Tom Kundig

A Modern Vacation Cabin in Idaho.

Sitting here in a snow-covered and frozen midwest got me dreaming about being some place warm and sunny. This got me to thinking about things like a vacation house, and how lovely it would be to have one, or even afford one for that matter. Anyway I was doing a search for modern vacation homes, or cabin retreats, and I found the “Chicken Point Cabin”, at Lake Hayden in Idaho.

Designed by Tom Kundig, the design principal at Olson Kundig Architects, the 3400 square foot home is sited on a half-acre of land in the heart of the Coeur D’Alene National Forest. This structure sits 2300 feet above sea level looking out at 50 miles of shoreline, beaches and crystal clear mountain water.

When Kundig was designing the house, his focus was on creating a little box with extensive glazing to take full advantage of the views. On one side of the cabin there is a “Window Wall” measuring 20 by 30 feet in size. The entire window is hinged allowing it to open up to the outdoors extending the living space to the forest and lake.

The structure is built with low maintenance materials like exposed concrete block, steel beams and panels, concrete floors and plywood which helps to make this modern house feel more like a cabin. The surfaces were left unfinished on purpose so that the cabin would naturally age, and visually blend in with the surrounding environment.

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Aside from the main, window wall in thee heart of the structure, the cabin has few additional windows. This serves a couple of purposes, first it focuses the occupants of the house to look through the house to the lake, second it reduces heat and cooling load by minimizing the amount of actual glazing the house has. By having the entire lake-facing wall made of glass, as well as the majority of it being able to open, the residents of the house are able to feel as if they are outdoors, while still being sheltered by the environment.

Even though this cabin is located on a lake in Idaho where the current temperature is about 10 degrees, this is the kind of vacation house I could get into. Now I just need to find one like it in a warmer climate.