Forest cabin enlarged into small birdhouse-like wilderness retreat

YH2 Architecture
© YH2 Architecture

We often feature a lot of tiny homes, but we've also got a soft spot for small homes -- essentially spaces sized between 400 and 1000 square feet. This lovely, modern retake on a small, traditional cabin in Sutton, Quebec hits a number of buttons: it rehabilitates an existing structure into something larger and more comfortable for its current owner, who wanted to be able to host friends and family, as well as wilderness retreats, in a larger space.

So Montreal-based YH2 Architecture added an extra two levels on top of the original building, which built by a woodcutter and used to be a storage shed, in addition to shaping it into an eye-catching form is inspired by what might be called a kind of traditional birdhouse style, even calling it La Colombière (French for "The Dovery"). Architects Marie-Claude Hamelin and Loukas Yiacouvakis say on Dezeen:

In an attempt to preserve the surrounding nature, the footprint of the building remained untouched. This new phase was inspired by the natural growth of trees. The link of the tree/house to the soil remains the same while growing vertically and developing an aerial volume reminiscent of tree canopies. La Colombière is a refuge perched in the forest, reminding us of bird huts. By following such principles, the extension was done without any trees being cut or heavy machinery, which could have spoiled the natural environment offered by the forest.

YH2 Architecture© YH2 Architecture

YH2 Architecture© YH2 Architecture

The interior is painted in a minimalist white, offset by the warm textures of wood flooring and more the industrial details of black metal beams, windows and doors.

YH2 Architecture© YH2 Architecture

YH2 Architecture© YH2 Architecture

YH2 Architecture© YH2 Architecture

The new scheme is oriented around what the architects call a "vertiginous" atmosphere, linked by a open set of stairs that spiral up to the new rooms. The architects say: "Each room opens into a vast vertical shaft punctured by an ultra-light stairwell, an aerial structure."

YH2 Architecture© YH2 Architecture

YH2 Architecture© YH2 Architecture

To enhance that feeling of aerial lightness, there's a wooden bridge (no handrail though) that connects two rooms sitting across from each other.

YH2 Architecture© YH2 Architecture

YH2 Architecture© YH2 Architecture

On the topmost part of the addition, there's a striking open terrace with benches to sit upon to enjoy the view of the trees beyond. It's a "white perch from where one can admire the surroundings," explain the designers.

YH2 Architecture© YH2 Architecture

It's quite a cabin, keeping its humble shingled exterior that blends in with its verdant environment, yet sized up without damaging the surrounding forest, so that it can become a habitable haven year-round. See more over at YH2 Architecture.

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