When Martin and Harriet Roth set out to build a vacation house on their property on Otnabog Lake, in the tiny town of Queenstown, New Brunswick, the operative word was “simple.” They saw the isolated property as an escape from their busy lives in Berlin, and were inspired by local vernacular architecture, particularly the barns that dot the landscape.
Together with their architects, Johannes Modersohn and Antje Freiesleben, they came up with a simple solution for the property: two barnlike sections connected by a breezeway, in an arrangement that recalls the dogtrots of the past. The upper portion of the breezeway is enclosed, connecting the bedrooms upstairs; downstairs, two sets of 21-foot-wide accordion doors open the home’s middle section to the outdoors. The whole thing is surrounded by a generous porch, and the wood platform that forms the floor is raised off of the concrete foundation to allow snowmelt to run under the house in the spring.
The couple’s neighbor, Grant Pye, served as the contractor, and did most of the work on the home himself. It took him four years, since he was only able to work during the area’s brief warm season.
The architects kept the home’s detailing simple — exposed wood for the cladding and trim, and a metal ceiling for the porch. This helped to keep costs to a relatively low $150,000, and also lends the home a spare, rustic elegance perfect for the isolated location. Viewed from the side, with the doors open, space flows through the house, so that it becomes a sort of framing device for the surrounding landscape. It’s an elegant and rustic getaway, and also, the prefect antidote to the occasionally chaotic nature of city life.
You can read more about this project (and also see a floor plan!) at Dwell.