When architects John Scholz and Margaret Barclay were looking for a lakeside getaway near Camden, Maine, they wanted a place that could accommodate both a residential living space as well as a separate studio for their business. After a few renovations and construction projects, this design duo found themselves in a custom cottage that met all of their needs.
Having lived in a rambling farmhouse, these architects knew that creating a compact and efficient yet comfortable home was important. “We approached the design from the perspective of living on a boat,” John says. “Each square foot of space had to serve multiple uses.” The finish materials were selected for quality and simplicity to give the effect of spaciousness, while bands of windows were used to create a sense of openness in the small spaces, visually extending the size of the building beyond its walls.
The house itself is a modern take on a traditional Maine camp. The interior furnishings exude an effortless cottage style, as they are a combination of family heirlooms, Art Deco, and Scandinavian modern design. With lakeside living comes breathtaking views, so the couple took full advantage of their surroundings as the living, dining, kitchen, bedrooms, and study enjoy marvelous scenic views of the lake.
The chimney that now stands in John and Margaret’s entry was originally part of the exterior of an old existing cottage that was on the property. They decided to keep the chimney and fireplace, designing around it to keep a bit of history. “We raised the chimney height and set a Wittus steel firebox with glass door into the fireplace to provide efficient auxiliary heat for the living, dining, and kitchen space during winter power outages and for visual enjoyment,” John says.
The kitchen is the epitome of their design perspective of “living on a boat.” With practical built-in storage areas they were committed to utilizing all available spaces. This idea led them to design the double-wide, double-sided kitchen counter. On the kitchen side it has a utensil drawer with trash bins below, as well as a utility cabinet below the sink and a Bosch dishwasher. On the living room side of the counter they have a row of bookshelves and a TV. To help create a cohesive look throughout, all countertops, tile flooring, and tiled wall surfaces are made from Vermont green slate.
“We both can cook, however, Meg is the primo chef,” John shares. The range is a Bertazzoni Italian gas five-burner range with convection oven. It fit neatly into the designed alcove, providing a modern yet warm residential feel with their choice of the semi-dark red, which juxtaposed well with the honed Vermont slate tile surrounding walls.
The ceiling in the master suite is fashioned in the same style as the one seen in the living space, structured with Douglas Fir beams covered with 67-foot-wide Russian spruce decking. And this Maine lake house would be incomplete without a collection of cozy rugs to keep their toes warm and a wood-burning heater like their sleek Wittus Shaker stove.