Walls of glass, horizontal roof planes, and a natural material palette enable this expansive home to feel like an extension of a dramatic boulder-strewn landscape.
"Constant ingenuity" was essential in the construction of the Cliff House, a contemporary, three-story residence that spanned seven years from design concept to completion due to a challenging waterfront location.
"The project site forced creativity from the start," says McCall Design and Planning, a local architecture practice with intimate knowledge of the property, having designed several buildings on the south end of the site over 20 years ago.
This time, the new property owners sought a contemporary residence on a northern parcel next to Payette Lake that, despite its seven-acre size, is largely unbuildable because of steep slopes and rock.
To meet the clients’ desire for easier lake access, the architects chose a low site and only began site work two years after a careful design process that saw multiple mock-ups, design options, and the acquisition of an easement from the State of Idaho for driveway access. A complicated foundation contributed to the lengthy four-year construction timeline.
"This design was all about capturing the beauty of the rocky site and the experience of Payette Lake," explain the architects. "How to incorporate the rock into the design, how to re-create the same peaceful feeling in a finished modern home that one felt on site pre-development was the big question."
A natural material palette comprising plaster walls, local rock, and timber surfaces throughout tie the 6,800-square-foot home into the landscape and imbue the interiors with a sense of warmth.
The architects add: "We decided early on that defining the shape with large horizontal planes was necessary to give the home a sense of 'groundedness,' and this concept came back over and over as we made decision about which direction to run wood grain, how to layout out cabinetry pieces, fixture selections etc.—always going back to that long, linear concept."