Lakefront Retreat

This is the story of Robert and Julia Black. Robert and Julia are an eclectic couple planning to build the lakeside retreat they have dreamed about throughout their 26 year marriage. Robert is a tenured English professor at the local university and Julia teaches a high school art class. Robert and Julia are lovers of the arts, as one can tell from their perennial purchase of season tickets to the local theater and ballet. They have owned property up by the lake for 10 years now and are excited to build their coveted (almost mystical by now) lakeside retreat. Their current furniture is a blend of a few cherished midcentury modern pieces from Design Within Reach but they are not averse to mixing in more affordable and contemporary pieces from IKEA and CB2.

Robert and Julia do have two children, but they are both long gone by now, and much to their chagrin both kids living abroad these days. Their son (the youngest) works as an “evil capitalist” stock trader in London (and yes they still love him the same), and their daughter is working through a rotation program at the United Nations, traveling the world, and helping various nations with their policy work. This means they do not get to see their children that often, so can really create this retreat just for themselves (with potential short term guests). That said, they do want this home to be a family heirloom.

Robert and Julia agree that the retreat’s spaces should be simple, open, and clean. Julia requires a space for her painting, and Robert needs an office\library are to store his massive book collection, dive into a paper grading session, or just sit down with a good book. Two of Robert’s favorite writers are Robert Frost, and Henry David Thoreau. As one can imagine, with these two icons as mentors, Robert has a strong connection with nature. Both he and Julia are very interested in their home being open to nature, and kind to it as well, using as few resources as possible. This connection with nature has also sparked a bit of green thumb in Julia and she has enjoys gardening in her free time. This fits perfectly with Robert’s love of cooking and entertaining friends, as he always has Organic ingredients from his wonderful wife. Both Robert and Julia enjoy natural materials, but are worried about durability. Since this will be a second home, and hopefully an heirloom, they also want a very durable structure which won’t require constant maintenance. They fully realize that this cannot just be a piece of art, it also has to be a functional home.


  • Date: Dec, 2010
  • Type: Professional Work
  • Client: Better House Plan