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sized right for the Good Life

Written by Karen Marley
Imagery by Katherine Cumming Photography

Along a picturesque, wooded Finger Lakes shore is a charismatic home tasked with a large purpose. It unites multi-generational families, warms guests in the winter, refreshes them in the summer, and provides ample spaces for people to spend time together or escape into their private domain. If you’re imagining an oversized showpiece home … stop. Sensible and stylish, this unfussy 1,300-square-foot home proves that high quality livability (it sleeps 12) does not need a large footprint.
“Everybody on the lake is building bigger and bigger homes. This home stays true to the concept of a lake cottage, getting out of the city and out of your comfort zone. You commune more with family and friends in a smaller space,” says builder, Sam Rode of Rode Construction.
    The three-story cottage is built into a steep hillside; a challenging site condition that architect, Jon Schick, brilliantly used to his advantage. The original cottage had two floors. Adding a third increased the square footage without expanding the footprint or height, a restricted building code requirement.
    Each floor serves a different purpose and has its own stylistic flavor and views. Uniting them is the clean simplicity of Scandinavian design, which is reflected in the exterior. Clapboard siding and mixed material deck railings, consisting of powder coated steel grid and wood crossbucks, highlight the exterior’s modernity. Smith Lumber provided the Thermory white ash decking and lumber.
    The client wanted to maintain a lake cottage sensation in detailing and finishes. It’s casual, user-friendly and durable. It’s not fussy,” describes Schick of the home’s thoughtful and intelligent blend of aesthetics and functionality.

The upper floor is accessed through the front door and welcomes guests into an inviting, great room that balances a cozy feeling and spaciousness. A soaring open Douglas fir, post and beam ceiling and hemlock paneling establish a more lodge-like feel. The beams protrude to the exterior of the house adding just enough interest without overpowering the design. Built-in bookshelves, closets and cabinets are concealed in the paneling. A wood-burning stove keeps things toasty in chilly weather and a sexy Lacanche French oven adds an unexpected spot of quirky luxury.
    “We all feel they aced the top floor! If the kitchen is the heart of the house, the oven is the heart of the kitchen. We cook exclusively outside in the summer months, few things warm cold bones better in the winter than roasting chicken in the oven,” says the homeowner.
    Tongue and groove paneling in a deep, sea green for the kitchen island and cupboards contrast with the wood. Bright with natural light, the upper floor has beautiful views and a deck that overlooks the lake. Opposite the great room is a small window bench nook perfect for a bibliophile or napping child.

Representing a more traditional lake cottage style with board and batten paneling, the middle level has two bedrooms and a bathroom. The small covered balcony gives family members another spot for solitude. From this deck, guests access the outdoor shower, a luxurious detail that disappears into the exterior for ensured privacy.

The wide-open lower level is a bunkroom with poured concrete walls plus a laundry closet and second bathroom. The terrace level walkout is accessed through French doors. The bunkroom significantly contributes to the home’s overall comfort, making it easy for people to coexist.
    Radiant floor heat throughout the cottage provides warmth. Despite familial protests, the homeowner distinctly requested no air conditioning, preferring open windows and fresh breezes. The hardwood flooring had to be capable of tolerating dry
winter air and summertime’s wet bathing suits. The family chose Douglas fir and they love the warm color it imparts.
    “Shared experiences unite a community,” says the homeowner. “This is a cottage; we welcome the wabi-sabi.” 

R. Jon Schick, AIA  
Rode Homes, Inc.  
Smith Lumber & Hardware Center

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