Long Porch Camp

This rustic, timber-framed private camp sits on a quiet lake in New England. A summer and weekend retreat for a family of five, it was designed to accommodate their large extended family. To reduce its scale, it is broken into three parts – a garage, a main house, and a separate guest house, rambling sideways across a hill leading down to the lake. Vertical cedar siding is stained a dark blue/grey which also reduces its presence in the forest opening, half hidden from the water.

Client

Private Residence

Location Southern New England
Size 7,700 Sq. Ft.
Year Completed 2019
Photo Credit Peter Aaron/OTTO

Facing south, the main house is built into the slope to minimize winter heat loss while maximizing southern lakefront views and winter sunlight. Living spaces are on the second floor with four bedrooms tucked below. These are sheltered by a long second floor screened porch whose roof shades the barn-like two-story open living space directly behind it. Here the kitchen, dining, and fireplace seating area all have spectacular views. 32-foot wide lift and slide glass doors open in the summer to create a continuous living and entertaining space open to the sounds, smells, and breezes outside. In the winter, skylights in the porch roof where it meets the main structure along with roof-high windows bring light into the living areas as the porch screens roll up to minimize separation from the natural setting.

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The Douglas fir timber framing is pieced together with great precision, but still offers the warmth of hand-made craft. Wrought iron handrail brackets and tie bars along with sliding barn doors, stone fireplace hearths and chimney add to the artisanal spirit. Structurally insulated panels (SIPS), which are 4’x8’ units of foam insulation sandwiched between plywood, span across the heavy timber frame and form the exterior walls and roof to seal the house for optimal energy conservation.

Two small guest rooms and an elevated hidden loft for children looking for quiet or fun are tucked behind the living room chimney.

The conventionally-framed guest house (primarily used in summer) creates a central court that angles open to view and warmth. It includes three bedrooms and two baths, one of which serves the swimming pool beyond. Along the uphill side of the pool a long stone bench is supported by boulders uncovered during construction.

The garage faces the drive coming down the hill with one end open-timbered to identify the house’s entry porch followed by a closeted mudroom. This bridges from garage to house creating a hidden pathway for visitors heading straight to the pool or terrace. Thus what seems at first like a simple complex becomes more intriguing and surprising to all.

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