The Baie-Yelle House is a 5400 ft2 home for a family of six, resting on the shore of Lac Simon, in the Outaouais region of Québec. Built where once stood the family cottage, the project is drawn in dialogue with the calm lake and the changing colors of the surrounding nature and it's mature trees. The design puts forward the use of local materials and a sensibility to the site's environment and natural qualities. The materials are celebrated for their essence, bringing warmth and balance to an otherwise sober and contemporary composition.
Of natural wood and anodized metal, the construction is formed of interlocking volumes oriented to open the relationship between interiors and exterior. For the setback ground volume and those projecting towards the lake, the architects chose a metallic siding reminiscing the shimmering water of the bay. Overhanging, the top volume is wrapped in narrow white cedar planks, an indigenous wood essence of the region that will weather towards a silvery-grey hue over time.
Stepping inside from the path, the generous space opens to the lakeshore. At ground level, the west wing is occupied by the kitchen. Its long island runs through the space and ends in a reading lounge benefiting from the morning light. On the lake side, the grey limestone masonry fireplace rises in the double height living room becoming the focal point of the open plan space. This central room completely opens to the large outdoor terrasse and the everchanging natural scenery of lake Simon. Behind the fireplace, a staircase made of cantilevered steps gives access to the upper level footbridges. Their raw steel structure is topped with wood slats made from reused log drive trunks that sunk at the bottom of the lake in the 1850's and were recovered and repurposed by a local artisan. These suspended pathways give access to the private quarters and the painting studio. The basement holds a play lounge, a workshop and a large wine cellar built from the stones of the original cottage's chimney.
The landscape design allows indigenous species to populate the grounds from the house to the beach, creating a natural barrier that protects the lake. From the lake point of view, the Baie-Yelle House remains discrete, hidden behind tall mature maple trees, wearing the fiery colours of the fall.