They say practice makes perfect, and this sunny bungalow, both rustic and sophisticated, provides a genuine illustration of the familiar maxim. Set on a treed 1½-acre lot just outside Cantley, the sweeping bungalow is the fourth family home constructed by Daniel Lefebvre, owner of contracting and construction firm Gestion DMJ Management, and his wife, Marie-Josée Pâquet. Their previous homes were built from predesigned plans. This time around, the busy parents of three young children wanted to put their design smarts to the test, so they teamed up with Ottawa-based architect Mélina Craig to draw up personalized blueprints for their dream home.
Lefebvre, whose work as a general contractor includes both commercial and residential buildings, got to know Craig when his firm built a modern waterfront home near Aylmer that she had designed. “We had bought our own lot in 2012 so had been thinking for a while about what we wanted to do,” says Lefebvre. “After working with Mélina, we knew she could help us put the ideas together.”
Construction began in the spring of 2014, and the family moved in later that summer, adding the finishing touches while enjoying the property. The kids especially love the creek, which winds its way through a small backyard gully.
The real showpiece of the house is the open kitchen, dining, and living rooms, a gorgeous example of rustic modern done right. Here, the exposed faux beams and woodwork on the floors and walls blend beautifully with the modern feel of the glossy kitchen and polished-concrete floors. A cozy two-sided fireplace breaks up the large room nicely, the kitchen and dining room on one side and the living room on the other. Most of the windows are oriented away from the front of the house, which faces the street, and toward the south and east sides, which look out over a maple grove and into the gully. “It’s very private,” says Pâquet. “In the summer, you can’t really see any neighbours, so you really feel like you are alone in the forest.”
As construction progressed, the couple added elements that imbue the room with personal meaning. For example, when a maple tree had to be removed during the building process, Lefebvre took the opportunity to recycle the wood into a simple dining table and benches. And the barnboard for the accent walls in the living room and front hall was harvested from an old building on Pâquet’s family property in Témiscamingue — a little piece of home finding new life in Cantley. Touches like these only add to the charm of the finished family home. “We knew what we wanted, and it has worked out perfectly,” says Lefebvre simply.