Embracing nature is the name of the game of this mountain home that celebrates vistas trained on trees and wood as a starring surface

Architecture and design: L'Empreinte Design Architecture

(Project manager/owner/company founder – Pier-Olivier Lepage)

From the architects:

With this design, L’Empreinte Design Architecture offers constant interaction with the outdoors through a home that reflects light and frames a wild, rejuvenating, and inspiring environment. 

As a demonstration of symbiosis with nature, the house reflects the benefits of architecture on the well-being and mental health of its users.

Situated in the heart of a maple grove, high up in the mountains in the Laurentians region of Quebec, this eight room, 195m² residence was created by and for Pier-Olivier Lepage, founder of L'Empreinte Design Architecture. 

A home where wood and natural light triumph

The entrepreneur's vision was to take advantage of the vital energy of nature on a daily basis.

"I spend a lot of time working from home," he says. 

"However, I concentrate better when I feel connected to the outdoors. – otherwise, I am distracted by thoughts of going out to enjoy the outdoors."

Enriching the experience of the forest

With its abundant fenestration, the house allows you to savour the panorama of the site from both sides of the building, which is comprised of several glass frames perched on the side of the mountain and facing the treetops. 

The home gives the impression of leading to the top of the forest. 

Nature is put forward by the through view, but also through choice of materials, both exterior and interior, where wood is omnipresent as a finishing element.

To maximise transparency in the east-west orientation, the interior layout offers solutions such as a sofa recessed in a pit, a minimalist low-profile kitchen, and storage units grouped in circulation islands. 

The simplicity of the whole highlights the wood and the landscape as the main components of the decor.

"The eye is sensitive to contrast," says Pier-Olivier Lepage. "Therefore, I opted for a sober environment that brings out the essentials."

In order to vary the views of the wooded area, the house was set up on the slope of the land through different strata of trees. 

"You sometimes feel like the king of the forest, and other times it's far more humbling," says Lepage, who has lived on the property since September 2021. 

"The orientation also allows for enjoyable moments such as sunrise and sunset views."

In response to the need for light therapy, one of the design challenges was to maximise the contribution of the sun, while avoiding overheating. 

The shape of the home was therefore inspired by the principle of a radiator, thus increasing the diffusion surface of its exterior walls and its multiple wooden frames. 

They absorb heat and reflect light, which gives the illusion of sunshine in the house.

Private outdoor space

The project bears witness to economical and artisanal solutions, including a ceiling composed entirely of mounting furring strips, and exterior cladding made of fence boards. 

And despite its restricted surface area, it also suggests a functional and convivial space. 

Among other things, the living room, inspired by Japanese kotatsu, allows groups to enjoy optimal comfort for an entire evening around a fire, over a movie, or while eating dinner. 

For its part, the bedroom offers a private space conducive to rest, work, or relaxation – it includes a bed, a built-in desk, and a bathtub, all oriented towards a window wall overlooking the forest.

There are two terraces arranged in alcoves at the front and back of the residence. 

During the hotter months, the ambient temperature of the building interior is tempered by solar control and natural ventilation, without concealing the fauna and flora that surround it and accentuating the feeling of living in the open air. 

Other attributes also blur the boundaries between interior and exterior, including the continuity of matched wooden ceilings and walls, mullion-free glass, and white floors that blend into the snow.

The raw appearance and relief of the openwork wood finishes recall the woody character of maple bark – with the warm and nuanced colour reminiscent of leaves. 

The concrete floors have been bleached to increase clarity and simplify the overall colour composition.

Designed by: L'Empreinte Design Architecture

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Pier-Olivier Lepage

09 Apr, 2023

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