Lake house, take two

There’s a lot of family history built into this summer getaway spot turned year-round home.

By Jaci Conry
August 9, 2009

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It’s not every day that an architect lands a project combining a rich family history and a nearly blank slate. But when John Tittmann of Boston-based Albert, Righter & Tittmann Inc. was approached to rebuild on a spot where a family’s summer house had been destroyed by fire in the 1950s, that’s basically what happened. “The property has been in the same family for over 100 years,” says Tittmann.

When the owners decided it was time to build a new place at their land on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnepocket, they looked to the one structure that survived the fire, an octagonal summer sleeping pavilion built, says Tittmann, “with local tree trunks, sticks, and fieldstone.” They asked Tittmann to design a vacation home that echoed what was there. Built into a hill, the pavilion has a wood roof, a stone chimney, and a base supported by rocks.

The new house is set on a hill, too, and sited for lake and mountain views. Inside, the home achieves a relaxed feel with an open floor plan and wood-clad interiors. The stone chimney and stonework echo the pavilion, as well as fieldstone walls that were built on the property in the 19th century. Another opportunity to merge old and new came when the homeowners salvaged from a dilapidated property on the land a cache of boards that had been milled 100 years before from trees grown there. The 2-foot-wide pine boards are now part of the entryway.

“While the homeowners wanted the house to be rustic, to honor the origins of the landscape, they also wanted to include some sophistication,” says Tittmann. To achieve this, they conceived a carved column at the entrance of the house. “It’s a citified version of the wood columns made of tree trunks on the sleeping pavilion,” says Tittmann. This one features elaborate carvings by a Maine carpenter, the late Bob Dunning, that celebrate the setting with depictions of native squirrels, woodpeckers, trees, and plants.

Initially a secondary residence when completed five years ago, the homeowners enjoyed it so much, says the architect, that last year “they moved in year-round.”

Jaci Conry is a freelance writer. Send comments to

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