A Family Retreat in Quebec Gets a Striking White Addition

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Connected to the main house by a glass bridge, the gabled addition affords family members both community and privacy.

Near the Lake Ouareau town of Saint-Donat in Quebec, Canada, a traditional gabled house receives a 1,400-square-foot white extension that mirrors the shape of the original building. Designed by Montreal–based ACDF Architecture for a large family with many children and step-children, La Petite Soeur was configured to encourage socialization, but also allows each family member can escape to their own peaceful corner when needed.

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The new addition consists of a white prism that rests atop a concrete pedestal. 

The new addition consists of a white prism that rests atop a concrete pedestal. 

The ribbed texture of the facade echoes the whitewashed walls of the area’s rural barns.

The ribbed texture of the facade echoes the whitewashed walls of the area’s rural barns.

In winter, the extension looks as if it’s covered in snow.

In winter, the extension looks as if it’s covered in snow.

"From the extension, an oak wood frame directs views toward the inside of the existing house, the frame’s warm shade matching the old wood planks," says architect Maxime-Alexis Frappier. "The truncated shape of the bridge makes it wide enough to occupy—a welcomed pause in the landscape, floating over a garden."

The sheet metal roof and wood cladding of the new structure complements the smooth, shiny birch tree barks on the site.

The sheet metal roof and wood cladding of the new structure complements the smooth, shiny birch tree barks on the site.

Benches with hidden storage were built into the walls to provide cozy reading or contemplation nooks where each resident can enjoy some private time.

Benches with hidden storage were built into the walls to provide cozy reading or contemplation nooks where each resident can enjoy some private time.

A glass bridge connects the old house to the new house.

A glass bridge connects the old house to the new house.

The axis of the bridge aligns the kitchen in the original house with the new living room in the white extension, so even when apart, family members can still see each other from across the bridge. 

The new addition looks like a refined, modern version of the existing house, which is more than 50 years old. 

The new addition looks like a refined, modern version of the existing house, which is more than 50 years old. 

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A new bedroom was created in the lower level of the extension. Nested within a cliff to make the best of the site’s sloping terrain, this bedroom receives plenty of natural light. 

A new bedroom was created in the lower level of the extension. Nested within a cliff to make the best of the site’s sloping terrain, this bedroom receives plenty of natural light. 

The new house provides the family with an additional 1,400 square feet of functional space.

The new house provides the family with an additional 1,400 square feet of functional space.

The rustic patina of the older, traditional house contrasts and complements the clean, minimalist aesthetics of the extension, resulting in a home where two generations can live harmoniously with nature—and each other. 

The open-plan living area on the ground floor of the new building is fitted with large windows that frame tranquil views of the lake. 

The open-plan living area on the ground floor of the new building is fitted with large windows that frame tranquil views of the lake. 

 The walls of the living area are covered in horizontal black slatted wood, which gives the interiors of modern, Scandinavian feel.  

 The walls of the living area are covered in horizontal black slatted wood, which gives the interiors of modern, Scandinavian feel.  

Project Credits: 

Architecture: ACDF Architecture 

Builder: Marion & Gauthier Inc.