Espace Vital architecture completed a new residence in the Potton township in Québec, Canada. Perched up high near the edge of a steep slope, this contemporary dwelling creates a contrast and a duality between opaque areas hidden from sight and living areas bathed in light.

The owners plan to occupy the house for their retirement and wanted all their main living areas accessible on the ground floor, without stairs, including the master bedroom. Their guests and family will have the lower level to themselves.

Espace Vital’s team imagined a house that takes advantage of the natural grade of the site which allowed the owners to occupy the same level as the entrance. This floor houses the main living areas (the living room, the dining room and the kitchen, all in an open layout) as well as the master bedroom (a generous space that also includes a walk-in closet and an en-suite bathroom). All these spaces feature floor to ceiling windows.

Also fully glazed because of the slope, the lower level houses two guest rooms, a full bathroom, a living room and a gym. Everywhere in the house, circulation is fluid and space is optimised by avoiding long corridors. On the inside as well as on the outside, wood is favoured to bring warmth to the clean lines. “We chose pre-stained red cedar cladding to reduce maintenance and maximize 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,” explains Paul Faucher. But above all, in all the rooms, even in the bathrooms, the view is breathtaking.

The clients were seduced by a house featuring a huge suspended bay-window, like an observatory, seen in Espace Vital’s portfolio. This prompted them to contact the firm for designing their residence. “They wanted their own glass cube to be perched among the trees and be able to enjoy and observe the natural environment,” adds Paul Faucher. Annexed to the living room, this cube, along with the huge windows, gives the impression of flowing space from the inside to the outside.

Finally, in order to protect the rooms from direct summer sunlight, a large roof overhang was created towards the south and the west. It tapers towards the east. This simple architectural feature, giving the building its dynamic and distinctive look, also provides shade for energy efficiency. In the same perspective, the large windows include triple glazing for enhanced insulation during winter and for minimising heat gains during summer.

In the end, considering a relatively limited budget, the optimisation of the layout and limiting the size of the rooms allowed the architects to design an elegant, contemporary and warm residence, open to the natural environment. It offers the occupants an ideal and peaceful getaway for their weekend escapes as well as for their retirement.