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Barn Aesthetic is Muse for Modern Home

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Located in the Charlevoix region of Quebec, Canada, the Malbaie VIII Residence was designed by MU Architecture to be a reinterpretation of a the traditional barns found in the locale. Using a barn aesthetic as the muse, the architects designed the home to be a 3 volume residence with dark grey metal covering both the roof and the sides of the home while white cedar features prominently on the front and back as well as the interior zones. The concept is as though the home has a living edge with the metal as the bark of a tree and the white cedar planks as the inner core.

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While the home follows the shape of a barn, it has a few voids in its profile to give it a modern twist. The voids are cleverly part of the outdoor living areas via the second level deck and the covered walkway on ground level

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Switching up the materials on the sides and ends of the home create a visually interesting profile of light and dark, cold and warm, hard and soft, as well as vertical through the metal detailing and horizontal through the white cedar planking.

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The void of choice in the back runs from top to bottom creating a small and sheltered perennial garden between the home and deck platform for the spa.

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By positioning the spa several feet in front of the residence it allows those soaking in it to have views from three sides of the surrounding forest, sea and distant mountains.

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With Malbaie VIII Residence located on the top of a small hill, the views from the spa and the rest of the home are uninterrupted.

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The views are pretty awesome as seen here from the deck upstairs. The choice of the white cedar planking on both the deck and the side rails beautifully frames the view through the tempered glass rail system.

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The deck is just off of the living area. The architects chose to position all the social zones on the top floor to take advantage of the panoramic views. Created as an open plan consisting of kitchen, dining, and living spaces the volume features concrete floors with in-floor heating and white cedar plank cathedral ceilings and side wall. The cathedral ceiling keep the barn aesthetic flowing through the interior zones.

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The living room is lit with a series of contemporary pendants hung in a cluster and suspended at varying heights. The playful cluster creates a fluid connection with all the pattern created by the knots within the white cedar planks.

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The kitchen also looks out over the deck but that is not its only view. It is located next to a pretty awesome four-sided fireplace that lines up with the bar. Love the fireplace, its simply stunning.

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The fireplace is located in front of a window and the architects designed a bench to be both a window seat and wood storage.

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With the fireplace being a large black statement, the colour is carried forth into the kitchen via the counter tops, the back of the bar, the light pendants over the bar and the bar stools.

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There are two dining areas, one just past the fireplace in the front of the home and a second, also in the front of the home but slightly set back and in a separate room completely clad in white cedar planking.

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A staircase that connects the social zone to the main level and the basement consists of open risers connected to a balustrade made of raw hot rolled steel. This steel balustrade is a unique detail within the woodsy stairwell and acts as a great reflective source to the lighting installed every second step.

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One floor down is where four bedrooms are positioned, each complete with their own ensuite. Each bedroom features a white cedar bed platform, heated concrete floors and white cedar ceilings.

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While each of the four bedrooms has its own closet, there is a very large walk in closet area centrally located that can be accessed by all four bedrooms. This room is essentially a mud room and with a bench in the centre of this space, it is a great place for putting on or taking off boots and shoes while the open closet creates easy access to all the outer gear. A hallway leads off of this space to both the front and back entrances of the home.

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While the front entrance is just off of the mud room at the front of the hall, the back door is down the length of the hall.

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There is a third level to the home which is the basement and its windows just peak out over the landscape.

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The basement has a kids play and TV area as well as a another bedroom with bunkbeds. This level also has concrete floors, but they have been covered with carpet squares to make it more comfortable for the kids to play on. Large fun beanbag chairs in a pop of red create the seating for the TV viewing area.

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The bunk bed room has 3 pairs of beds in it, making it easy to accommodate overnight stays of friends.

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Basement floor plan

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Main floor plan with four bedrooms and mudroom.

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Floor plan of the top floor with the living, kitchen, fireplace and dining areas as well as a washroom and second eating area on the enclosed deck.
MU Architecture
Photography by Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard (YUL Photo)

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