Gun Lake Residence: Design Insights

The Gun Lake house is situated on a narrow peninsula that offers extraordinary views of the lake in multiple directions.  The land is neatly populated with century-old homes that quietly take advantage of this uncommon setting.  A primary goal of our client was a desire to reconstitute the relationship of their house to its surroundings, while remaining sensitive to the communal context of the architecture.

The design seed of the new project was simply to rotate the footprint of the existing house 90 degrees, so that the broad side of the home would open to the broad view of the lake. The two principal roof forms of the new house reciprocate the setting -- the upper gabled form upholds the tradition of the neighborhood and governs its vernacular clarity, while the lower roof mimics the extension of the landscape and invites improvisational use.

At 2200 finished square feet, the conditioned envelope is compact. And like the exterior, the interior form responds directly to its use. The upper floor is a monastic repetition of sleeping cells and bathrooms with unique directional views, combined with a grand central stair and master bedroom at each corner that capture myriad views of water, over the trees, in all directions.

The lower floor utilizes a core of small, functional spaces to shield the adjacent road, and anchors a backdrop to the essential, expansive interior experience. Aided by the reaching, cedar-bellied roof, the living, dining, and kitchen spaces spill to the outdoors through an unusually porous exterior wall. Three sliding glass doors–including one at 20 feet wide–and a finished, surrounding ground plane cohere the landscape to the main living level.

Finally, a wood-clad retaining wall refines a cut into the earth, and harbors a transitional, outdoor room between the water and the basement.

Super-insulated wood framed walls, triple-paned aluminum clad wood windows, and a structurally insulated roof panel make-up the core of the building envelope. Cementitious lap siding, concrete panels, tropical hardwood decking, cedar soffits, Mexican river rock, and a green roof comprise the exterior finish. Inside, cedar ceilings continue; together with porcelain and ceramic tile, cork, tight pile wool carpet, and neutral painted walls, these quiet tones highlight the most important interior ingredient: views outside.