Caleb Johnson Studio — an architecture office based in Portland, Maine — sought to reenvision local cabin vernacular with Pieri Pines.
Commissioned by three brothers, the two-storey house references traditional Maine camps and provides a simple, functional refuge that serves as a familial gathering space.
Locally sourced Eastern white cedar clads the entirety of the exterior. It was stained to resemble the textures of the surrounding trees and stones, according to the studio.
“A view from the lake presents a house that both recedes while voicing an opinion; the house stands out while blending into the landscape,” the studio said.
The house’s sharp angles stand out when seen up close, but when viewed from the adjacent dock, it blends into the treeline due to the wooden siding and the trees’ reflection in the glazing.
“This building, first and foremost, is about relating to the land,” the studio said. “The earth is never far away, and your access to it, visually and physically, is always present.”
The home slopes down with the site, connecting the living spaces with the environment at multiple points. The roof slopes away from the lake, leaving plenty of room on the lake-facing facade for large windows.
“This allows all the entry points to have a casual and gentle relationship to the exterior grade,” the studio continued.
The site is occupied by a large glacial boulder, and instead of removing it, the architects opted to work with it. The home’s deck wraps around the boulder, the living space looks out toward it and the second floor cantilevers over it.
“The boulder is an ever-present contributor to the human experience of this site,” the studio said. “It reminds us that we are the visitors and that this site has been evolving for thousands of years.”
Inside, the living spaces are organised in a split-level configuration.
One enters the home through a central access point that steps down to the main living space and kitchen. From here a set of stairs climbs up to three equal bedrooms – none of which are the “primary” bedroom.
“The communal spaces were prioritized to reinforce familial bonds,” the studio said.
The shared living spaces are partially separated by wooden beams and railing, which give the interiors a stacked effect.
Window-seat nooks, slat railings and step ladders create a sense of separation and allow for privacy within the relatively small home.
The wood used throughout was juxtaposed with metallic details including rustic, red window frames and a black wood-burning stove.
Picture windows with minimal framing allow for uninterrupted views of the scenery beyond.
A lakeside deck serves as an extension of the living areas.
“The deck provides gentle access to a rear lawn before a meandering path leads you to the water,” the studio said.
Completed in 2022, Pieri Pines is set to receive an architecture award from AIA New England in October.
Other wood-wrapped designs by Caleb Johnson Studio include In the Dunes House, which stands on stilts and opens to the New England coast. Other homes that have tree-house-like qualities include Whitten Architects’ Caterpillar Hill in Penobscot Bay, Maine.
The photography is by Trent Bell.
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