Timber gallery hovers above the veranda of a lakeside retreat

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Timber gallery sits above the veranda of Salmela Architect's lakeside retreat

A slatted-timber gallery is raised above the porch of this woodland lodge near the shore of Lake Superior in Wisconsin (+ slideshow).

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

Located in a forested area near the small town of Herbster, the compact dwelling was designed by Minnesota firm Salmela Architect as part of a project to transform a family's former camping ground into a more comfortable retreat.

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

A porch complete with an outdoor fireplace runs along the building's south-facing elevation, making the most of the available sunlight.

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

Above this, two projecting timber beams support the gallery like a shipping container held aloft by a fork-lift truck. This structure creates shade in summer and protects the entrance from rain or snow at other times of year.

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

The balcony, which is clad in cedar slats along its length and features square openings at either end, is used as an open-air sleeping area during the warmer summer season.

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

Fine netting lining on the walls helps keep insects out, without obstructing views through the large opening and the smaller gaps between the wooden slats that clad the front wall.

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

A smaller deck enclosed by wooden fencing on the other side of the building overlooks a meadow, and provides a space for outdoor breakfasting.

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

The main building features a V-shaped roofline that funnels rainwater away from both of the external decks towards drainage spouts at either end of the building.

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

"The V-shape also resembles a vessel or boat hull which is seen from both the exterior and interior sleeping rooms," architect David Getty told Dezeen.

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

The main body of the house is clad with a black paper-resin composite that contrasts with the light cedar used for the fencing and gallery cladding.

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

Inside, the ground floor accommodates an open-plan kitchen, dining and living area with a wood-burning stove, while the first floor contains two bunk rooms, a guest room, a master suite and the gallery.

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

Basswood boards were used to line walls and ceilings throughout the interior. Dark tiles give the ground floor a neutral appearance that focuses attention on the view through the large window.

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

Furniture, joinery and details, including the staircase, doors and floor on the upper storey, are painted in primary colours.

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

Named Family Retreat, the building was completed alongside several other small structures, including a small sauna that echoes the black cladding of the main dwelling.

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

"The site had a significant amount of low wetlands that could not be disturbed," the architects told Dezeen. "The house and sauna are sited on opposite sides of a natural drainage line running through the site."

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

A storage building and woodshed at the end of a short curving driveway mark the entrance to the plot, which drops down to the lake at its farthest edge. The shed's walls are formed from vertical timber battens that match the slats on the porch of the house and echo the trunks of the surrounding trees.

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect

Photography is by Paul Crosby.


Project credits:

Architect: Salmela Architect
Principal Architect: David Salmela FAIA
Project Architect: David Getty
Structural Engineer: Meyer Borgman Johnson
Contractor: Lake Effect Builders

Family Retreat by Salmela Architect
Site plan – click for larger image
Family Retreat by Salmela Architect
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Family Retreat by Salmela Architect
First floor plan – click for larger image