BLENDING VINTAGE AND NEW EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
In keeping with the antique aesthetic, original architectural elements were repurposcd. For instance, the upstairs hallway features seven old doors from the previous structure; Smith repeated the five-paneled theme in the new millwork downstairs.
Another feature worth saving was the beautiful clear Douglas fir flooring found in part of the camp’s main level. But there weren’t enough floorboards in decent condition. So die Freemans hunted for salvaged fir boards, which proved elusive. “Until I found them on Craigslist in San Diego,” John remembers. “A salvager had taken down an old Michigan distiller)’ from the 1880s, and a lot of board feet were available.” He had an entire train carload shipped to Porter’s millwork shop. That fir became flooring and wainscoting for the main level, as well as a top for the kitchen island and an eating bar.
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Upstairs, the fir transitions to pine. Remember those trees that fell on the house? Porter milled them into flooring and wainscoting for the second level.
CHARM THAT’S ACCESSIBLE TO ALL
The Freemans needed to make the house accessible to a wheelchair-bound family member. (Since John is a Vermont native, he knew that many Lake Fairlee homes “were up and down a number of stairs. We actually bought this place sight unseen because of its level property.’ ) And the Freeman family didn’t want just a single accessible door; they wanted every door to be accessible.
With a fresh design, the accessibility needs of the house became simpler to address. Smith had recently dealt with many of the same issues in her own home. “My rather has mobility issues, and I had to deal with finding graceful ways of getting him in and out of my house. She was determined to execute a design which did not smack of bulky wheelchair ramps.
The result is so subtle that visitors to the house will not likely notice its accessibility. “The frame was actually sunk into the new concrete foundation,” not built on top of it. “We lowered the whole house down as close to grade as we could,’ Smith says.
A visitor with a wheelchair can roll right into any of the doors, around the kitchen island, and out onto the dock. The downstairs shower has a roll-in design. And the eating bar in the kitchen is comfortable at wheelchair height. Controls for the stoves vent fiin and light are on switches on the backsplash.