This multi-generational home in Shelburne, VT, used Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture’s expertise to provide both common and private outdoor spaces for grandparents, parents, and children: a swimming pool, large outdoor terrace for entertaining, year-round access to the lakefront, and a parking area large enough for company…or grandchildren’s bikes. It was a tall order, but worth the effort: the site, on a 40-foot slope to the lakeshore, has a wealth of mature hickory, maple, ash, and butternut trees. The architects decided to — as they put it — “nestle the two houses into the slope, creating the ability for the architecture to step, providing a logical division of space for the two families to share.” The houses were then located along an arc that mimics the shape of the bay.
The eastern (or uphill) portion has a common entry, pergola, parking spaces, garage, and a one-story house where the grandparents live. A southwest-facing alcove became the perfect location for a pool, using house and retaining-wall shields to extend the swimming season. Another challenge to this site is that a quarter of it is wetland, with an even bigger part that’s subject to seasonal flooding (not surprising). So, to provide year-round access to the lake — with minimal disruption to the natural movement of water — the designers inserted an elevated boardwalk of galvanized steel and cedar; it extends lakeside terrace walls out to the lake and creates an organic “divider” between the lawn and the wetlands. Colorful plantings along the boardwalk are just a beautiful added “plus.”