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Stuart Silk Architects designs Lake Chelan Retreat, Washington, USA

Project name:
Lake Chelan Retreat
Architecture firm:
Stuart Silk Architects
Lake Chelan, Washington
Aaron Leitz
Principal architect:
Stuart Silk
Design team:
Stuart Silk, Amanda Cavassa
Interior design:
Larry Hooke Interior Design
Built area:
Site area:
Design year:
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
Structural engineer:
Environmental & MEP:
Land Morphology & Anderson Landscaping
Tools used:
Toth Construction
Residential › House

Stuart Silk Architects: This lake house is on Lake Chelan’s south shore and looks north up the reach of this fifty-mile-long lake as it winds its way through the North Cascades.  Glaciers feed the lake and account for its stunning azure blue color. Lake Chelan is noted for its hot arid climate, clear waters, and Alps-like scenery. This two-acre site comprises a main house, two guest bungalows, a bunkhouse, pool house, and garage. Inspiration for this home is found in the great tradition of lake houses found across the US—including those in the Adirondacks and in New Hampshire—filtered through Lake Chelan’s unique regional sensibility and environmental conditions. The result is a compound that allows family and friends to gather and enjoy lakeside living for extended periods of time in the summer months. 

More than anything, the clients wanted the home to capture a timeless quality as though it had been there for generations. The design team went to great lengths to achieve this goal. Classically proportioned gabled forms were designed with the added nuance of gently swooping eaves and many distinctive details including decorative corbels. The natural Western Red shingles have been allowed to weather and are complemented by a specially mixed blue/grey trim which has become the home’s trademark. The theme is repeated in each out-building with carefully considered variations to avoid repetition and to ensure the composition is of one piece. Stone foundation walls and carefully proportioned mullioned windows add to the home’s overall classical nature. The goal was to create a relaxed yet dignified aesthetic, without being formal or stiff.

The main residence functions as the clubhouse and central hub for the complex and has a large central room that opens to the kitchen and is big enough for everyone to gather as a group. This is the core of the home and provides a vantage point from which to see the pool, dock, beach, and lawn. A large outdoor, covered, screened-in dining terrace is a crucial element to the home to accommodate large gatherings for lunch and dinner. The outdoor room is situated to avoid blocking the light or views of the lake from the great room or kitchen. Located at the middle of the home on axis with the entry, the protected terrace serves to separate the commons areas of the home (living and dining areas) from the private areas of the home (four bedrooms and an office). A light-filled gallery connects the two areas of the home.

There are four out-buildings, including two cabins where guests can enjoy their privacy while never being too far from water activities and family fun. The bunkhouse is a kid’s zone and can accommodate up to twelve to make a real camp house for children and friends. A separate pool-side structure provides a place for gathering at the pool. Interior design provides a fun and cheerful aesthetic, including traditional lakeside elements such as an old wooden canoe that hangs from the ceiling in the bunkhouse, as well as traditional Americana.

By Liliana Alvarez

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