Two eras meet in a fusion between an original log cabin and contemporary addition

Two eras meet in a fusion between an original log cabin and contemporary addition

2 Dec 2020 News

Situated on a rocky point that juts out onto the lake, the owners of an existing cabin that had been in the family for 40 years wished to renovate and expand their cabin so that it could take better and full advantage of its beautiful lakeside location in Quebec.

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Raphaël Thibodeau

Proximity to the lakeshore was a decisive site constraint resulting in the cabin extending upward with a second story, instead of outward. Only a small extension on the ground level, a new screened porch on the south side, was considered feasible. Rather than erasing the line between the existing cabin and new second floor, Paul Bernier Architecte instead chose to celebrate the difference, clearly distinguishing old from new. 

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Raphaël Thibodeau

Old and new play off each other throughout the design. While the original cabin remains rustic overall in appearance with the original overhangs, stonework and log work, the second story addition is a clean and monolithic volume – but with material echoes through the use of wood that tie back to the original cabin. A beautiful massive stone fireplace was restored and is now visible on all sides while a new staircase is light and minimalistic in contrast. 

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Raphaël Thibodeau

Being a second story addition, the design of the roof structure was key. The cathedral ceiling of the old cabin was to be retained - even if a second floor was to be added above. To accomplish this, the old roof was completely removed and replaced by a Douglas Fir structure replicating the slope of the original roof while supporting a new floor above. The cabin’s original roof profile remains visible from outside. 

Raphaël Thibodeau

Cleverly, the addition on the roof also helps to illuminate the ground floor via a large vertical opening on the east side, upstairs. This allows morning light to filter down to the lower walkway through a floor made of translucent glass.

Raphaël Thibodeau

A large window at the top of the new staircase further draws in light, bringing in views of the sky as one moves upstairs. The new screened porch is also fitted with 2 skylights to ensure maximum natural light. Inside, surfaces are mainly white, thus maximizing light reflection. 

Raphaël Thibodeau

While the inclination for an original cabin such as this may ordinarily be to extend outward on the ground level, the complication of adding a second storey here has the added benefit of providing spectacular views and registering a unique relationship between old and new. 

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