Setting (typology): Hérouxville Year of construction: 2001

    Thrown in among other rooms, we are surprised to find a bathroom of white marble and a kitchen fitted out in gleaming stainless steel, both so unusual in this setting. But here the interest is in this very act of “forgetting” conventions, according to which excessive refinement would not suit the general spirit of a cottage deep in the woods. It is a shift away from the expected. As René Desjardins so aptly put it, “Why should the fact that we’re sharing an environment with bears and beavers inevitably lead to a more primitive way of living?”

    Contrast is everywhere. An elaborate oriental rug under a colonnade of trees. A small hand-made chair, placed like a sculpture in an alcove where it acquires unexpected importance. The most contemporary suspended fixture lighting an entirely authentic wood stove. Where we might have expected oil lamps, the YaYaHo fixture by Ingo Maurer runs through the space on a steel cord. Choose bare walls, low-key furniture and an absence of decorative objects, and filter the sunshine through industrial blinds that fall from the ceiling when needed. Modesty and simplicity reign throughout, with one exception: the bookshelves in the study, in an explosive red, are a welcome relief, like explosive laughter in a conversation that has become too serious.

    Architect: Pierre Thibault / Inside photos: André Doyon (and Philippe Saharof) / Outside photos: Scott Gilchrist