Here at est, we’re always partial to a dose of design from our French Canadian friends. This time Montreal firm Atelier Barda have taken us to The Laurentians, or Les Laurentides; a mountainous region near Mont-Tremblant in Quebec. An hour’s drive from their office and set high in the undulating terrain, the Gauthier House is the ideal abode for the horse lover and artist within.
Masked by spruce and birch trees, the red brick home reveals itself with strength and simplicity. The exterior takes explicit cues from the European stable; explored by Atelier Barda during the initial design phase. The horsey home also draws inspiration from the traditional country Canadian homes, with its huge gable roof covered in black metal cladding. Perhaps the most subtle point of influence was the clients’ marked interest in American minimalist painters and her own ceramics studio. This creativity flowed into the floor plan and the integration of simple geometric shapes into the interior.
With these defined influences, it was decided the home should connect two distinct areas with a V-shaped plan. One wing is for the garage and ceramic studio and the other for the shared and private areas. The curved hallway “forms a threshold” between these two wings and with its lower ceiling, produced a sensation of darkening and narrowing. Then, transitioning out of the hallway, it’s an abundance of light and volume in the communal living areas. This is what Atelier Barda fittingly call the “chiaroscuro effect”; artistic lingo for contrasting light and shade in drawing or painting.
Atelier Barda kept to an unassuming exterior, to let the design exploration unfold on the inside. Wide and low vistas are front and centre, orientated towards the horse riding arena below and varying in proportion. Arched doorways and skylights are also imperative to creating the bright, luminous atmosphere that Atelier Barda said lends “a sacred quality to the space”. The views are an artwork in themselves — framing the snow-blanketed landscape and the wandering hello from its horses. Together with the raw materials of brick and lime and oil oak, a tranquil atmosphere has ensued.
What’s particularly special about the Gauthier House is the showcase of Atelier Barda’s furniture design studio Foraine. The clean-lined, timeless pieces fit comfortably with the custom joinery of the interior, filled with the history and character of carefully partitioned collectables. The kitchen stool from their Chabanel collection sits proudly at the rounded timber bench, while the voluptuous olive green sofa, lets you see the horse riding below, without being in the elements. Other notable design objects include the black Wishbone chair at the dining table and in the artist’s studio.
Gauthier House is far more than a place to reside — it’s a sanctuary to live and create. The home is a testament to the exceptional work of Atelier Barda, considering every detail of the interior, exterior and all of the elements that fill it.
“Separated from the living area by a thick dividing wall, the bedrooms and bathroom are organised within the fold of the V-shaped volume of the house, creating an intimate, introspective ambiance.”
— Atelier Barda