How to Renovate a Modern Lakehouse: Black Lodge Retreat
Black Lodge Retreat, located in Unionville, Indiana, broke ground in fall 2017 for an extended family haven. The project is located right on beautiful Lake Lemon south of Martinsville and north of Bloomington.
HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles
YEAR : 2019
LOCATION : Unionville, IN
ARCHITECTURE : HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles
BLACK LODGE RETREAT
Black Lodge Retreat reconstruction began in fall 2017 to update an aging cottage for an extended family retreat on Lake Lemon. In fact, the client was interested in a dramatic modern transformation inside and out. The project was to incorporated existing conditions and add a main level master suite. Also, it needed to include complete interior updates enhancing indoor-outdoor relationships. But most importantly, they wanted a comfortable place for family to enjoy time together on the lake while also leaving a legacy for future generations.
The property sits adjacent to a protected forest owned by the City of Bloomington; a prime lakefront location. The original structure, built in the 1971 and acquired by our clients in 1989. It included the primary house with detached accessory storage and garage structures. Each was experiencing some degree of structural degradation, with outdated interior and exterior.
The interior functional layout generally follows the original, but adjusts to a more modern, open-concept plan. While the clerestory floods and unites the living spaces with natural light, the two-sided fireplace wrapped in exterior cladding separates living from dining.
Also, kitchen cabinets flow from kitchen to dining space, morphing into a new wet bar and clerestory tower. At the entry area, the team reconstructed the existing split-level stair, again utilizing exterior materials on the interior. Eastern White Pine was used to fashion custom block treads with rounded flutes on the walking surface. Heavy stringers are fabricated from Poplar glue-ups and painted black. Railing is a prefabricated steel and cable-rail kit of parts.
New high-efficiency appliances and plumbing fixtures, propane-fueled HVAC systems, extra wall insulation, smart-programmable controls, and LED light fixtures further contribute to project sustainability.
We sized the roofs for future intensive green roof and solar panel integration. Main level cabinetry is custom utilizing maple cabinet boxes and drawers with low-VOC materials and finishes. This home increased in size, yet the energy bills (propane $30/month – electrical averages $130/month) are dramatically reduced from previous baseline, according to the client (part-time residence). Baseline Energy Use Intensity (EUI): Typical Residential Home (130 Zero Score) – Target EUI: (40 Zero Score) – Projected EUI: (40 Zero Score) – Percent Reduction from Baseline: 70%
DESIGN SOLUTION: BLACK LODGE RETREAT
The new design solution connected and preserved the existing structures. This led to a completely new modern aesthetic inside and out. From the south, the new façade broadens the lakeside exposure with a low, horizontal roof tying together the inside and outside spaces. This broad facade and accompanying large window + door openings frame panoramic lakeside views. New master suite, storage, powder room, and screened porch spaces make-up the infill between original house and garage. The south-side screened porch is offset from the main living spaces to maximize interior views and light. The north-facing master suite bumps-out to accommodate space requirements and distinguish the massing independently from original house and garage. This new motif supports abundant glazing which receives the south passive solar rays in winter. The dark cladding retreats to counterbalance the bold, simple form. This also visually ties the exterior into a low-maintenance, cohesive whole.
Since covered porches span the entire south façade, it was important to find a solution that would allow an enhanced level of natural light into the living spaces beyond. The new clerestory along southern edge does just that, allowing sunlight to bypass the lower porch roof and directly shine into the interior living spaces. And as an added benefit upstairs, this raised area becomes a loft feature for the lakeside bedrooms (more places to sleep!). The central upper level pavilion rises above a mostly horizontal composition distinguishing itself with its height, shed-roof overhangs with contrasting soffits, and integrated uplighting.
Sustainable features include embodied energy from reclaimed-repaired-reinforced structural elements (original foundations, garage slab, wood walls and deck structures, foundation walls, shed + garage structures, and driveway). New double-glazed, aluminum-clad wood, low-E windows, sliding doors, and skylights replaced smaller, inefficient windows and doors for high-efficiency (daylighting + long-lasting materials) and to allow passive solar rays to heat interior spaces in winter. Windows on east and west exposures are minimized to limit east-west solar gain. New unvented roof system integrating closed-cell board insulation over deck + fiberglass under deck (R-45 or better) replaced under-insulated original vented attic – building envelope resilience.
Accoya/Shou-Sugi Ban siding clads the exterior, with contrasting soffits of Eastern White Pine – natural materials. Primary shed roof is standing seam in pre-weathered galvalume finish, with continous black gutter with debris screens and aluminum rain chains to channel water to sub-grade drainage tiles – long-lasting/resilient materials. Flat roof rainwater is channeled laterally via custom rooftop aqueduct spanning linear lakefront roofs with custom conductor heads and downspout terminations. We designed the site drainage and roof water management thoughtfully for the steeply-sloping site – sustainable drainage solutions. Flat roofs are black EPDM with ballast cover – light roof coverings address heat island effect.
Our client has owned this property for about 25 years and it has served as primarily a weekend destination. As a matter of fact, this particular site abuts a protected forest preserve on one side with no worry of future development. Without a doubt, the site and lake is a fabulous retreat for family gatherings and recreation all year long.
Over the years, the community has been upgrading the real estate in the area, and our clients decided it was time to do the same. By investing in the long-term for themselves and younger generations, they have raised the bar even higher for the area.
With HAUS + WERK, our client benefits from daily Architect involvement from beginning-to-end. From design concept to post-occupancy, the HAUS + WERK team initiates the concepts for Owner buy-in, solicits the construction team, and oversees day-to-day construction. If a high quality design is important, then it’s equally important that the design vision is protected and enhanced during the construction phase. In our process, every design concept, detail, and cost decision goes through the Owner and Architect prior to implementation. We believe this is how to achieve excellent architecture.
Thanks to Chris Adams for his daily oversight, framing, and trim carpentry work on H-LODGE. Thanks also to all of the other trade contractors, many of whom we are working with for the first time due to the project’s location.
FRAMING PROCESS GOES VERTICAL
The two large windows on top of the two-story volume are the locations of the matching bunk platforms that have their own nook inside two of the four upstairs bedrooms.
ROOF TRUSS INSTALLATION DAY
This raised ceiling accommodates clerestory below to bring south light over the covered porch (covered porch not framed yet in this photograph), but also forms the base for the upstairs raised bunk nooks overlooking the lake. During project tours, client family and friends seem most intrigued by the loft bed platforms above the clerestory windows.
CLIENT SITE VISIT
After this photo was taken, a few weeks later, Don and JoAnn brought JoAnn’s father down for a visit recently (he just turned 100-years-old this year). He said, “this is just how grandpa would have built it”. Grandpa was JoAnn’s grandpa, her mother’s father – a builder from his day. JoAnn said we now have validation from her father, which is a good feeling.
SHOU SUGI BAN SIDING
MORE FRAMING PROGRESS VIEWS
EXTERIOR SHEATHING SUBSTANTIAL COMPLETION
CRAFT TRADE ROUGH-IN STAGE
CABINETRY + FINISH CARPENTRY INSTALLATION BEGINS
READY FOR FINISH CARPENTRY
Now that crews have completed flooring, cabinetry, and tile, the final piece on the interior is finish carpentry. The fireplace wrap, architectural stair, and furnishings will tie up the remaining interior touches. We are really excited about the design of these details and helping coordinate their installation to finish.
Here below we can see how the exterior siding looks wrapping the gas fireplace enclosure. Blackened steel wraps the fascias above and below fireplace, including the recess returns.
Our cabinetry on all main level living spaces is custom-fabricated. However, areas such as closets, laundry, and guest vanities are tailored from prefabricated stock. In the photo below we can see thoughtful accommodations including open hanging space and drawers below. In addition, adjustable LED track-lighting provides the necessary illumination.
EXTERIOR SIDING + DECK PROGRESS
Once we weathered-in the house months prior, we weighted our focus on interior finish to keep that aspect rolling. So as we can see below, exterior is just a bit behind interior progress. Our friend Chris Adams is handling the rough carpentry, finish carpentry, flooring, and painting with limited crews. Hence, we have worked with Chris to help coordinate and prioritize phases of work.
Here below, we have completed about 80% of exterior siding. Besides the black siding, the team is also working to prefinish the clear white pine soffit materials. Of course, this can be challenging in cold weather. However, exterior lakeside decks can most certainly progress in the colder weather. Also, we are working to reuse portions of existing decks where possible, and integrate some existing stone retaining walls.
Our supplier shipped the decking material from Miami by way of Italy. This material comes in some interesting metric lengths which are shorter than other manufacturers. For this reason, we have designed a specific deck and structural layout solution.
METAL EXTERIOR DETAILS
The exterior is taking shape, but the details will make it architecture. In fact, we have some fine-tuning to complete. In particular, the area between the two upper level lakeside windows is to be metal-panel siding, not wood. For this reason, we’ll be removing siding between these windows, and our roofing contractor will install smooth black folded interlocking-seam panels with associated flashing for window alignment.
We have already met with roofer about this siding detail. But concurrently, he will also be installing copings, metal roof fascias, and the custom roof scuppers and open face downspout details. So, we’re excited to share our solutions for these details that address flat roof debris next to a heavily wooded location.
OPEN RISER ARCHITECTURAL STAIR
We have saved the open riser architectural stair for last on the interior so that other work and trades wouldn’t be contributing wear-and-tear to the stair. It was definitely worth the wait, and looks just as designed. We used Eastern White Pine for the treads, glued-up Poplar for the stringers, and pre-manufactured railing components for the railing system (Viewrail).
Please check-back as we will be posting updates periodically (like how our clients are enjoying the lodge, seasonal photos, etc) – you won’t want to miss them!