On the shore of Lake Simon in the Outaouais region of Québec, Montreal-based architecture firm L’Abri has replaced a family’s cottage with an elegant and modern escape deeply rooted in the landscape. Designed for a family of six, the 5,400-square-foot Baie-Yelle House pays homage to the original cottage with reclaimed materials such as stones salvaged from the original chimney that’s now used in the large wine cellar. 

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A two-story home with a gray facade broken up by large windows. The home is flanked on both sides with trees in fall colors.

The architects took a site-specific design approach to the Baie-Yelle House as a means of celebrating the surrounding lakeside. To ensure that the landscape remains the focal point, the architects used a restrained materials palette that includes timber, metal and stone. The metallic siding that wraps around a portion of the setback ground volume mimics the shimmering waters of the lake, while the top volume is clad in an indigenous species of white cedar that’s left untreated, allowing it to develop a silvery patina over time. 

A two-story home with a gray facade broken up by large windows. To the left is a tree with orange leaves.

“The design puts forward the use of local materials and a sensibility to the site’s environment and natural qualities,” the architects explained in a press release. “The materials are celebrated for their essence, bringing warmth and balance to an otherwise sober and contemporary composition. Of natural wood and anodized metal, the construction is formed of interlocking volumes oriented to open the relationship between the interiors and exterior.”

Related: Young carpenter builds cost-effective timber cabin for his first home

A living room with a black sofa and beige chair. To the right is a gray stone column and a staircase.

Natural materials continue inside the light-filled interiors. A gray limestone masonry fireplace anchors the double-height living room that faces the lake and provides a handsome focal point. The open-plan great room also connects to a large outdoor terrace. Even the raw steel staircase leading to the upper floor pays homage to the lake; the wooden treads were made from salvaged log drive trunks that sank to the bottom of the lake in the 1850s and were recovered and repurposed by a local artisan.

+ L’Abri

Images by Raphaël Thibodeau