If the proverb “old is gold” is anything to go by, then behold the treasure that is the restoration of this 100-year-old barn.
Originally built in 1919 on a farm in Quebec, the ancient byre - a cowshed which housed livestock - had outlived its purpose and was going to ruins. Fortunately, in 2018, the owners' enlisted the collaboration of La Firme's Louis Beliveau and architect Michel Lemieux to convert this barn into a modern and impressive space where their family could gather to celebrate special events.
According to La Firme, the design team “wanted to preserve the vernacular architectural qualities of the original building. So, the initial structure was entirely salvaged. Each piece of the hemlock structure was numbered and ultimately reinstalled with the framework guiding the spatial organization.”
Photo courtesy of Christian Elie and Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard
The transformed 4,500-square-foot structure includes an open-plan kitchen, a dining room, a lounge and a games room that dominates the main level.
A steel staircase leads up to four bedrooms and three bathrooms that are arranged in a U-shape on the top-floor which also offers views down to the dining table below.
But wait, there's more: The barn home is complete with a utility and mechanical room, a mudroom, a garage in its lower level and outdoors, there's a patio, a swimming pool, and a garden that offers views of the Sutton Mountains in the distance. In one word, this entire barn and it's surrounding landscape is breathtaking.
Photo courtesy of Architectural Digest
Speaking of views, seeing as this rustic barn house is nestled at the foot of Owls Head Mountain, it provides the residents with year-long outdoor activities, such as downhill and cross-country skiing during the winter months and golfing and hiking during the warmer months of the year! You can even enjoy golfing until mid-November, pending weather conditions.
Just 1.5 hours from Montreal and 30 minutes from Magog, Owls Head, is steeped in history and offers an incredible view of Lake Memphremagog and a panoramic vista of Quebec’s Eastern Townships. As history has it, the name Owls Head originated with the native people, the Abenaki nation, who lived in the area and were hunters and fishermen.
Patriotic to their home city of Montreal, the architects selected mostly local materials such as hemlock spruce. While the exterior maintained its aged wood facade and rustic agrarian roots, the interior has a modern touch influenced by contemporary design.
"Thanks to its various open, semi-open, and closed areas, [the barn] provides the residents with different degrees of privacy. More importantly, its 30-foot ceiling height creates a space that truly breathes and majestically blends with the natural setting. The large windows give onto a spectacular view of the Sutton Mountains and a pristine agricultural landscape," said La Firme.
The inside beams with white, light-filled spaces with white oak floors, white-washed wood walls, and exposed wood beams and pillars.
Photo courtesy of La Firme
In contrast to the white, bright interior, the living room features a black fireplace, while a custom wood bookshelf adds some storage. “Rounding out the main floor is a television room, a space with a pool table, and a power room,” as La Firme explains on their website.
Photo courtesy of La Firme
The integration between the barn and its surrounding landscape includes a swimming pool and entertainment area, which is a part of the enchanting considerations for this project.
Photo courtesy of Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard
What else can I say about this magical property other than it's what my architecture dreams are made of! I mean, it has everything you would need, the space to entertain, lovely modern addition, a pool and pool table, and a kitchen big enough to create mountains of delicious food that would make Canadian Chef Rochelle Adonis jealous! To top it all off, it's located in one of the most beautiful areas in Quebec - The Eastern Townships.
To learn more and see additional photos of this incredible project, make sure to visit La Firme.
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VERUSCHKA MUNGROO comes from an exciting journalism background. She has travelled extensively and visited London, India, Portugal, Spain, and Bali where she wrote about architecture and design, subjects she truly loves.