A millennium-old conundrum for families — and extended families — is that while of course everybody loves one another and wants to spend some time together, sometimes people just want their distance. That was true when a Spokane, Washington, couple and their two grown children — one’s married with three children, the other is one chef — decided to pool resources and build a family holiday cabin on Lake Coeur d’Alene in nearby northern Idaho.
However, how do four individuals from two generations with varying needs and styles create a dream home together? Architect Matthew Collins of Uptic Studios responded with what he predicts pods — different regions in the house that afford privacy, with a fantastic space as the main interacting area.
in a Glance
Who lives here: That is a holiday home for a couple in their 60s and their children and grandkids.
Location: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (about Half an Hour east of Spokane, Washington)
Size: 3,200 square feet (4 pods, 750 square feet each, plus a 200-square-foot bridge); 5 bedrooms, 4 1/2 bathrooms
Budget: About $250 per square foot, not including extensive site function to divert a underground spring
Collins had to find the joyful design medium for the two generations. The elderly couple needed a more traditional log cabin style. Their children wanted something more contemporary. They finished up with a contemporary interpretation of a log cabin that mixes concrete floors, a pine wood ceiling and metal accents.
And while everybody has different private pod areas, they all interact in the spacious living, dining and kitchen spaces.
Inverted steel poles and tension bars pull on the ceiling beam, so forcing it up to help support the pine-covered cantilever roof. Without this intelligent system, Collins says, a much bigger beam could have been required.
The family likes to cook and entertain, so they wanted the dining and kitchen space to be designed more for social gathering than formal dining.
A miniature storefront door acts as a window that fully opens to link the kitchen into an external deck.
The window also acts as a serving channel and bar area, letting guests on the large ipe wood deck to engage with those from the kitchen.
The concrete’s feel on the towering fireplace stems in a old-school board-form process from 200 decades ago, Collins says. Numerous sizes of plywood are piled up, creating a form that is then filled with concrete. Once it has hardened, the boards are ripped off, exposing the grain of their wood detail and plank lines on the concrete.
Rain screen–style fir wood panels make up the interior walls. Here they’re placed over drywall that’s been painted.
The elder couple are big contributors and wanted a silent library space in their pod. Collins worked to incorporate the built-in casework, painting it white to create negative space that highlights the warm wood.
The mix of wood with concrete, and taxidermy with a contemporary couch, strikes the balance of traditional and contemporary that Collins was aiming for.
The older couple’s bedroom feels expertly joined to the lake, with big windows that tug light into a private balcony that delivers a 270-degree view of the serene water.
2 frosted-glass doors direct into the library, letting light through but additionally allowing privacy.
A sliding door allows the senior couple shut their glider off from the remainder of the house.
Barn door components: Krownlab
The daughter and her husband and three children occupy the bottom floor of one of the pods. It’s a kitchenette, washer-dryer, dining nook, bedroom and bunk room.
Staircase: Burly Products
The younger couple’s bedroom has double doors that completely open up to a little patio and staggering views of the lake.
The kids’ bunk room can sleep six.
A lot of the design in the area is a reply the intense seasons: over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, under zero in the winter. This causes an aesthetic that bears some “beefiness,” as Collins puts it.
A large cantilevered roof shields the house and its cantilevered deck distances from sun, snow and rain, with a design philosophy that keeps the structure vulnerable.
The underside of the roofing is pine; it carries into the interior of the house to develop into the ceiling.
Four pods — two wings with two pods one in addition to the other — are joined by an interior bridge, creating a dog-bone shape, Collins says. One of the pods is your combined living, dining and kitchen spaces; it opens into an expansive deck. The other pods would be the personal bedroom locations.
The land posed many challenges. Not only is it sloped and narrow, but a natural spring runs beneath the hillside. “You can poke the dirt anywhere and water could come out,” Collins says. This resulted in the two-part design. “I would really like to say it had been my own genius,” he says. “However it was just reacting to these variables.”
A comprehensive drainage system was installed to divert water around the base.
Wanting to maximize outdoor space, Collins avoided using columns on the deck. Instead he designed this steel beam program to support the cantilevered roof and permit windows to extend all of the way to the ceiling.