Two architects collaborate on a one-of-a-kind project that provides lessons in comfort, craft, and flexible living at all stages of life.
Synopsis: North Carolina architects Sarah Susanka and Tina Govan collaborated on the design of this one-of-a-kind retirement home, which was inspired by the traditions of Adirondack and Japanese architecture. Located on a truly spectacular lakefront property, with panoramic views of the water and mountains beyond, the house is designed to meet the needs of the owners as they age as well as to be flexible enough to accommodate frequent visits from family and friends. The main article is by Susanka, and there’s an extensive sidebar by Govan on ways to design a house that works in concert with its landscape. Photo: Tina Govan
It has always seemed odd to me that we would call the season of life when people stop working for a steady paycheck “retirement,” as if it were from life itself, when for retirees I’ve worked with over the years, this is really the time they start fully engaging the things they love most. When we learn how to frame retirement differently, and to design houses to support what we’ve always longed to do, it can mean something entirely different. That was certainly the objective of the couple that this home was designed for.
Architect Tina Govan and I were fortunate to be given the opportunity to collaborate on the design of this house, not only because it sits on one of the most beautiful properties I’ve ever seen, but also because it’s for people who understand what retirement can be: a time for entertaining, for actively engaging the natural world, and for seeking tranquility and quiet contemplation.
Two houses in one
When Tina and I first sat down with our new clients, they told us that they wanted this house to perform as two houses in one. On the one hand,…