Located on its own island with a small land bridge, this petite 1600sf, two bed, two bath residence has been thoughtfully designed in response to its environment and to the client’s desire to create a quiet and contemplative refuge in which they could age in place. A design challenge on all fronts given the small size of the property and its location between a highway to the north and a densely populated area to its west. Nevertheless, the island itself possessed an untouched charm and great care was taken throughout design to preserve the natural beauty of the site and celebrate the unique qualities of place.
Dimensional constraints due to zoning, flood zone and wetland features defined an extremely limited buildable area. KITE used geometry and orientation of the house to work within these constraints and harness opportunities offered by the site. In response, the configuration of the building footprint minimizes the environmental impact on the surrounding landscape while the orientation of the house provides privacy without sacrificing its connection to its natural landscape.
Through the use of carefully planned site lines, KITE maximizes unobstructed views of the water while minimizing the sight of the adjacent developed riverbank areas that neighbor the property. To further instill a feeling of remoteness, care was taken to preserve a mature forest and tree canopy on the north end of the island to act as a natural sound barrier to the roadway.
The organization of the plan, circulation, and sightlines leverage visual and spatial connections to the outdoors to create an expansive experience that belies the diminutive size of the footprint and makes the space seem bigger. Fully glazed walls provide a light-filled and airy feeling in the living area as it extends outdoors with its embrace of the “riverfront rooms”.
Locally milled rough sawn eastern white pine cladding transforms into a screen wall to provide privacy from the roadway and neighboring properties. On the private lake view side of the house vertical cedar siding provides light and smaller scaled counterpoint to the robust profile of the dark stained horizontal planks.
The result is a home that fulfills the owner’s desire for unrestrictive accessible living in spaces that blur the distinction between indoors and outdoors and allow enjoyment of the natural beauty of the place throughout the seasons.
Drone Photo Credit: Jeff S. Fannon