Northeastern Woodland Residence
Rural Vermont
Design Development

Perspective Rendering  [East Elevation, Structural Wood Framing]

A private client’s remote residence, sitting on a small knoll in a lush clearing, and nestled into a quiet, secluded forest.  Built elevated on a grid of concrete pylons and gently perched above the ground plane, the modest wood home attempts to be minimally invasive to the fragrant and colorful landscape of herbs and flowers.  It is a metaphorical treehouse, accessed by foot from a nearby parking canopy.  

Aerial Axonometric Renderings  [Exploded, Annotated, Assembled]

The home is sheltered under the gable of an expansive standing-seam steel pitched roof, which also covers a wooden veranda that wraps the whole of the building’s perimeter.  Through a minimalist lens, the project recalls the early Twentieth Century bungalow typology, and the working class orientation of the progressivist American Craftsman style.  

Site Plan  [3” Contours]

Plans  [Upper Floor // Lower Floor // Foundation]
[Communal-Personal Space Diagram]

Elevations // Sections

Unfolded Elevations  [Woodgrain]

Elevation Detail  [Woodgrain]

Perspective Renderings  [Building Walkthrough]

Designed for a couple with no children, the project provides spaces — both solitary and communal — for work, study, living, and leisure.  A pivoting front door opens onto a large living, dining, and kitchen space planned for both everyday use and occasional hosting.  Sixteen feet of hinged sliding glass panels open the living area’s suspended fireplace to the easterly sunrise.  A short adjoining hallway leads to a generous five-fixture bathroom (with ovular tub and terrazzo floors and countertop), a laundry room accessed through a walk-in closet, and a spacious bedroom with ample lounge space.  The bedroom has a wall of three large sliding glass panels that open to the southern end of the veranda, which is shaded by the overhang of the floor above.  

From the living space, a ladder stair leads up to an attic-like linear studio, office, and library space flanked with wooden shelving inset into its long walls.   This space leads to a large circular window centered under the southern gable end, where a niche of two small cots fold out from the side walls to accommodate guests.  This “oxeye” window follows a compositional lineage that uses rounded or “soft-edged” shapes to accommodate openings within the triangular canvas of a gable end or pointed arch façade element.  Within the interior space of the Cabin, the window emphasizes the studio-office-library’s axial symmetry.  Four pairs of skylights line the workspace of this attic area, and an additional pair adds to the natural light of the kitchen-dining area’s northerly clerestory and lateral windows.  These circular windows are deployed at the rectilinear east and west facades of the communal spaces, and they serve to playfully “soften” both the atmosphere of the interior space and the rigidity of the building’s exterior composition.  

In both façade and plan, the project’s composition plays with countervailing forces of balance and asymmetry, rhythm and asynchrony.

Aerial Isometric Renderings  [Structural Wood Framing]

As opposed to a “traditional framing” system of two-by-four inch studs spaced sixteen inches apart, the project deploys an “advanced framing” system of pre-cut lumber, including two-by-six inch studs spaced at 24 inches on-center with joist hangers and header nail plates in lieu of redundant jack studs.  This reduces material consumption and waste, on-site labor, and construction time.  The building’s envelope is insulated, air-sealed, and moisture-protected with a continuous four-inch thick layer of rigid sheathing. 

Perspective Rendering  [Kitchen-Dining-Living Area from Entry]

Interior space is lined with large panels of pine plywood and solid hardwood plank flooring, and finished with birch built-ins.  Dark grey steel fixtures, equipment, and hardware contrast with the pale wood tones.  The project leverages the skills of the modern craftsperson, including cylindrical steam-bent marine-grade plywood jambs for circular windows, flush-seam wood panel wall installation, and custom built-in wood cabinetry, shelving, and wardrobes.  

Perspective Rendering  [South Elevation, Structural Wood Framing]

From afar, the building’s elevation has a light-to-dark gradient of beiges and greys spans the building vertically, from the light concrete steps rising from the ground (for visibility), to the natural birch trim of the floating deck (to reflect light to the interior), to the stained vertical tongue-and-groove ash siding (for weathering), to the dark steel roof (for solar heat absorption).  The building’s roof has no gutters or snow guards, allowing falling rain, snow, or trickling icicles to periodically create a natural partition between the east and west spaces of the covered veranda and the field beyond.  


© Human Being Design 2023