The Phoenix

Québec, Canada
Location
  • Québec, Canada
  • Structure
  • House (Single Residence)
  • Type
  • Modern
  • Year
  • 2014
  • This project page was created by community member Laura C. Mallonee

    A 1940s lake house was given new life and an open-plan update thanks to architect Alain Carle. In the 1940s, the distinguished Canadian architect John Bland designed an elegant vacation house near Lake Masson in Quebec. Seven decades later, the midcentury gem was at risk for demolition due to soaring property values that made the land more valuable than the structure itself. Thankfully, architect Alain Carle stepped in. He not only restored the box home to its original glory, but also opened up its floor plan and improved its relationship to the surrounding landscape. “We’ve tried to push it beyond the limits of the original owner at the time of the construction,” he says.

    Carle revived the home’s exterior by recladding it in fresh cedar planks, local stone, and black anodized aluminum. He also replaced the original windows — all damaged — and changed the sizes of some to respond better to the outdoors.

    Photo Courtesy of Laura C. Mallonee

    “In a way, we’ve grounded the house, incorporating topography as a main component of the composition from a more abstract box initial concept,” Carle explains.

    Photo Courtesy of Laura C. Mallonee

    In addition to adjusting the windows, Carle dislocated all wall partitions from the main structure of the house to create a more open feel. “This way, we’re going back to the mythical plan libre dogma of those days, as a wink to our ancestors,” the French-Canadian architect jokes.

    Photo Courtesy of Laura C. Mallonee

    Cedar planks and gray-stained oak flooring line the interior. A minimalist LED lighting strip by Systemalux runs through the kitchen area, enhancing the wood ceiling’s reddish tone.

    Photo Courtesy of Laura C. Mallonee

    The kitchen’s black countertops were cut from Nero Assoluto granite. The sink and faucet are from Quebec-based company Rubi. Appliances are from Wolf.

    Photo Courtesy of Laura C. Mallonee

    The original design did not exploit the lower part of the house, so Carle added a bar and lounge area facing the lake at the ground level. He also installed water-based geothermal heating in the basement. “It allows the concrete floor to be heated and to generate most of the heating of the house, while a second smaller air pump assures a supplement of air on the ground floor and air conditioning for summer.”

    Photo Courtesy of Laura C. Mallonee
    Posted By
    l
    Laura C. Mallonee
    @laura_c_mallonee
    Laura C. Mallonee is a New York-based writer. Her articles have appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, and The Paris Review.
    Everybody loves feedback. Be the first to add a comment.
    The author will be notified whenever new comments are added.