Cantilevered Lake House
Mad River Valley, VT
Built to replace a dilapidated camp, this new lakeside home occupies the demolished camp’s footprint and sits directly on the shoreline at the base of a steep, narrow lot. The three-bedroom house is small, (1,583 finished s.f.) but it feels spacious–it is fluid, open and filled with natural light and views. Due to the steepness of the lot, abundant trees and diminutive scale of the project, the house was designed to be experienced as a series of deceptively expansive vignettes whose drama builds as one progresses from atop, where the first glimpse of the house gable can be seen, down the hill, inside and toward the lake. The sequence of spaces culminates in a pair of cantilevered decks which jut toward the water and seem to float. Both dramatic and practical, the cantilevers allow the decks to be built at water’s edge without disturbing the shoreline, a solution the State’s Water Quality Division embraced.
The exterior palette includes custom-milled, lightly stained Port Orford Cedar, galvanized beams and metal roofing, and stainless steel rails. Concrete retaining walls define exterior spaces and are connected by a series of blue stone steps leading from the parking level to the entry, living and lake levels below.
The inside of the house has a restrained palette of lightly painted, trimless walls, windows and frameless doors. This was done to give the exceptionally small house an expansive feel and to allow spaces to flow together uninterrupted. Built-in storage cabinets take the place of furniture in order to maximize space. Above bedroom and bathroom doors, operable transom windows allow air to move across the house while maintaining privacy and negate the need for air conditioning.
Bathrooms and the kitchen are rendered in natural tile and stone, picking up on the hues of the surrounding woods. Clear maple, custom cabinets add warmth while keeping the spaces light.
The house achieved a 5 Star Plus Energy Rating from Efficiency Vermont.