Originally built as a modest beachfront cabin in the 1960s, and subsequently modified through a series of piecemeal renovations. ‘By the time our client acquired the house its design integrity had long ceased to exist,’ says architect, Graham Baba.
The forested property, however, was ideally suited to the creation of a quiet refuge with direct connections to nature.
The 60-foot drop from entry drive to water’s edge, was not without challenges. The aim was to preserve views of the lake and to mitigate the nearly half-acre property’s steep slope. The final result is an upper driveway that winds beautifully through the forest.
The final steps to the house pass through a series of intimate landscapes. A two-story glazed entry feature provides glimpses through the house to the water from the moment one enters the site. Planted roof surfaces help to merge the house with its setting.
Inside, the house was taken back to the studs and completely reworked. ‘The house previously lacked a visual connection to the lake,’ says Graham, ‘so we added a third floor and reoriented all the major interior spaces toward the views.’
The main floor and formal entry, the middle of the house’s three floors – serves as the public zone of the house. Here, spaces including the galley kitchen and breakfast room, and dining room and living room, flow one to the other. A small guest room rounds out the main floor.
A second floor was added to provide separation for private spaces, including the master suite and kids bedrooms. The staircase connecting the floors was conceived as a set of floating wood slabs (fumed white oak) that appear to float within a wood enclosure.
The basement supports family-oriented spaces including the family room, exercise room, play room, and a wine room. ‘Although the ground floor faces west to water,’ notes interior designer, Terry Hunziker, ‘you don’t see it from the front of the house because of the steep slope.
Therefore, the bottom level does not at all ‘read’ like a basement.’ Previously closed off from the waterfront, the basement now opens directly to the waterfront, enabling activities to flow from inside to outside.
Stand out features include the staircase with floating wood slabs, custom bead-blasted nickel hardware, an oversized Japanese soaking tub, and sliding leather paneled pocket doors to master bedroom and bathroom. Concealed doors and integrated handrails reinforce the minimal aesthetic without sacrificing rich materiality.
Outside, variously-sized, dark-stained cedar siding provides subtle dimension and shadow effects. Integrated sun-shades on all west-facing windows marry function with aesthetics, adding visual texture while mitigating direct sun exposure.
Photography/ Kevin Scott
Architecture/ Graham Baba
Interior design/ Terry Hunziker