Chronicle by Karine Dufour-Cauchon, in collaboration with Annie Breton.
The charm of La Malbaie is timeless. This is what you realize after setting foot in Villa Rayon d’Or for a few seconds. Formerly known as the Yellow Cottage, this residence is a treasure that combines history and elegance. Here’s why you shouldn’t miss a unique opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the great summer people of Charlevoix and acquire Rayon d’Or.
Hidden American Dream Life on the Chemin des Falaises.
In its well-hidden corner of the Chemin des Falaises, the Yellow Cottage is located on a natural promontory that effortlessly overlooks the terrain. Its bold architecture stands out with a turret at the entrance and dormer windows with curved circumflex accents pointing upward. It presents an audacious blend of rusticity and modernity.
The imposing wheat-colored house inspires distinction and relaxation, both inside its walls and outside: six bedrooms, three bathrooms, spacious common areas, large terraces, an in-ground pool, everything is there to welcome family and friends, just as the American families of old did and as contemporary summer visitors still do.
Who were they? The estate was built for Jose Benjamin Aymar, a millionaire lawyer from New York, in 1898. From 1907 to 1922, the villa was owned by Lilian Labau Aymar, the granddaughter of businessman Cornelius Vanderbilt. After changing hands among various owners over the last century, this historical gem is back on the market in 2023 and could be yours for $525,000.
Even though the golden age of summering (or villégiature!) is behind us, you can still feel the grandeur of the great summer families who inhabited the residence. In the 19th and 21st centuries, the vastness of the property is still impressive, with its 246,000 square feet and advantageous position on the Chemin des Falaises. The natural charms of the region that caught the eye of U.S. businessmen of the time still have an effect today; you just need to visit the place to see for yourself.
Rayon d’Or was one of the first summer residences designed by the architect Jean-Charles Warren, who designed around sixty summer houses throughout his career.
The Visionary Architect of Charlevoix: Jean-Charles Warren
Let’s talk about the mastermind behind the most remarkable homes in Charlevoix. Architect Jean-Charles Warren, originally from Pointe-au-Pic, left his mark on the architectural heritage of the region by designing dozens of unique villas.
It must be said that orders were flowing into his father’s well-established business in Pointe-au-Pic. Vacationers were driving the summer economy of Charlevoix around the year 1900. Warren left nothing to chance for his most demanding clients. He was known for climbing to the top of his ladder to assess the best view from the future floor of the project house and thus building summer houses faithful to the aspirations of the affluent clients he aimed to satisfy.
He was known for his boldness and spontaneity. Among his creations, you can also find the Donohue House, Barachois, Darly Fields, Penteaves (the original, which burned in 1993), Les Hirondelles, and many other residences adapted for villégiature’s life, combining a rustic charm, a style inspired by Canadian-French rusticity, with great comfort and architectural trends of the time between neo-gothic and the arts & crafts movement. Rayon d’or is among the first houses he designed in his career.
A Brief History of the Grand Vacationers of La Malbaie
Today, the vacationers’ homes in Charlevoix continue to offer a unique blend of tradition and modernity, capturing the essence of the elegance of a bygone era while embracing the contemporary pleasures of summering. During the golden age of villégiature (particularly in the 1920s), it was fashionable to immerse oneself in the local culture while savoring the intimacy of one’s summer home. During the summer, they became Charlevoix residents, escaping the city for some serenity and sea air. What about this legacy? Times have indeed changed: the great families are fewer, summer people (individuals spending the summer outside urban centers) are becoming rarer.
What the wealthy Americans sought was rest and authenticity. A century later, La Malbaie remains a sought-after destination for lovers of natural beauty.
It’s your turn to become a vacationer.
This guided tour of Villa Rayon d’Or makes you want to live like a vacationer too? You could acquire this unique residence on the Charlevoix real estate market by contacting the RE/MAX 1er Choix de Charlevoix Team.
For more information about this property, contact Eric Savard at 418-202-1777 or Suzanne Bolduc at 418-955-2626.