A retreat in Canada's Cherry Valley celebrates its idyllic green setting

Cherry Valley by StudioAC offers nature-inspired minimalism to a rural Canadian setting

Cherry Valley house at dusk exterior
(Image credit: Felix Michaud)

A two-and-a-half hours drive from Toronto, Cherry Valley offers the kind of Canadian rural idyll that celebrates nature and offers a calming daily life between the region's seashore and a burgeoning wine-making industry. Within this lush countryside setting, Toronto based StudioAC, crafted a new retreat for a private client, set in minimalist architecture within a green, meadow-like plateau that descends towards the serene waters of a nearby lake. 

Cherry Valley house

(Image credit: Felix Michaud)

Cherry Valley: a rural retreat at one with its setting

Designed as a low, long volume that feels respectful to both its natural surroundings and the region's traditional vernacular, the home spans across a single level, sunken into the ridge. Large openings bring the interiors at one with the site's thriving flora and leafy views. 

Cherry Valley house exterior

(Image credit: Felix Michaud)

'This panoramic view immerses the viewer in the landscape rather than placing them on top of it, allowing observation of the strata of nature from soil, fern, tree, and sky,' write the architects, headed by studio founders Jennifer Kudlats and Andrew Hill. 

Cherry Valley house inside looking out

(Image credit: Felix Michaud)

Inside, a carefully planned spatial sequencing and seating concept makes for a flowing, open plan living interior that takes up the majority of the programme. Meanwhile, set on the footprint's edges, private quarters span three bedrooms and a selection of auxiliary spaces. 

Cherry Valley house living space window

(Image credit: Felix Michaud)

'Brick and cedar celebrate the duality of the site,' the architects continue, talking about the Cherry Valley house's soft Douglas fit cladding and defining exposed masonry. 

Cherry Valley house living room

(Image credit: Felix Michaud)

'Brick is used on the solid wall that holds back the hillside into which the house is nestled, while a cedar roof wraps down the facade facing the water, engaging in a dialogue with the trees that frame the lake views.'

Cherry Valley house interior

(Image credit: Felix Michaud)


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).