“I WANTED THE WHOLE LAKE SIDE OF OUR HOME OPEN TO THE WATER.” A CABIN DESIGNED FOR PRIME VIEWS
Suzy Kerr describes her spot on Vermont’s Lake Fairlee in terms we can all understand. “Lake Fairlee looks like a kidney bean, and we re at the part of the bean that dents in, she explains. “Our property is pie shaped with the crust facing the shoreline.’
Suzy and her husband, Gordon, purchased a rustic 800-square-foot cabin right at the water s edge on Passumpsic Point. The property was a former summer camp for boys. And while these primitive quarters had been passable for the two of them, augmented with a guest cabin, the Kerrs wanted a vacation place suitable to host their children and grandchildren.
“It really was a funky old camp with no foundation and not intended for year-round use, recalls rhe couples architect, Pi Smith. “It just wasn’t worth it.’ So with the renovation dreams dashed, the team at Smith & Vansant Architects in Norwich, Vermont, went to work designing the Kerrs’ new getaway.
The cabin is shaped roughly like a V with two wings
The stairway has paddle-themed balusters.
And rhen came rhe phone call. “They’d decided ro rake rhis from a weekend cabin to a permanent residence for retirement,” says Smith. This changed everything.
The firm now had to design on a bigger scale, while still respecting the constants driving the project. While the lake home needed to be large enough for year-round living, the Kerrs didn’t want a McMansion that would dominate the landscape.
“The old camp went right up on die shoreline, and for many reasons, I personally don’t think you should encroach the water, says Suzy. lhat being said. Smith was challenged to maximize water views on a uniquely shaped property, while shielding views of neighboring cabins.
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To satisfy these concerns, the retreat is roughly shaped like a V; its two wings have decks and porches on each side to capture the sunrise and sunset. At the center of the V is a two-story, New England-style gable house with a first-floor kitchen and dining room, and a master suite above. A single-story living room makes up one wing of die V, capturing a stunning angled view of the water.
Back at the center of the V are a laundry room and a vestibule that Hows into a fifteen-foot breezeway, open to the elements. This is a pause before the other wing a smaller guest area known as “the bunkhouse” with a bedroom, den, and bath.
The breezeway also provides a buffer from noise and a side entrance into the home, while making this wing truly a separate location that can be closed off when not in use. Another benefit is enhanced curb appeal. “When you drive up to the building, you see the water through the breezeway, so the building is a little bit porous feeling, not like a dam blocking off die lake,” says Smith.
The bullt-lns include kltchen-tsland blogshelves (above) and a master bathroom window seat (below).
Because really, no matter how lovely the cabin is, it’s all about the lake, right?