A child's storybook (or "archetypal") impression of a house became the starting point for Fahouse, a 1,900 square foot, picture-perfect cottage nestled deep within an enveloping hemlock forest in Quebec, Canada's Eastern Townships. Completed in 2016 by architect, Jean Verville, with the collaboration of Jessica Bouffette, Olivier Grenier and Martine Walsh, this private home was created for a couple with two children.
Triangular angles take center stage in the overall design, with the architect taking the natural slope of the land into consideration and nesting the home on the side of the verdant hill. Thus, a wide staircase leads visitors from the road and down the exterior side of the structure towards the covered terrace. The home's reception areas are then reached by walking through the large opaque glass doors, where homeowners and guests alike are greeted by the open plan living/dining area and kitchen. For a home with children -- and their visiting friends -- this undoubtedly makes for the perfect central hub of daily activities. Wide sliding doors wrap around the entire lower level façade like glass walls, invite both the forest inside and the inhabitants out, encouraging a perfect communion with nature.
Beside and above the main living areas, the bucolic minimalism of the design was conceived as two separate entities (a "double triangular prism" as the architect describes it) that operate as a whole. The first -- on the ground level behind the reception areas -- is dedicated to the toddler contingent of the family and comes complete with extra bunk beds and easy access to playtime in the "enchanted forest" just outside the sliding doors.
Meanwhile, on the second floor -- up a short flight of stairs -- lies a more grown up set-up, where the parents of the house can find solitude in their timber sheathed bedroom/bathroom, all the while reveling in the feeling of tree house living. For this is what comes to mind when glancing out of the wide window walls, through the thick tree branches surrounding 360˚ of the home. A languid bath overlooking the forest view below is sure to diminish the stress of even the most demanding of days.
The impressive, family shower room is also upstairs. This is a very robust option which seems perfect for children's bath time bubble battles as it is wrapped in white tiles from floor to ceiling. Up the final flight of stairs leads to the finished attic which crowns the house; here, the setting ultimately imparts an "on top of the world" feeling for both young and old(er). One can just imagine the sparks of a kids' imagination lighting up when, wrapped in a thick toweling robe after a shower before bed, they are rewarded with play time up in the whitewashed eaves of the very top floor -- the "campfire" stories the setting inspires must be epic. After all, the tenants never know when Goldilocks herself might come knocking on the front door!