Bell Roof in Lanaudière
Old House Journal|May 2020
Two generations have contributed their talents to this picturesque house, built in 1920 and filled with old-fashioned charm: heavy beams, the ceilings, and a fieldstone fireplace.
ANNE GARDON & PERRY MASTROVITO

Although her parents had occupied this house since 1959, it wasn’t until 2010 that Cheryl Jakeman–Wallis really lived here. “When I was a girl, I was sent to boarding school, and visited home only occasionally,” Cheryl explains. Then she got married and they built their own place. Eventually Cheryl inherited this house, and the couple faced a dilemma: which house to keep, their current one or the ancestral home? So they put them both up for sale, leaving the decision to chance. As luck would have it, their house sold first. And that’s how this lovely old house came to be their home.

Built in 1920 as a summer cottage, it is set on a large lot of 42,000 square feet, in the village of Rawdon, in Quebec’s Lanaudière region. Close to all services, the spot nevertheless is quite secluded and peaceful; pine trees tower over the wooded area in back.

The local name for the sweeping roof is a bell roof, and it’s often described as Dutch Colonial. It is not, however, a true gambrel, as a single pitch ends with a flared eave, nor is there traceable Dutch influence. Elements of the house were borrowed from the traditional Quebecois house designs of the 18th and 19th centuries, influenced in part by French architecture—including the steep roof. Cheryl was told that the roof was designed by a German-Swiss doctor, who brought some European influence to this area.

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