Rob and Melissa have fond feelings for their alma mater Cornell University and nearby Cayuga Lake. Building their retreat home near the lake and the University was a natural choice. This dream home would offer respite from their growing family’s busy city life. They joined Ty Allen, AIA, and manager of our design group, to assess the options for a parcel on Cayuga Lake.
Their constrained build site has fantastic lake frontage. It also has a very small building envelope due to setbacks, the road, the woods, a gorge, and the steep descent to the lake. Despite those challenges, it offers panoramic lake views and faces Cornell University across the water. Our construction crew broke ground in April and in June the frame was raised. "This was the first time I could really see the house taking physical shape…all the 3D drawings in the world, wood samples, and inspiration photos didn’t hold a candle to walking through the unfinished lower level, experiencing the proportions,” explained Rob.
Focal points are captured through dynamic views from multiple spaces in the house. The great room is aligned to frame Sibley Hall’s dome, one of the icons of the Cornell campus and an important landmark to the homeowners. The sawtooth shape of the cliff around the home allowed for a variety of terraces and outdoor gathering spaces, pockets for privacy, and shelter from the road behind the home. A master suite, guest suite, kid's bunk room, two auxiliary bedrooms, and 4.5 baths comfortably accommodate Rob and Melissa’s family as well as visitors by balancing open public spaces with intimate quiet spaces. At the shore, two docks stretch out into the water, one for boats, the second for swimming, sunning, picnicking, and play.
The warmth of the timber frame, the efficiency of the enclosure and mechanical systems, the fine woodworking and reclaimed materials all combine for comfortable lakeside living.
Custom woodworking including built-ins, cabinetry, entry door, vanities, and bunk beds were crafted by NEWwoodworks. Reclaimed walnut and teak wood flooring is from Pioneer Millworks. Windows and glass doors are from the Marvin Ultimate line. Interior Decor and Assorted Furnishings by Robert Breissinger of Designers Library.
This project is a family home, a place where we hope to spend lots of quality time. To see our hard work and New Energy Works brought together in such a fashion is amazing!
—ROB & MELISSA Homeowner