A treasured dream of many Americans is to have a cabin on a quiet lake to escape to, for weekends, for vacations, or even for the entire summer. What better setting to gather family together, let children play with imagination as their guide, and enjoy the pleasures of swimming or letting the dusk over the water calm you!
The site for this simple cabin is a sloped hillside on the western side of a quiet New England lake. Homes along the shore consist mostly of small, welcoming getaway cottages, many of them not winterized. It is rare for lakefront property here to come on the market, and this parcel had been under the same ownership for many years.
The owner’s children have long since grown, moved away, and started their own families, but all love to return to their hometown and visit the scene of happy childhood memories. The water is still just as inviting, the wooded setting just as lovely. So the owner decided it was time to build a cabin on the plot of land that would provide overflow lodging and a vacation spot for family to enjoy.
In order to minimize site impact in the ecologically sensitive location on the shore of a small, spring-fed lake, the cabin is built on a pier foundation above the ground. In addition to requiring little disturbance of soils during the building process, this allows water run-off to flow unimpeded under the house. Making the cabin tall and narrow creates a small footprint and consequently a small area of impervious surface.
Impact on neighboring properties and passive heating/cooling strategies were also primary considerations. Because the next cottage to the north is close to the property line, that side of the cabin has only three small windows to maximize privacy for both. Keeping the fenestration on the northern side (where winter winds tend to come from) to a minimum also increases the energy efficiency. Large sliding glass doors on the east and south sides of the structure welcome warming sun and provide ample access to decks on those sides of the structure. Operable windows allow cross-ventilation in warmer months.
Because the cabin is intended for use by extended family, there is a half bath accessible only from outdoors for use by swimmers. This means no traipsing through the house in wet swimsuits, and additional privacy for those occupying the cabin.