Sketches to Reality: Designing a Waterfront Home on Priest Lake

A waterfront home we designed was recently completed on the shores of Priest Lake in the Selkirk Mountains of North Idaho.  I think I can speak for all architects in that it is always gratifying to see sketches become reality.

Waterfront Home on Priest Lake by Hendricks Architecture

Home on Priest Lake

Our client wanted a “mountain rustic timber-framed Arts & Crafts style home.”  Among other prerequisites, the home needed to take advantage of the lake views and white sand beaches, include a view tower and window seats, and be spacious and inviting with several large rooms.  A small allowable building footprint (made even smaller by flood plain requirements), as well as building height limitations, turned it into a fun puzzle to solve.

Typically I go over with our clients what the requirements are, whether it’s in person, by phone, email, etc.  In this case we did all three.  There are some clients of ours that I’ve actually never met, and some I’ve never even heard their voice.  In this particular case we met in person and went over his initial objectives.  We then went over space relationships (kitchen near the mud room, etc.), and after looking it over I gave him an estimation of how many square feet the house would be, as well as how much it would likely cost to build.

Waterfront Home Firepit on Priest Lake designed by Hendricks Architecture

Peek-a-boo view of the house, and a nice place to hang out in the evening.

By the time I start designing we are in mutual agreement on everything, and it’s a matter of me putting it all down on paper.  I take out the trace paper and start molding the spaces into a form.  At the same time I’m drawing quick form sketches of plans, roof plans and elevations that only I can understand.  Sort of like a sculptor artist starting to shape a block of clay (though maybe not quite as elegant).

Rough sketch roof plan design of the waterfront home

A Rough Sketch of a Roof Plan

These sketches are not pretty, and to others may look like chicken scratch.  Here is another unedited sketch, this time of the elevation.  The roofs don’t work well here for snow runoff, but again these are real quick and the details are figured out once the form is being shaped.

Waterfront home architect sketch on Priest Lake

Rough Elevation Sketch

I rarely show these to clients as many wouldn’t understand them, and might fire us on the spot for using kindergartners to design their house.

Once I have the design basics figured out, I’ll draw a site plan, floor plans and the exterior elevations in more detail to present to the client.  I like to give them the entire composition so they can see the overall concept in front of them.  This is part of the schematic design phase.  You can get a glimpse of the typical architectural process by clicking here.  Here is an updated lake-facing elevation.  Now the tower has been moved more towards the center of the house.  For some finished photos see Priest Lake House.

Waterfront home lake elevation sketch designed by Hendricks Architecture

Lakeside Schematic Elevation

After we’re in agreement on the design, we move onto design development.  Here we’ll put these sketches into more defined form on the computer, along with any changes requested by the client.  Here is the same elevation after it’s modified and drawn in the computer.  See if you can see what the changes were.

Priest Lake waterfront home elevation in AutoCAD

Once we agree on the design here, we’ll start drawing up construction documents, which will be detailed enough for contractors to price and build from.  Here again is the lakeside elevation with applicable notes and tags.

Priest Lake waterfront home AutoCAD construction drawing

Here is a photo of the final product, again from the lakeside elevation to be consistent.  This photo doesn’t show all the windows of the tower.  To actually see them at the same angle as the elevation drawings, I would need to be about 25 feet in the air, or out on the lake (where the tower and lake “see each other”).

Waterfront Home Priest Lake

Many thanks to Sandau Builders of Priest Lake, who did an excellent job as the building contractor.  Jane Scott Design lent her expertise to the Arts & Crafts interior design.  Barcus Engineering did the structural design.  Mingo Mountain Woodworking did an awesome job with the woodworking throughout the house.

Hendricks Architecture specializes in the design of timber mountain style homes and cabins, not only at Priest Lake, but throughout North America.  Our homes have been featured in Timber Home Living, Mountain Living, Cowboys & Indians, Cabin Life and other publications. If you are interested in a mountain home, or you have any other inquiries, please contact us.

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Mexico Beach House: The Infinity Edge Pool

As mountain architects predominantly specializing in mountain style homes, we aren’t asked very often to design infinity edge pools on the building sites.  For this hilltop Mexican style beach house, near the city of Zihuatanejo, Mexico, we were given the opportunity, designing an organically shaped home and infinity edge pool hovering over the Pacific Ocean.

Beach House Infinity Pool Hendricks Architecture

Mexico Beach House Infinity Pool

The site is steeply sloping, with a guest house towards the top, the main residence in the center, and the pool just below.   The guest house, pool, and landscaping are being constructed in phase one, with the main house to follow later.

Beach House Infinity Pool Sunset Architects

Sunset view from the Mexico Beach House

These photos show the recently completed pool.  Infinity edge pools, also called vanishing edge pools, have no curb on the down-slope side, so the water cascades over the edge.  At the right angles, this gives the illusion of the water continuing into an ocean, lake, or river beyond.  There is a different affect when there is a city, forest or other landscaping beyond, though it can be just as dramatic, if not more so.  The water cascades over the edge, into a receiving channel, and is recycled back into the pool.

The curved pool in this case is similarly matched with the organically shaped Mexico beach house design.  For a plan of the existing site, see our previous post Beach Home on Mexico’s Pacific Coast.

Pool tile architectural detail for beach house

Pool tile detail

This particular pool is intricately detailed in Mexican style, and creates its own shimmering light show under sunlight.  Thousands of elliptical glass tiles were placed one at a time at the bottom of the pool, with even smaller square tiles along the walls, curb, and outer walls into the drainage basin .  Needless to say, labor is cheap in Mexico.

Organic pool architecture from below

The organically shaped concrete pool from below

Many thanks to Sandau Builders for sending me these photos.  Most of us in the Northern Hemisphere can only dream about places like this during the winter.

John Hendricks, AIA Architect

At Hendricks Architecture, we specialize in the mountain architectural style, but have designed all over the spectrum, from beach houses in Mexico to storybook cottages in the northeastern United States.  We’re located in Sandpoint, Idaho.  Click to Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog.

Beach Home on Mexico’s Pacific Coast

Hendricks Architecture has designed a beach home which is currently under construction on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, near the city of Zihuatanejo.  Designing these Coastal Homes is always an enjoyable experience, especially when the property delivers awe inspiring views of the coastline as well as whale activity and ocean sunsets.

Mexico Beach Home – The Guest House

The hilltop guest house over the garage is being built first, along with the landscaping and pool.  The more organic main home will be constructed at a later date.  One of the owner’s favorite elements on the site is the infinity pool, which will hover over the ocean below.

Mexico Beach Home – Infinity Pool Construction

This seaside home has some similarities to the mountain architecture style we typically design, such as timbers and gable roofs.  It also has many differences such as the concrete structure for moisture and thermal efficiency.  The main house will also have spacious rooftop decks.

Mexico Beach Home – Trellis

This beach house by the sea is sure to be enjoyed for decades to come.  It certainly has some nice sunsets.

Mexico Beach Home – Hammock on the Covered Deck

See Mexico Beach House for design sketches of the main residence.  The original site plan sketch of the property is shown below.

Mexico Beach Home – Site Plan Sketch

John Hendricks, AIA Architect

Hendricks Architecture designs custom residences throughout North America, from small beach houses to luxury waterfront mountain homes.

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Lakefront Mountain Home in Northern Idaho

A lakefront mountain home Hendricks Architecture designed was recently built in Northern Idaho.  The home faces north looking over Lake Pend Oreille, with great views of Sandpoint, Schweitzer Mountain Resort, and the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains.

Lakefront Mountain Home

Lakefront Mountain Home

The property included an outdated lake home.  The layout of the existing home and view corridors didn’t work for the owner’s tastes, and wasn’t very energy efficient, so they decided to tear it down and start over.  The Owner’s mountain style home wishlist included a rustic, yet refined look on the exterior, with cedar, stone and timbers.  They wanted the interior a little more modern and cozy, with well done finishes, and higher ceilings.  They also wanted views from all the major rooms.

The existing home didn’t get any winter sun, so they wanted to bring in as much natural light as possible, while still maintaining some privacy.  We designed in a cupola (held up by timber trusses) and a couple of dormer windows to add more natural light, along with other windows.  I knew we succeeded when I showed the house to a client and they asked me why I didn’t turn the lights off when we were leaving.  When I replied that they in fact were off, they gave me that wide-eyed wow look that’s always fun to see.

Front Entry

Front Entry

Two existing garages were kept, one of which was connected to the new house and given new exterior materials.  A third garage was torn down to make space for construction materials, as it was a tight lot with limited access.  A long mudroom/laundry/pantry connects the garage to the house.  A great room, which includes an open kitchen, dining, and living areas, has breathtaking views out to the lake.  The master bedroom also has great views, along with its own fireplace, and a large nook for her desk and bookshelves.

In the daylight basement below are bedrooms, an exercise room and office.  The guest bedroom is a favorite, and it looks out between massive stone pillars forming an arch, which frames the water and mountain views.  Because the home is on a fairly steep slope (about 30 degrees), the basement sits back against the hill.  We designed mechanical and storage in the rear, and included a wine room that is so naturally cool year round that a refrigeration unit isn’t necessary.

The home was built jointly by Dan Fogerty of Sandpoint, Idaho and Denman Construction of Whitefish, Montana.  Photos by Marie Dominique Verdier.

John Hendricks, AIA Architect

Hendricks Architecture, Idaho mountain architects specializing in mountain style lakefront homes and cabins.  Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog.

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