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Ferris Cabin

Patano Studio

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Project Description


The Ferris family have enjoyed this spectacular section of shoreline on the western side of Lake Coeur d’Alene for over 90 years. In 1963 our client’s parents built an iconic mid-century modern lake cabin perched over the beach. As the family grew over the next three generations the cozy cabin could not handle the new demands. A new cabin adjacent to the mid-century classic was needed so the entire family could enjoy summertime on the lake.

Working closely with the clients the architect developed a design that features two interlocking forms - a transparent volume with dark stained cedar siding contains the family gathering spaces. An opaque volume with natural cedar siding contains
the sleeping spaces and support spaces. The two forms are juxtaposed under a glu-lam framed roof structure. The family gathering space features a large window wall that provides the kitchen, dining room, family room and a loft with expansive views out to the lake. Careful detailing ensured that the entire project could be framed out of locally available wood. The channel cedar siding, T&G roof decking, glu-lam beams, wood flooring and framing members were all sourced from local mills and suppliers. A father and son team built the project with an old world approach to craftsmanship over the course of ten months.

The architects’ commitment to wood construction was threefold. First, wood is a low energy use material that is locally available in Idaho reducing the impact of this new structure on the environment. Second, wood structural members are carbon sinks that hold the carbon the trees collected while growing keeping the carbon out of the atmosphere. Third, the inherent ability of wood as a material to change and weather with beauty over time makes it a timeless material to work with. The execution of the large window wall and open floor plan out of wood structural members required a commitment
to the material and detailing. Steel structure is most often utilized to achieve a 32’-0” clear span and a 20’-0” tall window wall. Research and careful detailing resulted in the selection of engineered wood products such as LVL’s and Glu-Lam Beams to create the structure and space of the cabin. Steel was limited to the connections of the wood members and the wood structure was pushed to its limits. The cantilevers, large spans and tall window wall all express wood working in its various capacities and enhance the beauty and utility of the material.
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