SMP was asked to come up with a concept for a multi-level lake house—large enough for the owners to host extended family, and with traditional “cottage” detail—on a small site. The property owner had purchased the land from an owner who had planned to tear down a small house on the lot and replace it, but had only made landscape improvements so far. The site was spectacular: south-facing with a long view over a cove all the way to Mount Sunapee in the distance. Clearly, it would all be about the view.


SMP agreed that the existing house had little merit, though the previous owner’s landscaping was very well done. We contacted the landscape designer, and his approach to cascading circular stone terraces became the point of departure for our house design. Integrating the house to the site and creating a seamless whole became our priority, and the design was influenced by our goals to preserve trees, use the prominent rocks on the site, and use the levels stepping down to the lake.


Because the site sloped a full story toward the lake, SMP designed the landward/public/entry side as diminutive, while the lakeside façade would make more of a statement—fitting for this largely boating community. Additionally, we sought to create a welcoming entrance side while keeping the prominent two-car garage from dominating the arrival experience. The plan created a mostly wide-open family floor, with more private guest rooms and master suite above, and a “mini-master” suite and recreation rooms on the lower walk-out level.