The contemporary residence sits high up near a steep slope and is the perfect intimate getaway with Escape Vital’s trademark of minimalistic design and warmth. There is a contrasting harmony between the more opaque, hidden areas and the light living.
The property overlooks Lake Memphremagog, near Owl’s Head Ski Resort - an ideal location for the owners who live in Montreal. They were looking for a ‘piece of paradise’ whilst still being able to enjoy winter activities and boating during the warmer months. The owners were after a house that was big enough to entertain family and friends but still have their living quarters on the same floor.
Escape Vital discovered that the project’s biggest challenge would be designing a layout in the narrow area flanked by the cliff and the road. The result was a two-faced building, with the facade facing the street being opaque, whilst the facade opposite is fully transparent to keep the connection to nature and maximise the intimate ‘cocoon effect’ that the owners were after.
“Even if the road is not very busy, we wanted to design a curved driveway to maximise intimacy and create discovery when approaching the residence.” - Paul Faucher, Architect and Associate, Escape Vital.
Following this idea, the large entrance hall hides the layout open to the surrounding scenery, allowing for that surprise element when one discovers the stunning views of the forest and the lake that the main floor has to offer.
Planning to occupy the house for their retirement, the owners wanted all main living areas, including the master bedroom, to be accessible without stairs on the ground floor. Guests and family members would have the lower level to themselves.
The image Escape Vitals had for the house takes advantage of the natural incline of the site - which allowed the owners to occupy the entrance level. As well as the master bedroom, this level houses the living, dining and kitchen areas in an open layout. All three areas have floor-to-ceiling glazed windows, along with the lower level’s guest rooms, bathroom, living room and gym.
Space is optimised by the aversion to long corridors and the theme of fluid circulation. Wood was used on both the interior and exterior to add warmth to the residence.
“We chose pre-stained red cedar cladding to reduce maintenance and maximise durability. On the inside, natural wood is also used for accents and on the ceiling, bringing a sense of continuity with the overhang and the terrace.” - Paul Faucher, Architect and Associate, Escape Vital.
To protect the rooms from direct sunlight, especially in the summertime, a large overhanging roof was created towards the West and the South, and tapers towards the East. The roof gives the building a distinct look. For energy efficiency, the large windows are triple glazed to enhance insulation during winter and to minimize heat gain during summer.
The result is an elegant yet warm, contemporary residence that embraces the natural environment. It truly is the ideal getaway, perfect for the owners’ retirement.
Escape Vital were asked to design the residence as the clients had fallen for a house in the architects’ portfolio that featured a huge suspended bay-window.
“They wanted their own glass cube to be perched among the trees and be able to enjoy and observe the natural environment.” - Paul Faucher, Architect and Associate, Escape Vital.
Founded in 2003 and based in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Escape Vital is formed of experienced architects supported by a qualified and professional technical team to provide excellent services. They have recently opened a branch in Montreal’s Mile-Ex and is known for their expertise in contemporary residential design.
Project: Pilon-Hébert Residence
Location: Potton, Québec
Architect: Paul Faucher, Escape Vital Architecture
Engineer (structural): EXP Sherbrooke
Contractor: Construction Hatley
Photography: Stéphane Lemire