Text description provided by the architects. The Remote Lake Cabin is located on a sloped site on a lake in the Adirondack Mountains. For 5 generations, the client’s family has been a part of this Adirondack Lake. The cabin is elevated in the trees and touches lightly on the sloping ground below. The basic building system is a wood-clad post and beam. Natural light is paramount. Only materials in their rawest serviceable form, as locally sourced as is possible, are used in the construction. Designing for minimalist needs is a driving principle of the Remote Lake Cabin.
Spaces are designed to be as small as possible while providing nourishing comfort. Rough sawn local wood is the primary material, giving warmth and richness to the spaces. Natural light floods the cabin and makes electrical lights redundant except in the darkest hours. In just over 780 square feet, the cabin houses 5 people comfortably. Renewable energy is used almost entirely for operation. Solar panels provide power for the water pump and minimal electrical needs of daily life.
Energy-efficient glazing is used throughout. The abundance of natural unfinished wood, zero-low VOC finishes, wood heat, natural light, and passive solar design all influence the overall wellness of the inhabitants. Cooking and sharing meals is designed as a central experience that is bracketed by glazing on two sides and natural wood on the others. The cabin embraces interior space while simultaneously connecting to the landscape beyond. With no road access to the site, everything, (excavators, large timbers, solar panels, 6’x12’ windows, etc.), must be floated in by small boat or raft. This made for some precarious, high-stress moments as materials were transported to the site. As the site is off-the-grid, the cabin’s limited electrical requirements run off of a removed solar field that uses an area cleared for the septic field. The Remote Lake Cabin is designed for integration into the landscape.
This fundamental goal meant keeping the site as pristine as possible with minimal impact on the land. This resulted in alternative construction methods, as cranes and large equipment were not in line with the tenets of the project. Through ingenuity, creativity, and great attention to detail, the vast majority of the Remote Lake Cabin was built by Stonorov Workshop, without heavy equipment, on a site ripe with challenges. The resulting building amplifies the landscape through great respect for the site and careful consideration of constraints, which helped to inspire the design.
The Remote Lake Cabin uses a post and beam construction method. Local hemlock was custom milled at a nearby mill, trucked a minimal distance to the head of the lake, and brought by boat to the site. Structural steel connectors were designed by Stonorov Workshop in collaboration with the DeWolfe Engineering Associates. Materials were procured to result in as little waste as possible. By using sustainably harvested wood, the building reduces the carbon footprint that would otherwise occur from the same trees decaying in the forest.
Any trees that had to be removed in the construction process are used as heat energy in the cooler months. Sustainable materials and products were used throughout. Site relationships are a primary design concept and are implemented throughout the design process. The cabin is built on a densely wooded lot and implemented the most minimal tree removal possible for construction. The cabin sits lightly on the land, allowing the existing ecosystem to flow beneath it. Beauty and delight were design goals and are realized through the rich circulation from the boat dock to the cabin, through the materiality, and through the detailing.
With a footprint of less than 600 square feet, the Lake Cabin accommodates two bedrooms and sleeps up to six people. The main space extends out to the deck and landscape beyond through a 9-foot x 12-foot window and a large door. The master bedroom has a dramatic view of the lake, through the ever-moving trees. The upper loft bedroom has a ribbon window view towards the up-sloping rocky mountainside to the North. Built-in bunk beds create a spatial division between the loft and kitchen/living/dining space below. Custom oak furniture was designed and built by Stonorov Workshop.