Visit Chester House by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects


Chester House is the perfect little Canadian country house

Chester House by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects is an exercise in Canadian simplicity

Chester House by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects is nestled in a wooded lot outside of its namesake oceanside village in Nova Scotia. This Canadian country house, created for a client currently living in Seattle, USA, was designed as an exercise in simplicity. ‘[I would like] a straightforward home that feels good,” the client explained during their brief – and the team, led by respected architect Brian MacKay-Lyons, obliged, composing a residence embracing minimalist architecture that feels modest and functional, but also packs quite a punch in architectural artistry.

Chester House: a minimalist Canadian country house

The minimalist form of the house echoes the archetypal silhouette of a house. It features a cedar deck – a porch that doubles as an elegant outdoor room for the owner.

The gable-roofed building also includes an exterior cladding made of two-inch cedar shiplap boards. ‘[This is] a building technique used for centuries to build Nova Scotian boats, also applied to vernacular dwellings,” explain the architects.

The minimalist approach to the exterior continues inside. The design is simple yet sophisticated, using a handful of materials (namely wood and concrete) but also expressing a richness of spatial quality accentuated by carefully calculated double-height spaces and strategic openings.

This orchestration of light and volume offers a spectacular generosity of space inside, which extends over four levels, but consists mainly of a few large common rooms and a few more intimate private spaces.

A neutral color palette, clean surfaces, and sparse furniture direct the eye to the long-frame views of nature outside. ‘Clear [the client] enjoys watching light and shadow sweep across monochromatic surfaces. Nature pervades through large windows, creating a dialogue between landscape and form that invites calm and contemplation,” the architects conclude. §


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