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Paul Bernier's project puts cedar in the spotlight

Nicole Lee

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Cedar stuns in this latest installment

At the entrance, a large wooden cabinet hickory welcomes us. Its shape offers a place to sit and storage for our coats. It also directs us toward living area, a large, bright space that culminates at its end by a room screened in cantilever overlooking the mouth of the creek and lake. On the south side, the outside wall disappears and becomes a large glass area opening onto the forest. 

In summer, the forest of trees create a natural screen protecting the house from overheating. In winter, when the leaves have fallen, the sunlight can filter through the forest to the inside of the house to illuminate and warm.

The materials used for the surfaces are simple and refined. The white walls and polished cement floors contrast with the rugged natural surroundings, allowing the scenery outside to take center stage.

The large open area is occupied by three wooden masses. They are placed along an axis that draws one through the sequence of spaces that make up the living area. Made of hickory, these built-in units include the storage and bench unit in the entrance, the kitchen island, and a television and sound system cabinet. 

Their functions are barely legible, allowing them to remain as abstract as possible in order to emphasize only their form, material, and relationship to one another. The kitchen island is in the center of the space, offering a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.

The large built-in unit in the entrance also screens off the more private areas of the home. Tucked in behind the ample wooden structure is the access to the bedrooms, as well as the staircase that leads to the reading room atop the green roof. Upstairs, the wood-paneled space offers a quiet retreat from the rest of the house.

For more information, visit http://www.paulbernier.com