I'm building a lakeside cottage from scratch and have started
conversations with local architects. I'll probably select one in the
next few weeks. Trying to be as prepared as possible, I've taken a
lot of pictures of the style house I have in mind (A-frame) and have
put together a long list of things I would like to consider when
designing the cottage. It's a fairly steep but deep treed lot in NY.
MBR on 1st floor with guest bedroom on 2nd and a full basement -
walkout to lakeside. The list is included below. I would
appreciate it if any of you who have thought about lakeside residences
could help me grow this list:
# Oversized drainage around foundation to allow for hill runoff - not
sure what this entails
# Single spigot to drain all water lines in the fall (one stop
waterline drainage) - thinking this might be seasonal
# Showers only in bathrooms - No tubs
# Lots of windows on lake side - maybe full wall of glass windows -
possibility of too much heat?
# Enter the house directly into the kitchen with a wide door - with a
pantry off the kitchen
# Side yard patio - with retaining wall?
# Oversized gutters with leaf guards
# Mold Resistant roofing - especially on north side
# Master bedroom on main floor, guest bedrooms on 2nd floor
# Main lakeside windows must open to allow for a breeze
# Allow for expandable utilities for basement bedrooms
# Sliding doors with really good screens on lakeside in basement -
# Make sure there is a basement to attic conduit
# Lots of outlets - inside and out
# Recessed lights in great room - Ceiling lights in bedrooms
Why an A-frame? A-frames, as a concept, are not exactly flexible to
accommodate site relationships.
Another thing to consider, a rambling floor plate will keep the visual mass
of a large cottage down to a minimum, other than putting it underground. I
have such a cottage on my site under 'recent'. It was 3100 sq.ft. +/- but
actually looks like two smaller distinct buildings in terms of massing. It
also allows you to miss as many significant trees as possible, gives flow
through breezes, and will cool off faster.
Love your "cottage". I especially like the open floorplan and the
very high ceilings.
The two things that draws me to an "A" frame are:
1. A two story "great room" - with a kitchen opening into it.
2. Lots of windows on the lakeside - two-stories worth
I've seen a couple of this type of house on various lakesides in NY
and the openness really appeals to me and my wife. We've gone into a
couple of these houses and teh openness really grabs me. On the other
hand, I don't know what other "open" options are available.
If I stay wityh an "A" frame I will probably have to build dormers on
the rear to allow for a couple of small bedrooms upstairs. The main
BR will be on the first floor. 3BR/3Bath. Also, it does snow in NY
so a steep roof isn't a bad idea.....
The A-frame is directionally biased when it comes to windows: on axis is
easy, cross-axis is tough. Another plan could give you what you want plus
views you may not have realized you are missing. There's no big challenge in
getting a high space adjacent to a kitchen, the cottage of mine that you saw
had that, although the owners wanted a more discreet relationship so it was
just a door connecting them.
I did another modern house on a lake near town (not a cottage). Stylistic
issues aside, the rotation relative to the waterfront and the stepping down
of floor levels towards the water means that every room in the house except
one bedroom gets a view of the lake. There's an interactive page on my site
that illustrates how this worked. (2nd from top on Recent page>>click here
Without knowing you, or the site, it's hard to do much with that list,
or add to it. To provide you with anything meaningful, you'd need to
secure our services with a retainer and then we could have a good chat
about these issues. Sometimes you may want something and you figure
your reasoning is good, when a different alternative would satisfy your
FWIW: I had vacationed in an A-frame, which I'd thought, before then, was a
really nifty design. But I actually got ver tired of it very quickly - the
interior was, in a word, boring. It looked out on the ocean, true, but it
rather quickly started to feel like an attic. Storage was also a PITA - it
*seems* like the sloping sides would offer a lot of storage space, but the
space is shaped awkwardly, so it wasn't not all that efficient, *and* was a
bit pain in the butt to get into and out of.
My idea is that, whenerver possible, try to rent before you buy. It works
with cars and it works with some types of house design. What seems clever
or charming on paper or as an idea, can end up being something you just
THere are so many ways to use design to get good view AND good storage AND
an interior layout that will be efficient, yet remain interesting, and give
an open feeling. Visit *many* houses under construction to get a good feel
for different sorts of spaces.
As much as you can, "try before you buy". Believe me, it helps ;) !
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