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Wilson Residence

Location: Vermilion Lake, United States Year of construction: 1998 Architect: David Salmela

The objective behind this project was to design a house suited not only to the location, the region, and the client’s needs, but that would also have a contemporary look.

The Wilson Residence is located on a rocky point on the shores ofVermilion Lake and has stunning views of the lake and surrounding countryside. For the family who live here the geographical nature of the site and its situation evoke the landscape of Sweden. It was built as a country retreat by the present owner’s grandfather, who emigrated from Sweden in the early 20th century. As a child, the present owner spent his summers at the old house, where he developed a passion for boat-building. After living on the eastern and western seaboards of the United States while pursuing their careers in engineering, he and his wife, also of Swedish descent, decided to take early retirement and fulfil their common dream: to construct a house and devote their time to boat-building.

A first line of parallel forms flanks the main living room, the most important area of the house, around which the remaining spaces are structured. The master bedroom looks west while the remaining rooms face east. The formality of the two units is suddenly broken by the rocky outcrop of the mountain and the systematic change in the window pattern. The main living room appears to stand in front of a Victorian-style window screen, like a covered terrace, and acts as a transitional space between the interior of the house and the natural space outside. In contrast, the courtyard is on a smaller scale, enclosing and concealing the view of the lake until you enter the house.

The success and power of this design lie in its ability to be both modern and traditional, to have a classical appearance organized with an apparently spontaneous lack of symmetry.

The house is constructed around lines of sight, the best sources of natural light, the desire to create a distinctive access, and architecturally expressive lines.

In the interior we find restful spaces that are an invitation to stay and contemplate the landscape framed in the large windows. The white of the walls and ceilings merges with the pale wood detail of the floor, the balustrades, and the interior pergola suspended over the living room. Highlights of color are introduced through the use of furnishings and rugs in tones of gray and navy blue.

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