Riding Out A Pandemic: Lakeside Cabin

The climbing rope suspended from the top of the atrium in this cottage, on Quebec’s Lake Brome, is an apt metaphor for the many ways this delightful house eliminates the feeling of climbing the walls during extended isolation.

Photo: Adrien Williams

Designed for two brothers and their families, the cottage consists of a communal space on the main floor, then divides into two discrete living quarters upstairs, allowing both families to stay there simultaneously and still keep their distance.

Designer Felix Schwimmer, of Atelier Schwimmer, was struck by the beauty of the site on his first visit and determined that the design should embrace both the lakeside views and the more intimate beauty of the woods at the sides and back. Virtually every spot in the house has its own special view, maximizing the feeling of being in nature, not closed off from it.

Both halves of this family feature dynamic, active and creative people, especially when at the cottage, so the interior and surroundings are designed to offer plenty to do. The big and well-appointed kitchen is great for group cooking, baking and preserve-making (a favourite family specialty). The ceiling dips from the double-height atrium at the centre of the house to a more intimate nine feet beyond the fireplace, to frame a family music area with a piano and other instruments. And under that soaring atrium, with its double-height windows overlooking the lake, the main seating area is as comfortable for one or two as it is for a crowd.

“Many modern houses just have one big room, and you do different things in it,” observes Schwimmer. “But here we have all these different spaces, and each area is meant for doing different things.”

Photography by Adrien Williams