This contemporary homes design ‘Camouflage House‘ is an architectural homes designed by Johnsen Schmaling Architects. The Camouflage House located on a steep lake bluff, its narrow, linear volume nestled into the hillside. Approaching the house from the rugged access road weaving through the site’s heavily wooded plateau, the building’s faint, low-slung silhouette virtually disappears in the surrounding vegetation. With its simple plan, restraint use of materials, and precise detailing, the house achieves an elegant clarity and a rustic warmth that nevertheless avoids bucolic sentimentality.
From the small clearing of the entry court, the low roof of the open breezeway connecting house and garage leads to a linear, glazed entry foyer that penetrates the two-story, 2,700 SF bar building and terminates into a partially covered balcony with spectacular views of the lake. Stairs connect to the lower level, which is fully exposed on the lake side and houses all bedrooms, providing access to the zero-edge bluff terrace that stretches along the entire length of the building and to the master bedroom “grotto,” an intimate outdoor space between the western edge of the house and the site’s imposing rock formation. On the upper level, kitchen, dining and living functions occupy an open space that can extend into the adjacent spacious screen porch by retracting the large, foldable glass door system separating the two. Throughout the spring, summer, and fall, the screen porch functions as the home’s lung, taking advantage of the mild lake breezes.
The house was designed to minimize energy consumption. The efficient spatial layout of the program ensured a smaller building volume than expected. The narrow footprint allows daylight to penetrate the building throughout the day, thereby virtually eliminating the need for artificial illumination. The inside of the house, while unapologetically contemporary, continues Wisconsin’s long history of lake cottage architecture, which has traditionally featured exposed timber construction, interior wood siding, combined living and dining halls centered around a fireplace, and a limited palette of natural materials.