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Family Retreat

Salmela Architect

Project Name

Family Retreat

Project Status



1,280 sq. feet


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2015 Residential Architect Design Awards
Custom/Under 3,000 Square Feet
Honorable Mention

Located on the shore of Lake Superior, this small Wisconsin retreat designed by Duluth, Minn.–based Salmela Architect is a model of efficiency at 1,280 square feet. Yet its bold volumes—including a butterfly roof and a cantilevered screened porch on the second floor—give it a striking presence. Visitors first glimpse the house framed by a woodshed with vertical cedar slats and a black, paper-resin composite-clad storage building that flank the driveway, the materiality of which repeats in the two volumes of the main house. The living area extends outside with a deck bounded by a stone fireplace. Inside, pale wooden planks line the walls of the ship-like living room, and a picture window offers views of the lake beyond. A bright yellow staircase leads up to the sleeping quarters: a compact master suite, guest room, and bunkroom, all in a 16-foot-wide by 40-foot-long space. The interior is detailed like a piece of furniture, with thoughtfully designed touches like wall pegs for hanging clothes and space-saving pocket doors. —Alan G. Brake

From the Jury

“I’m in love with the way these object structures are composed on the site.” —Bruce D. Snider

Project Credits

Architect: Salmela Architect, Duluth, Minn.—David Salmela, FAIA
Project Size: 1,280 square feet
Construction Cost: Withheld

Click here to see all of the winners from the 2015 Residential Architect Design Awards.

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