A Look at Lakewood

Set in a pine forest near a still lake, this rustic lakeside house stages a friendly argument between the built and the natural worlds, playfully mimicking nature. The home for two (or up to 16, depending on how many extended family members are visiting) sits on a wooded peninsula with the shore lying just beyond the trees.

It fans out like a heliotropic plant following the sun’s daily arc. The homestead’s pavilions – main house, guest house, workshop, boathouse, and smaller outbuildings – all focus toward the sun and a lake beyond the trees as they back up to the central drive, welcoming arrivers.

The shed roofs, splaying to the south over window walls, overhang well past the glass to make screen porches, and also to keep the hot summer at bay while inviting warming winter light.

The forest is reflected in the large tree trunks arrayed in poetic patterns horizontally on the southern porch walls, to filter the daylight. The locally cut logs are effective in screening summer sun with far less processing (cutting, sanding, transporting etc.) than would be required of finished boards.

The roofs shoulder against north winds to keep the sun's warmth inside, while scattered leaf-like dormers spread daylight deep in the interior, dancing in random steps with the surrounding forest.

So do the pavings, planters, and stormwater channels.

A central curving entry hall stitches together the wedged segments of the house.

Lakewood House also collaborates with its world through geothermal heating and cooling, abundant insulation, natural and local materials, and passive solar design. The sun’s heat is absorbed in the interior stone work to radiate heat at night.

Floors, ceilings, and cabinets are cherry wood, harvested from the property. It envelops the hall balcony that connects four bedrooms upstairs, with a master bedroom and studio suite at a quiet end.

The property also had interesting stones that became benches and geologic trophies embedded in the soapstone-clad living room chimney (with a hidden high performance Russian stove behind.) Where lodges in the past might have held trophy heads of forest denizens, here the connection with the wild is more pacific, but no less proud as improbable clouds.

A frosted chandelier hides vertical track lights that illuminate the entire room. High return air registers distribute the sun's warmth that comes in winter through the abundant south windows and the log porch.

Rooms open wide to join the screen porch and make the house feel like an open pavilion, alive with the sounds and smells of the adjacent woodland and lake. At night the constellation of lights in the dining room recall the sky just beyond.

Light reflects off the water to play on ceilings, as breezes rustle through. Kitchen and porch dining become one large family space in summer.

Playful natural elements appear throughout the house. In the powder room branches are joined and cut into a box form through which higher lights cast natural shadows on the floor.

The master bedroom ceiling steps up to the light from the coziness of a cherry wall and cabinets. Summer ventilation is ample.

The bedside shelves are animated, alive like nature. So are the closet pulls.

The shoreline trees and porch logs shield the house from public view but still let insiders see out to the water. A notch between pavilions leaves room for a sheltered dining terrace and wood pizza oven. The boathouse is a small entry to the lake. Logs that were left over from a rigorous selection for the house inspired a fanciful pyramid gazebo.