Long Term Lakefront – A Modern Home Designed to Last for Generations

Werges Canandaigua House. Strategically placed large windows capture lake front views, with a unique Y shaped truss configuration that creates an inviting outdoor space under the offset gabled roof, perfect for outdoor entertaining.
by J. Nevadomski, photo by Tim Wilkes

When the owners of this recently completed lakefront residence began their journey to build a custom timber frame home in the Finger Lakes, they relied on the experience and comprehensive design and build services offered by New Energy Works, based in Farmington.

      The homeowners had a previous connection to New Energy Works through the company’s fine woodworking division, which had done extensive remodeling work for them on a different property. But building a brand-new home on one of the Finger Lakes can present unique challenges, which Architect Kyle Barber RA, CPHC – the head of New Energy Works design team – knows all too well.

        “The homeowners were on board with utilizing our services as a whole from the beginning. They wanted a New Energy Works house, which meant one-off custom design, timber frame, fine woodworking, Pioneer Millworks flooring and siding, general contracting and sustainable construction methods,” Barber explained. “The home also features our high-performance enclosure system, which is a wall and roof system that maximizes thermal envelope and airtightness, resulting in a home that requires much less energy to heat and cool than a conventionally built home that will last for generations.”

        “At our first site visit and design kickoff meeting with the clients, it quickly became apparent that this home would need to be tailored not only to the homeowners’ vision of a unique timber frame lake house, but also to the landscape and shape of the property,” Barber continued. “The design of this project was heavily dictated by the wedge-shaped site, access points and the neighboring structures, which are challenges that are common to building in the Finger Lakes Region, but not always easily solved.”

        Barber and the design team took advantage of the unique shape of the lakefront property to craft a home that draws people through its entry way and down its corridors towards the water by capturing as much daylight and expansive lake views as possible, while simultaneously keeping privacy in mind, thanks in large part to the strategic use of well-placed windows and an offset gable roof.

        “The lot is narrow at the lake and widens out towards the road end. The design also allowed us to put in a nice big garage and turn around area on the back of the property,” the homeowners shared. “We love waking up in the morning to our views, New Energy Works did a great job of positioning the house, so we don’t feel like we are surrounded by our neighbors.”

        Aesthetically, the home is a hand-crafted melding of old-world rugged charm and modern design finishes that feature completely custom fine woodworking for the home’s doors, cabinets, countertops and benches from NEWwoodworks, and reclaimed redwood siding from Pioneer Millworks that wraps the exterior of the home as well as parts of the interior living area, bringing a sense of organic flow and connection to nature that is carried throughout the structure. 

        “The choice to combine rustic materials like the textured Douglas fir timbers and reclaimed barn-wood siding with modern fresh-sawn casual white oak flooring from Pioneer Millworks created the basis for a very modern-natural aesthetic that the clients allowed us to play with throughout the design,” said New Energy Works Interior Designer Diana Gerken. “We used a lot of natural textures, colors and tones that play against each other and enrich the space in a very tactile way. The home surrounds you with the feeling that everything about it is part of the surrounding landscape. The soft push and pull of the rugged and modern materials make it a very tranquil, peaceful space.”

        “I think people are gravitating more and more to sustainable design choices and natural materials in general, but especially here in the Finger Lakes, which this home showcases,” Gerken continued. “Aesthetics that are rooted in nature just fit the region; they tie into the wineries, the lakes and the forests. Keeping that sense of connection to the natural beauty that surrounds us here in the Finger Lakes when designing a new home is something our team really tries to focus on.”

        Bringing with them a passion for timber frame design and a reverence for local craftspeople, the homeowners’ choice to utilize all the related services offered by New Energy Works to construct their new home resulted in an expertly crafted, completely custom heirloom quality lakefront home. From the materials selections to the construction methods, the house’s modern-natural design seamlessly blends traditional craft with modern technology and gives the home an undeniable sense of connection to its surroundings. 

        “If you look at this home from the lake, it almost blends in with the landscape, especially when compared to the neighboring properties,” Barber concluded. “I think that is a testament to the home’s custom design and use of natural materials, colors and finishes. The house feels like it belongs on the lake, it looks like it has always been there even though it is a modern design, it just fits. I am so thankful to the clients for putting their trust in us to deliver them a home that is so special.”


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