Atelier C by Nicholas Francoeur

Reverent retreat.

It’s time again for some charred cedar, and this recent project in Quebec’s Eastern Townships by designer Nicholas Francoeur captures the trend perfectly. Charred cedar not only looks moody and stylish but also requires less maintenance than other kinds of wood finishes.

Atelier C began as a country retreat for a couple but eventually turned into a full-time abode. The exteriors project a sense of thoughtful encapsulation and are also sculptural in the way the black angles rise from the crisp woodland scenery. The angled cantilevered metal roof makes the home seem safe and contained while allowing the snow to slide off in the cold Quebec winters.



Inside, a long primary living space allows for lines of sight through the envelope. This linear form has also been articulated by using separating walls to create multiple private nooks and work spaces apart from the communal living areas and kitchen. A desirable design aspect in the age of working from home, “the couple can work separately without being completely isolated from each other and the rest of the house,” Francoeur says.


The kitchen features minimal blackened steel surfaces, contrasting with white walls throughout that lend a sense of refuge. The main room has a celestial feeling, as in a chapel, adding a further sense of repose. In addition to plentiful angled windows, there is one with abstract stained glass at the end of a hallway that leads from the main space into the bedroom areas.



“It was a primary objective to prove that an environmentally responsible house could look bad ass, that functional details don’t have to look clunky and can contribute to a building’s aesthetic,” Francoeur says. “The project puts into practice solar passive design principles making use of high-tech building materials and techniques, earning it a LEED platinum certification.”

Sustainable, stylish, and well-articulated, this residence continues the high standard of rural second homes in the Canadian context.

Photography by Raphaël Thibodeau

Part of our Home of the Week series. Read more HERE.