Perched atop a bluff overlooking Lake Memphremagog, this country house in Magog, Quebec, has a sense of luxury and polish that feels updated, but not trendy. Montreal-based designers Alexandre Blazys and Benoit Gérard, of Blazys Gérard, painted, styled and swapped out most of the original light fixtures and kitchen components, and balanced the scale of the 10,000-square-foot house with intimate seating areas loaded with snug textures. The refreshed scheme is still formal and elegant, yet comfortable — a hat trick that’s often hard to pull off in a large house. Click through to see inside the space.
All of the main floor rooms flow off this “pivot point,” as the designers call this foyer. A handsome group of furnishings elevates the space, so it doesn’t simply read as a vast hallway. The statement mirror adds glamor, while its patina plays perfectly off the antique sideboard. Adding contemporary artwork loosens the mood.
A wing chair in the hallway is used for putting on shoes or stopping with a book. Whimsical wallpaper from Thibaut envelops the adjacent games room, reflecting the owner’s eclectic taste.
The kitchen cabinets were painted a creamy beige, while the island was done in darker greige to make it a focal point in the large space. Dark granite counters around the perimeter of the kitchen create contrast, while glass bistro pendants keep sight lines open. Tufted stools add softness.
A timeworn quality is established by the kitchen’s handmade and hand-hammered 2″ x 9″ tiles, which look lifted from an old French country house.
The designers switched out the formal dining set that once belonged to the owner’s mother for a farm-style table and upholstered chairs that offer a more approachable and unfussy look. Antique brass cone pendants cast a warm glow that encourages guests to linger over good food and drinks.
With its mix of modern pieces and treasured antiques, the main living room is a study in understated elegance. Once a light, buttery tone, the standout coffered ceiling was stained a darker color to give the room a cozier feel. Open or closed, french doors offer sweeping lake views.
A delicate filigreed chandelier — a trademark of French cottage style — is a romantic counterpoint to the modern sofa. Watery-blue Kravet fabric on the throw pillows was chosen for its relaxed, lived-in look.
In a small nook next to the living room, oversized Montauk chairs provide quintessential country-home comfort. Light walls and pale grey accessories hit a refreshing note that’s tempered by the woodsy chandelier.
At 19′ x 26’, this is the biggest principal bedroom the designers have ever tackled. Smartly conceived as a room-within-a-room, the iron canopy bed, piled with pillows, is plush and cocooning. A gold-flecked Moroccan carpet modernizes the antiques and adds warmth, while still allowing glimpses of the beautiful marquetry floors. Various zones for lazing by the fireplace or checking emails (the chairs swivel) feel purposeful and sumptuous.
Author: Iris Benaroia
House & Home October 2016
Benoit Gérard and Alexandre Blazys