In the steep topography of Charlevoix, facing a river almost as imposing as the sea, reveals this new construction which seems to have tamed its landscape for many moons. With many attractions that borrow from the traditional houses of the region, the Grand Bercail has settled into its environment with complete ease.

On the terraces of Cap-à-l’Aigle, upstream of La Malbaie, a collection of luxurious, often contemporary architect-designed houses catches the eye. It is in this little paradise where structures compete in creativity that Julie Parenteau got her hands on the latest land for sale. Two days later, she called the L. McComber firm, which had already been contacted a few years earlier for the renovation of her town house in Cité Jardins.

From the start, it was established that this project would be for short-term rentals and would fit into vernacular architecture, she says. “I am not a fan of contemporary architecture and even less so in the region. The first thing I mentioned was that I wanted a house that looked like it had been there for 50 years. I wanted it to blend into nature and be established with only minimal clearing. »

The firm’s response was this imposing residence whose oculus, a nod to maritime language, has become a distinctive feature.

Insulated well beyond prescribed standards, the Grand Bercail is comforting as much by its comfort as by its appearance.

It was as part of a retreat on the rocky cape of Cap-à-l’Aigle that the design team designed this family villa. “The reflex is to imagine very large windows that allow you to enjoy the beauty of the river and the sunsets. The disadvantage, as we have seen, is however to create overheating inside,” points out Olivier Lord, architect in charge of the project with Laurent McComber, during his stay.

The duo was therefore interested in ways to create a project that was both focused on the river and efficient from an energy point of view.

Among these strategies, the integration of a large gallery has a dual function which is to offer a living area sheltered from bad weather and to protect the large openings from the sun. The roof projections which surmount it act as a cap. This cap, effective in hot weather, is however not an obstacle for the heat to penetrate in winter, when the sun is more grazing.

“Inside, we focused on simplicity. We wanted to ensure that nothing was complicated for the tenants and that the house was welcoming for young children, without them dictating the wake-up time for the whole household,” notes the owner, who is also at the head of the Billy the Kid children’s fashion boutiques.

Designed in the midst of a pandemic, in a rush to return to more divided plans, the space includes corners to retreat and cohabit in the space. The bedroom wing, designed to comfortably accommodate two families, is divided into two units; separated by a door, they each have their own bathroom and storage.

From the entrance, to make life easier for occupants, the designers included a serving hatch. Grocery bags can thus be transferred directly to the back kitchen. Because in a typical scenario, visitors who show up for a short stay rarely take the trouble to put everything away in the cupboards, the team has provided this storage area, annexed to the kitchen, which allows products to be kept out of sight. the view from the family room.

The dining room connects visually with the adjacent rooms, but it is acoustically isolated by a glass wall, which allows the living room and the mezzanine to be used simultaneously. The configuration, explains Olivier Lord, was designed so that some people could isolate themselves if necessary. For teenagers, a corner has been provided in the basement and includes bunk beds, a bathroom and games. If the whole thing faces the river, it is the mezzanine which offers the most spectacular view, giving the impression of contemplating it through a giant porthole.

Among all the contemporary chalets in monochrome tones, the Grand Bercail stands out with an air of déjà vu. It includes a mixture of harmoniously arranged noble materials – paneling, brick, terracotta and wood – which seem to have been grafted into its innards over the years. Its forest tones also mean that it gets lost in its vegetation. As she does not have a signature stuck in an era, Julie Parenteau sees her house evolve serenely over time.

“Although it is a contemporary project, we have not completely reinvented the wheel and that feels good,” emphasizes the architect. The mix of materials is rich and that’s what’s vibrant. We have the impression of arriving in a place which has its own history. Besides, I am often asked if it is a renovation. I think this is proof that we succeeded in our mission! »