A unique request, a unique response…Living with Lightning Bugs

Architects are often given credit for pushing the envelope in exploration of new spatial conditions and building types. Often clients are the catalyst for such explorations, which is precisely what happened on this project. The client, from South Carolina, wanted to escape the heat of the southern summer and purchased a small house nestled against a rock outcropping in Dutchess County, New York. While visiting her sister, who lives in the Hudson Valley, she slept on the porch one night and was mesmerized by the light show put on by the fireflies. Meanwhile, the client had decided her small summer house needed to be expanded to accommodate frequent visitors. With the expansion she wanted to create a camp like feeling and have the ability to sleep closer to nature where she could watch the lightning bugs at night. Due to the rock face, the site was tight and the expansion possibilities were very limited. A connector was created from the existing screened porch, which leads to an enclosed pavilion, comprised of a sleeping area and bathroom. The sleeping pavilion is connected to a new large screened porch which houses a gathering space with central fireplace. The screened porch and pavilion can be isolated with a twelve foot wide double sliding barn door. The materials featured in this project are polished concrete floors and rough sawn exposed framing lumber. The cathedral ceilings, materials and openness of the structure draw the outdoors in, creating a very comfortable connection to nature. The addition is used seasonally and in the fall it is winterized and closed until the following spring. Every project has a unique set of circumstances, this one a little more than others.  It was very fun to work on.