Studio Z Architecture

A Custom Lakefront Home

Date: 07/24/2001
  • Before: a small one-story lakefront cottage that was teardown-ready
  • New home has two stories with a great room, dining room, kitchen, casual dining nook, three bedrooms, laundry room, exercise room, and usable attic
  • Open floor plan offers expansive lake views and plenty of spacious areas for the owners to entertain guests
  • Floor trusses span from one exterior wall to the other so there were no visible beams

This site was originally home to a small, one-story lakefront cottage. When they first contacted Studio Z, the homeowners planned to remodel this cottage by adding a second floor and gutting the first floor. Studio Z advised the owners to consider tearing the cottage down, for several reasons. First, the 9” thick, uninsulated exterior concrete block walls took up valuable interior space, and adding insulation would take away several more inches. Second, the existing cottage was built on a concrete slab. Studio Z pointed out that a crawl space would make the living spaces warmer. Finally, tearing down the cottage would not cost much relative to the total cost of the house and would allow them to build the home of their dreams without the constraints of existing structural elements. The owners decided to tear the cottage down.

Even though the new house would have the exact same footprint as the existing cottage, the township required the homeowners to obtain a zoning variance because the existing cottage was “non-conforming” as it was built too close to the property lines. The variance was granted.

The owners love to entertain and wanted a house that would accommodate large groups of people. They also wanted to capitalize on the view of the lake. Studio Z designed an open floor plan with lake views from the great room, dining room, and large kitchen. The openness presented a challenge, as the owners did not want any beams dropping below the ceiling. Studio Z designed a structure that used floor trusses to span from one exterior wall to the other. The floor trusses also allowed the mechanical ductwork to be run through the space between the first and second floors (usually ductwork is run through a dropped ceiling, or worse, through the exterior walls). Other rooms on the first floor include an eating nook for casual dining, a full bathroom, and a mechanical room.

Upstairs, the home has three bedrooms. The master suite includes a large bathroom with double vanity and walk-in shower, a laundry room, a large closet, and an exercise room. A finished attic provides even more useable space.

Although the home is relatively small (2200 square feet), the homeowners commented that the house is designed like a ship, where everything had a place and the spaces are all used very efficiently. This is certainly an appropriate metaphor, given the home’s beautiful lakefront site!

Boylan Builders
Structural Engineer: SDI Structures
Photographer: Gary Easter

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