Fontana Bridge Lake House
The Fontana Bridge Lake House is located at Fontana Lake in Western North Carolina, quite near the water. Being close to the water is a big amenity but also a challenge to carefully site the house and reforest the surroundings to minimize the visibility of the house from the lake.
Our clients sought this lake front location to enjoy lake activities, such as boating, kayaking and swimming. They also wanted the house to “nestle” into the surrounding nature as much as possible. Very few trees were removed between the lake and the house. The understated exterior massing and color palette were selected to blend the house into the wooded hillside.
The house is distinctly and simply divided into two zones: two levels of bedrooms at the north end and the kitchen/gathering spaces on the south end. Separating those zones are the transparent main level entry and the stairs to lower lakeside level. The entry is a contemporary glass-enclosed interpretation of a “dogtrot” – a traditional breezeway connecting two enclosed spaces.
This LEED Gold certified project is sited with a westerly view of the Fontana train trestle and the mountains beyond. The train trestle influenced the design of a walnut trellis, suspended above the kitchen and dining table, allowing dappled overhead daylight – supplied by high clerestory windows.
When seated in the living room the view offers the feeling that you are sitting directly above the water. Expansive windows on the west, south and north walls provide inspiring daytime views as well as ample ventilation. The primary view is to the west, showcasing the spectacular mountain sunsets. A six-foot roof overhang and concealed, electric roll down shades provide full sunlight control.
Newly installed, but mature landscaping further integrates the house into its setting. The house is nearly invisible from the lake, despite being the closest house to the water. The house only truly exposes its form at twilight – the expansive glass facades glow lantern-like, providing a homeward beacon upon return from a sunset boat ride.