Fitch Bay Cabin is the personal modern rustic cabin of interior photographer Jean Longpré and Rosalie Clermont, situated on a large woodsy plot in Fitch Bay, a small town in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, about two hours from Montreal. After years of photography beautiful homes, the photographer knew exactly how he wanted his own getaway to look. The photographer spent two years collecting materials for his 1,900 square foot, two bedroom, two bathroom dream home, picking up items locally and gathering special pieces like a porthole window. The home was built in 2000, costing approximately $250,000 Canadian, including major clearing of the land and preservation of the trees
Longpré is proactive in ensuring that his home is both practical and beautiful. The kitchen island was originally designed with cupboard doors, but those were eventually switched into drawers, “which now works well and looks even better,” says Longpré. He also shifted the butcher block countertop to create a seating area at the end, filling in the gap with a piece of stainless steel countertop. Clermont is comfortable walking around barefoot thanks to the heated brick floor.
The interior was painted by hand in a high-gloss white paint, creating a bright interior where the sunlight bounces off the walls, making the home feel lively. Despite its modest size, the cabin feels larger, thanks to the open staircase, open floor plan, soaring ceiling and reflective white wall paint.
The interior incorporates design elements that are predominantly European, with tall casement windows and a heated brick parquet floor. Bricks were also used to build the fireplace, which, Longpré says, has no mantel “to make it look European.” He added casters to the furniture in the living area so that the layout can be easily rearranged.
Longpré custom-designed the five-seater benches to go with the solid oak dining table he found at an antiques store. The wooden cabinet holding their dinnerware is from the same store and was originally used in a hospital in the nearby town of Magog.
Longpré designed the top floor to maximize the space and maintain an airy, loftlike feel. The combination headboard and shelving is actually the back end of a walk-in closet.
The bookshelf holds a curated collection of objects and reading material. The iron railings on either side of the platform are covered with wire mesh — a solution to meet safety requirements — which adds to the industrial vibe of the space.
Longpré designed the bedroom area with French doors that open onto a balcony. The concept behind the bedroom was that on warm summer nights, the bed — which is set on casters — could be wheeled partially or completely outdoors for sleeping under the stars.
The upstairs floor is covered with red pine and finished with varnish. The floor extends all the way to the bathroom area, which is raised and covered in white penny tile.
The other side of one of the two walk-in closets serves as the vanity area for the master bathroom, which was done all in white to keep the space bright and clean. French doors on the opposite wall open onto a small porch.
Longpré designed the walk-in closet area out of pine, with sliding doors made to resemble barn doors. An antique porthole window is built into the floor. “I thought it was a fun way to incorporate this interesting piece into the home,” he says.
Although this guest bedroom is in the basement of the home, you wouldn’t know it. Longpré designed the house and landscape around the idea that most rooms should have access to the outdoors. Accordingly, the brick floor in this bedroom extends outdoors onto a small patio.
When Longpré built the cabin, a screened-in porch was an important factor. “With a porch, you can virtually be outside, comfortably, any time of the year,” he says.
Longpré built this fire pit using rocks found on the site. It’s now a favorite gathering spot for friends and family members.
Inspired by the architectural styles Longpré admires, the cabin is designed to resemble a traditional New England saltbox, with a very simple structure and steep, sloping roof. The horizontal pine planks are stained black to give the house a dramatic, Scandinavian feel. A Juliet balcony affords a gorgeous view of the surrounding landscape.
Photos: Jean Longpré
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