Lakeside residence

Author: Travis Kinney

I was hired to design a house on a lake and our first inclination was to demo the existing house and build all new. The client and I made this decision in the dead of winter while sitting next door to the property with a perfect view of the house that would be removed. My client had not lived in the house for sometime and felt it might need to be demolished. It is not uncommon for a house to be demolished, not because portions of it are not worth saving, but because the labor cost to take bits and pieces of it apart will quickly approach the labor cost for building new. The tipping point to making this decision is a moving target and only comes into focus as the design is developed and the existing house looked at in more detail. Upon first blush it was thought that the existing house would require too much reworking so the cost would not make sense.

So I began to design a new house on the property taking into consideration all the Shoreland Zoning and Town Zoning requirements. The design was looking awesome, but alas, so was the cost to build it! Both the client and I loved the design but knew it was probably too nice for this particular site and would also be priced way above everything else in the neighborhood. We decided we needed to simplify the design and reduce cost. I tell clients, the best way to reduce cost is not to reduce square footage by hacking away at each space or make the decision (with the best intentions) to simplify future finishes, but rather to remove elements from the design entirely. But knowing we had a house sitting next door, another opportunity was to revisit the idea of using the old house. So we walked through it and I looked at the condition of the foundation and all the framing and was liking what I was seeing. The shape of the house with all it’s different building forms was promising. The more I looked at it the more I was convinced I could turn it into something great.

The previous design exercise was not a waste either. It allowed us to look at how the living spaces should be arranged and gave me the chance to understand what was most important to my client and gave them the opportunity to think about how they would like to live and use the new house.

Following is the original design for an all new house. The major renovation design sketches will be posted later and I am currently working on the exterior elevations and will post them sometime too.









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