Atelier L’Abri has recently revealed Maison Melba, a remarkable establishment that embodies the essence of life, creativity, and interaction, all while seamlessly blending with the picturesque landscape and rustic heritage of Frelighsburg Village in Quebec. Situated along a quaint road in the Eastern Townships, which leads to Vermont, this architectural gem is a testament to preservation and sustainability.
This extraordinary project narrates a tale of sensitive and sustainable restoration, showcasing the transformation of a rural structure nestled amidst the idyllic meadows and iconic orchards that define the agricultural region of southern Quebec. Rooted in the values of conservation and environmental consciousness, Maison Melba serves as a beacon of responsible architectural design.
In line with the proprietor’s principles of inclusivity and warmth, the former automobile garage from the 1970s has been ingeniously converted into a communal space that fosters collaboration and community engagement. This revitalized living area welcomes individuals from all walks of life, encouraging the development of joint initiatives and projects that benefit the wider community.
Maison Melba stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of architectural brilliance and environmental stewardship. Its transformation serves as an inspiration for future endeavors, showcasing the potential for sustainable development within rural landscapes.
Inspired by the fertile ecosystem of Frelighsburg, Maison Melba now houses a residence, a work studio, a workshop, and a culinary production and meeting space. Outside, the small plot of land also includes a greenhouse and a garden dedicated to small-scale vegetable production, with the majority of food production to be consumed or processed on-site.
The timeless architecture of Maison Melba reflects the vision and values. The project’s design is based on sensitivity to details and the passive-house expertise of the architects, resulting in a project where beauty is in harmony with performance.
The building plan is distinguished by a large interstice slicing through the center of the building. Beneath a high skylight, the local natural stone floor extends the landscaping indoors to create a transitional space between the house and the creative areas. The entrance doors to the residence and the workshop each open onto this narrow common alley adorned with plants.
Inside the house, the open plan is softly punctuated by furniture. The atmosphere is calm and warm. The sequence of spaces is composed of small moments conducive to the appreciation of materials, details, and nature. The eye wanders over the Douglas Fir floor, the lime-coated walls, the white oak furniture, the massive hemlock structure, the tall linen curtains, and the large wood windows that frame the landscape.
On the workshop side, industrial-grade materials in neutral colors blend subtly into a bright canvas that invites collaboration and creativity. On both the residential and public sides, modular kitchens on legs integrate lightly with the rest of the composition. In each space, the careful selection of lamps completes a tableau drawn with care and delicacy.
The exterior of the building wears a noble and timeless look that blends with the countryside. The steel roof will protect the natural-colored building for a long time, while the wood planks will gradually shift from brown to gray under the influence of time and the elements. Beneath the large weeping willow tree, the long horizontal structure of the former garage will age quietly in the landscape of native plants.