- Design Team : David Getty
- Clients : Peter Rothe, Gail Amundson
- Collaborators : Tworek Construction
- City : Cornucopia
- Country : United States
Text description provided by the architects. Two new outbuildings create a gateway to the site, framing a pathway down the hill to an assembly of structures. To the left, a glass-roofed outhouse and cedar-slatted outdoor shower. Descending further, the cantilevered roof of the entrance porch nods to the restored log cabin within steps from the front door.
These three entry elements were treated with equal importance. This in-turn created a unique built-time factor of old/new and the functional relationships of needed structures. Entering the cabin, the vestibule has a divided borrow light window into the main area. The main living space opens to a continuous lakeside deck and to ample windows looking back up the hill. A skylight provides a third-directional light source and crosses ventilation.
The living space has a custom couch, dining set, and red stairway leading to and separating the upper and lower bedrooms. The lower has an attached sauna with access to the deck, and the upper to an elevated deck with an asymmetrical support structure. The interior walls and ceiling are all locally milled aspen while the heated floors are natural black slate. The exterior is composed of black Richlite—a paper resin product—and natural aging cedar.
The project is both an ensemble and a work-in-progress. Peter and Gail are semiretired physicians with a passion for land restoration, intense curiosity for design, and willing participants in the design process. They purchased the site which had been logged in previous decades with the intent of restoring it to the white pine forest native to the area. They have been restoring the site from invasive plant species by recording and aiding native plants to strengthen and flourish. When they hired us to help realize their vision, Peter had already restored an existing log sauna structure and converted it into a cabin.
Our goal was to provide a light-filled retreat requiring minimal upkeep that fit into the existing configuration of structures, so as to allow them as much time as possible pursuing their passion. One particularly important contribution was the client’s suggestion of using timber retention boxes with gravel infill for terraced steps leading down the hill from the garage. The goal and end result of this project was to capture the vision of the client’s interest in design, their preservation of cultural connections, goals of a sustainable environment, and to create a place of light-filled comfort.