Gothic Lake Cabin
At the heart of our compact and efficient lake home is a secret hideout for our two preschool-aged boys. Steps wind above the hideout, forming a central staircase that the rest of the house radiates outward from. Perched on a steep south-facing hill, the house is oriented towards a quiet lake and tucked in amongst a mature hardwood forest. A three-season porch gives us a little extra space in the summer, while the woodstove in the basement makes for a cozy retreat during the long winter. The master suite features the gothic window and a cross-gable vaulted ceiling to show off the craftsmanship of the builders, and stunning longer-range views. The overall look of the exterior was inspired by Woodward’s 1869 cottage design book and our interest in Carpenter Gothic architecture.
Our desire for an energy-efficient house with quality materials, combined with our budget led us to design a house on a 24′ square footprint with an 8′ staircase in the center of the square. Once we went small, everything fell into place. We have no ductwork beyond that of the ERV (with intake vents in the two bathrooms). All plumbing is stacked in the north and east corners of the house. The house is heated by a Woodstock Ideal Steel stove with cove heaters as back-up. Each room has ample natural light with cross-ventilation, and the prevailing west winds bring cool air off the lake in the summer. This design means that there are no hallways yet sufficient privacy is provided for our family of four–you simply go up or down to be in another room. We also disturbed much less of the original slope of the land. The size and footprint also meant we were able to select high-end natural materials such as red cedar board-on-board siding, standing-seam metal roofing, solid birch flooring, and granite countertops with Baltic birch cabinetry.