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Lake Surprise—The Happy Place

In the Gilded Age a tradition was spurred by Avery Rockefeller and Alfred Vanderbilt for residents of New York City to build rugged mountain family vacation homes away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Many families made the most of the rolling hills and rocky heights of the Adirondack Mountain chain north of the Hudson Valley. Keeping the trend alive, one Manhattan family, along with their architect Steve Marchetti, have crafted the perfect timber framed get away. Inspired by mountain ski lodges beloved by the family and tucked away in the hills surrounding Lake Surprise in upstate New York, this vacation home provides the perfect environment for peace and quiet.

Lake Surprise
The Douglas fir timbers, cedar siding and field-stone walls with swooping rafters over the patio make this stunning retreat blend perfectly into the wooded surroundings.

The choice to use a timber frame for this vacation home was easy, according to Marchetti, because the family wanted to emulate the look and feel of a mountain ski lodge and timber framing lends itself to a feeling of rugged comfort, relaxation, and a sense of permanence.

Lake Surprise Great Room


Inside the home a massive stone fireplace with classically soring timber frame great room reminds one of breaking from the slopes to enjoy the warmth of a good fire. The timbers were custom finished to give the space a warm, modern feel while keeping with the rugged mountain aesthetic. Natural materials–oak floors, stone, cedar–and a neutral color scheme make for soothing spaces sheltered by the strength and permanence of the frame.

The homeowner told our friends at Log & Timber Home Living that, “The home needed to have a feeling of serenity with us coming out of the city. I wanted us to get there and take it down a notch. Every time I drive up to the house, my heart skips, and I can’t help but smile. I call it my happy place.


Exterior of Lake Surprise


Lake Surprise Great Room


This Manhattan family, which includes three teenage boys and a large dog, spend their days in a glamorous pre-war three-bedroom apartment in the densely populated Upper West Side of the city. Trading hectic days downtown in the city that never sleeps for crisp mountain air on weekends and holidays is a welcomed respite for the family. It’s a quick hour drive up the Hudson River from New York City to find their Zen.


Lake Surprise Great Room


We often talk about collaboration and the importance of integration of design, engineering, and craft. This Lake Surprise home was a pleasant combination of strengths from all parties. Architect Steve M shared: “I was seriously impressed with your professionalism and your high-quality work. From starting the design for the timber frame until the frame was raised and handed over to the GC, New Energy Works was there for us.” We look forward to working together again with Steve and teams.

To learn more on the design side, visit this project at Studio Marchetti. Have a dream project you’d like to discuss? Our team is here to help.