The houses we live in reflect our taste, what we value, how much we have. But the homes we covet? Those are purer expressions of ourselves, unconstrained by little details like geography and bank balances. So, you can only imagine how Montreal designer, lifelong antiques collector and bon vivant Scott Yetman felt when he walked through the gates of this property in Knowlton, Quebec, two years ago.
Finding a château for sale in the Eastern Townships is a little like nabbing the perfect croissant in Machu Picchu: practically impossible. But there it was — a 50-year-old version of a mini château — complete with vaulted ceilings, wood-burning fireplaces, massive wrought-iron gates and iconic, upside-down ice cream cone–shaped roofs surrounded by almost seven hectares of rolling hills with a view of Lac-Brome beyond. It was, as they say, a coup de foudre.
A house with a past demands an owner who can imagine its future. Built in 1966 for lawyer the Hon. Jean Raymond — a member of Quebec’s Legislative Council — and his wife, Jacqueline, the home was masterminded by Montreal architecture firm Humphrey & Seguin. Minutely detailed original plans of the wood frame structure were enriched by rumors that Pierre Elliott Trudeau had slept there one Christmas.
“Our approach was simply to repair and restore what was original to the house and make any changes very modern, rather than try to recreate the past,” says Scott. “There’s a certain energy created by that mix of classic and contemporary — they spark off each other.”
Though Scott and his husband, Jean Michel Lavoie, a health-care and insurance executive, have a home in Montreal (featured in H&H’s February 2017 issue) and a modern condo in Palm Beach, Florida, it’s this place they retreat to most weekends to relax and unwind. “This house has changed our life. I feel more protected, more serene. There’s still a lot to do here; a house is never finished. But that’s the beauty of finding a home you love.”
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