Building a home takes a lot of planning. We present the owner journey, to give an idea of ​​the magnitude of the challenge.

When Isabelle Quinn had a grandson, she felt the need to have a place in the countryside. She bought a large piece of land in Shefford, then turned to her business partner and good friend Michel Richard to propose that they build an ecological house together. The duo of investors became a quartet, when the parents of the baby (who has since had a little brother) joined the project, adapted to meet the diverse needs of each.

“I had been looking for a hobby farm since 2017, but couldn’t find anything within my budget,” says Richard. When Isabelle bought a piece of land in 2019, I was already planning to take the green house training offered by Solution ERA. We both started in October 2019.”

Their goals were not the same. Mr. Richard intended to settle in what would become his primary residence. Isabelle Quinn was aware that she probably wouldn’t be going to the country every weekend. Thus was born the idea of ​​creating two separate superimposed accommodations and making rooms available to travelers when they were free.

On the ground floor, where Michel Richard lives, the house has two bedrooms. Above, the more spacious apartment is spread over two levels. It has a large kitchen, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a shower room.

“I’m a big believer in degrowth,” says Richard. Pooling our resources, in the spirit of cohousing, and having a big garden, which we are several to take care of, is an ecological way of seeing things. »

They set themselves two goals: to build a healthy house, with materials that do not emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and a high-performance, double-frame house, whose shell would be very well insulated thanks to a combination of products that do not emit no VOC (rock wool, hemp, cellulose).

When the pandemic forced a shutdown in March 2020, their plans were advanced. Their thinking too. With their Sweet Isabelle cupcake and shortbread shop closed, they put their foot on the accelerator, taking advantage of the time they had.

“The purpose of the exercise, for me, is to bequeath a legacy to my grandchildren and my children,” says Isabelle Quinn. All the choices were made based on that. We didn’t want to bequeath something where everything would have to be redone in 40 years, if we are no longer there. For the roof, for example, we chose the best quality sheet metal. It was not luxury that I sought, but what was most durable. »

Some choices were difficult to make.

The quality of the environment in which they would live was also at the heart of their concerns. Dreaming of settling in the countryside, Michel Richard had learned a lot about permaculture before starting the project. Having never grown a carrot, he had also volunteered agribio (wwoofing) on ​​ecological farms, working five hours a day, five days a week, in exchange for meals and accommodation, to see if he liked the contact with the earth.

His experience was used since the development of a vast permaculture vegetable garden, with fruit trees and a wide variety of berries, was carried out in parallel with the construction of the house.

“From May to November, the last two years, we put the finishing of the house on hold to work outside, reveals Isabelle Quinn. It was important for us to be able to feed ourselves from our land. Michel welcomed many wwoofers from France, Germany, Belgium to work on the outdoor project. »

This desire to be with people from diverse backgrounds gave a new direction to the country house project, now called Le Camp Caché. “Michel wanted to be an innkeeper,” says Quinn. We thought we could share this space and that the grandchildren would benefit from it. »

Budget : environ 1 million

Duration of preparation: 9 months

Duration of construction: 2 years (from November 2020 to November 2022)

Essential: aim for a certain food self-sufficiency by developing a large permaculture vegetable garden and a greenhouse

Another must: build a healthy and efficient ecological home