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A new outbuilding to a 100-year old vacation home, this rustic yet dignified lakeside library is a guest house, tennis viewing pavilion and boat house


When designing an additional structure for a property, choosing a style compatible with the existing home can provide a consistent overall effect. However, as this outbuilding shows, compatibility need not stifle creativity.

Named Lake Library, this multi-purpose dwelling is an outbuilding to a 100-year old vacation home. Designed by architect Jacob Albert, from Albert, Righter & Tittmann Architects, the structure replaces a ramshackle garage. Zoning rules dictated the maximum footprint of the building.

"Lake Library is compatible with the main house, but has its own identity," says Albert.

"The cedar shingle walls and roof, the dark green exterior trim, and the natural wood interior are consistent with the main house and the area's historic resort architecture."

"But where the main house is horizontally expansive, the guest house, with its tall bay window, slender round stair tower, tall stone chimney, and rooftop light monitor, is perky and vertical. Lake Library is an energetic and exuberant folly. It's a little big house."


Lake Library has three levels, with the double-height living room on the main level accounting for more than half of the interior's volume. A bedroom is tucked into the upper level, while the lower level, occupied by a boat storage garage and an exercise room, is only visible from the back where the grade slopes away.

"The living room is at the same time rustic, cozy and grand. A massive stone fireplace is one major focal point. Another is the many-paned window, which gives views of the tennis court, the main house and the lake beyond," says Albert.

The upper and lower levels are accessed by a circular stair. Built without a center post, the stair features a wood handrail that snakes upwards in an unbroken spiral.

First published date: 26 May 2006

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Credit List

Architect Jacob Albert, AIA, James Righter, FAIA, Craig Gibson, Albert, Righter & Tittmann Architects (Boston, MA)
Builder Garrett B Rowe Custom Builders
Structural engineer Steve Siegel, Siegel Associates
Exterior walls Red cedar shingle
Exterior doors and windows Pella Windows & Doors
Exterior hardware Oil-rubbed bronze from Baldwin
Living room walls and ceiling Clear pine
Interior doors Custom made
Interior hardware Black iron from Ball & Ball
Flooring Cherry
Living room sconces Custom by Conant Custom Brass
Living room picture lights House of Troy
Living room fan Woolen Mill Fan Company
Staircase Double helix cherry wood staircase designed by Jacob Albert, built by Larry Love from Atlantic Designwork