Dezeen Magazine

Cedar Clad cabin Maine

Caleb Johnson Studio clads Pieri Pines lake house in Maine with local cedar

Caleb Johnson Studio has created a timber-clad family home in Otisfield, Maine that has no primary bedroom in order to "reinforce familial bonds".

Caleb Johnson Studio — an architecture office based in Portland, Maine — sought to reenvision local cabin vernacular with Pieri Pines.

Timber-clad maine vacation home Thompson Lake
Caleb Johnson Studio designed a cedar-clad cabin in Maine

Commissioned by three brothers, the two-storey house references traditional Maine camps and provides a simple, functional refuge that serves as a familial gathering space.

Locally sourced Eastern white cedar clads the entirety of the exterior. It was stained to resemble the textures of the surrounding trees and stones, according to the studio.

Lakehouse near Thompson Lake
The home was built around a glacial boulder

"A view from the lake presents a house that both recedes while voicing an opinion; the house stands out while blending into the landscape," the studio said.

The house's sharp angles stand out when seen up close, but when viewed from the adjacent dock, it blends into the treeline due to the wooden siding and the trees' reflection in the glazing.

Cedar interior Maine cabin
Cedar was used in the exterior and interior

"This building, first and foremost, is about relating to the land," the studio said. "The earth is never far away, and your access to it, visually and physically, is always present."

The home slopes down with the site, connecting the living spaces with the environment at multiple points. The roof slopes away from the lake, leaving plenty of room on the lake-facing facade for large windows.

Cedar interiors in Maine modern cabin
It is meant as a vacation home for three brothers and their family

"This allows all the entry points to have a casual and gentle relationship to the exterior grade," the studio continued.

The site is occupied by a large glacial boulder, and instead of removing it, the architects opted to work with it. The home's deck wraps around the boulder, the living space looks out toward it and the second floor cantilevers over it.

Wood stove in Maine modern cabin with modern accents
Metal accents complement the wood

"The boulder is an ever-present contributor to the human experience of this site," the studio said. "It reminds us that we are the visitors and that this site has been evolving for thousands of years."

Inside, the living spaces are organised in a split-level configuration.

Reading nook in Maine cabin
Nooks allow for privacy

One enters the home through a central access point that steps down to the main living space and kitchen. From here a set of stairs climbs up to three equal bedrooms – none of which are the "primary" bedroom.

"The communal spaces were prioritized to reinforce familial bonds," the studio said.

The shared living spaces are partially separated by wooden beams and railing, which give the interiors a stacked effect.

Window-seat nooks, slat railings and step ladders create a sense of separation and allow for privacy within the relatively small home.

Bedroom in Maine cabin
Each bedroom is the same size

The wood used throughout was juxtaposed with metallic details including rustic, red window frames and a black wood-burning stove.

Picture windows with minimal framing allow for uninterrupted views of the scenery beyond.

A lakeside deck serves as an extension of the living areas.

"The deck provides gentle access to a rear lawn before a meandering path leads you to the water," the studio said.

Split level view in Maine modern cabin
The home has a split-level configuration

Completed in 2022, Pieri Pines is set to receive an architecture award from AIA New England in October.

Other wood-wrapped designs by Caleb Johnson Studio include In the Dunes House, which stands on stilts and opens to the New England coast. Other homes that have tree-house-like qualities include Whitten Architects' Caterpillar Hill in Penobscot Bay, Maine.

The photography is by Trent Bell. 

More images and plans

Pieri Pines Caleb Johnson Studio
Pieri Pines Caleb Johnson Studio
Pieri Pines Caleb Johnson Studio
Pieri Pines Caleb Johnson Studio
Pieri Pines Caleb Johnson Studio
Pieri Pines Caleb Johnson Studio
Pieri Pines Caleb Johnson Studio
Pieri Pines Caleb Johnson Studio
Pieri Pines Caleb Johnson Studio
Pieri Pines Caleb Johnson Studio