Project: Vermont Homestead
Interior Design: Brooke Michelsen Design
Landscape Architect: Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture
Builder: O’Neill Builders, LLC
Location: South Hero, Vermont
Photo Credits: Erica Allen Studio, Ivar Bastress Photography
Homestead is located on a 12.6 acre parcel in South Hero, Vermont on the shores of Lake Champlain. The site consists of an open meadow that slopes easterly to the lake. The region is notable for its agrarian landscape of pastoral farms.
The lake adjacency was a strong factor in siting the home, but ultimately placing the home in the upper meadow, adjacent to the neighboring farm, created a stronger relationship to the landscape. This location allowed for future lake access with a phase two cabin adjacent to the water’s edge.
The single-story concept was in response to the scale of the surrounding context. An existing adjacent farm includes a large timber frame gambrel barn and gable roofed chicken coop. The repetition of detail, window type and size, rafter tails, standing seam roofing, black stained vertical cedar siding, single-story gables with identical pitches all contribute to the quiet pastoral aesthetic; harmonious with the landscape. Vermont Homestead reflects the typical farmyard composition of the agrarian typology.
The four gable structures of Homestead are linked with a perpendicular circulation gable. This shared corridor is on axis with the mouth of the lake cove and extends as a path to the future cabin. Programmatically, garages are located westerly, adjacent to the entry and road. Living and sleeping spaces are located closer to the lake. This concept created outdoor spaces that are specific to the function of each gable. The autocourt, entry, outdoor living terrace, and extended meadow reflect this relationship.
The structure has a unique point loaded foundation system with extensive waterproofing to prevent any movement below grade due to the discovery of expandable shale during excavation.
The building envelope is insulated with closed-cell spray foam with R-60 roofs and R-34 walls. The mechanical system includes whole house air conditioning with zoned electric heat pumps, and a high performance HRV air exchange system. The design of the house is fully accessible on one floor level.