Photography by Catherine Bernier / Artist Veronique Boisvert
Nestled in Seaforth, Nova Scotia just a few meters away from a secluded beach between lake and ocean you’ll find The Parcelles – Studio & Stay. An inclusive space where creativity meets regeneration, The Parcelles is a haven to recharge your batteries, be inspired and extend your creativity.
Partners and surf enthusiasts, Catherine Bernier and Gabriel Denis uprooted their urban lives and moved to Seaforth a few years ago with the goal of slowing down. They bought the parcel of land of their dreams where typical Acadian buildings are scattered across: a shed, a greenhouse, a chicken coop, an old 19th century farmhouse transformed into a home by the previous owners, and a cabin on the water. They rented the main house year round and decided to inhabit the cabin first. Once a 240 square foot shack, the pair started to renovate the cabin in 2017, with help from friends, family, and the community.
Patience was tested, new skills were acquired, long workdays were interrupted with surf breaks and salvaged building materials were re-purposed and given new life. Fast forward to 2022 and visitors to the cabin are greeted with a stove burning fireplace, whitewash walls, hearty hardwood flooring and charming decor. Regular visits from wildlife, an outdoor shower, and a garden filled with sea buckthorn berries, mint and lavender promote a harmonious relationship with the land.
"We want to share our space with others, mostly artists, to offer them an inclusive space where they can focus on their creative projects while resting in nature"
As a writer and photographer, the space has served as a creative escape for Catherine over the past couple of years. She recalls, “During the pandemic, I’ve benefited from the space to do my own art residency, where I wrote a few pieces for BESIDE magazine, did photo shoots for brands on our parcel of land and also recovered from a concussion”.
Portrait of Catherine by Emma Duchaine
When the couple moved into the main house on the same property, they began to rent the 480 square foot cabin to friends and family who needed a quiet spot to rest or to finish a creative project. Quickly they realized there was a need for this type of experience. Catherine explains “we want to share our space with others, mostly artists, to offer them an inclusive space at an affordable price where they can focus on their creative projects while resting in nature”.
Inspired by her own experience and other art residency programs, Catherine and Gabriel launched The Parcelles art residency this year. This past October the pair officially welcomed their first artist, Canadian abstract painter Veronique Boisvert. Artists can choose between 5 or 7 nights with an option to book a portrait session or a “behind the artwork” photoshoot with Catherine.
Follow Catherine and Gabriel’s journey @theparcelles. The calendar will open again for new bookings in Spring 2023!