatineau River north of Ottawa-Gatineau. The serial experience of arriving at the home, dwelling in the home and passing from the home to the riverside dock and back, guided the design. The slope suggested positioning the arrival/living level above the sleeping/utility level. The surrounding forest anticipated the pre-finished wood cladding and the many wood craft-work interior details. The topography prompted the curving light deck structures, while filtered forest light inspired the large windows, to draw in natural light.
Our client, saw the home as an oasis from the hectic work world, and the site, 15 minutes from downtown, as an opportunity to eliminate the need for a city home and a vacation home. The design development process included several iterations underpinned by site characteristics, confirming our belief that the context will provide most clues to the design of a place.
The principal living space is a “forest room” where one can feel a part of nature with the other living spaces radiate out from it creating a connected whole. Stairways are features of the design to emphasize the experience of flow from floor to floor. An upper music room loft provides the best views acting as a contemplative space in the treetops, with views to the river.
To better integrate the home into the landscape and minimize its footprint, we placed a bedroom and bathroom underneath the garage floor.