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When the Brachers approached me about adding onto their existing two-story, two-car garage-turned lake side cottage, I thought, “simple enough.” But nothing in this industry is as simple as it seems. There are always too many variables at play. And, of course, upon investigating the site, we found it posed some interesting challenges.

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The Brachers no longer had children at home, so the inspiration for their expansion was purely to host and entertain visitors. Goals included converting the attic of the existing cottage into a bedroom with a full bath; adding an efficiency suite to ensure hosts and guests their own private, self-sufficient quarters; and to add an enclosed outdoor entertainment space, complete with full kitchen and a fireplace.

Each cardinal direction offered a new constraint to consider. A road shared among neighbors curved around the North and West sides of the existing building, preventing any expansion in those directions. Most of the property to the East was below the flood line, meaning that any additional buildings in that direction would have to be raised or set back. And an intermittent stream interrupted the Southern portion of the property.

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Strategizing separate buildings seemed the most appropriate response to creating private and self-sufficient spaces. With a fourth space in mind, we organized the buildings around a quad, which provided each unit with views of an interior courtyard in addition to the Eastern view of the lake.

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