[smith lake residence i] cullman county, alabama

Completion date: 2011 | 3,400sf

A new vacation residence with guest house, both incorporating reclaimed barn structures (1800’s), sited on a rock face above the lake edge. 

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The design intent for the project was to create a private retreat hidden from the drive approach and sited to maximize the experiences available at the water's edge. The site was chosen just above the Corps of Engineer's high water control line for the lake, at the edge of a sheer rock face dropping to the lake. The main house and guest house were positioned to maximize views of the main water channel, to provide a courtyard living space and to provide arrival views to the water between the two building forms. A large screened porch cantilevers over the water, and an operable screened wall panel can be opened to allow the owners to jump directly to the water 15 feet below. The larger of the two barns provided space for the main house functions, while a guest suite and loft are located in the smaller barn. The siting allows for the house to utilize waterborne breezes to flow through the house; a crows nest window opens to vent warmer air out of the envelope. Passive cooling along with radiant floor heating allow for comfortable use of the home year-round while minimizing energy usage. Abundant windows are placed on the lake side, providing down-river views that can be enjoyed from nearly every space in the house. Crisp finish materials were chosen to complement the aged timbers of the structure such that there is no illusion about what elements are original and what has been added to the structure.