Home & Design

Stylish Getaway Homes

Tapped to design a modern vacation home in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, Jonathan Kuhn paid careful attention to the obstacles and opportunities of the site. “We situated the structure at the bottom of a hill in the only level area of the property,” he recounts. Inspired by the rugged, wooded surroundings, the architecture “took on a prairie style emphasizing simplicity, integration with nature and horizontal massing that reflects the setting.”

The three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath, single-story home comprises three volumes. The double-height central volume houses a light-filled entry that connects the volume holding the public spaces to the wing that contains the bedrooms. A screened porch links the dining room to the deck, which boasts a hot tub.

“A peaceful and tranquil retreat is set within the wooded and rugged surroundings of nature’”
—Jonathan Kuhn Jonathan

Shou Sugi Ban wood siding and micro-concrete flooring are among the materials that maintain a low-maintenance connection to nature. Says Kuhn, “The hill almost cradles the house, protecting it from the elements while providing a beautiful backdrop.”

Kuhn Architectkuhnarchitect.com

Stylish Getaway Homes

The owners of a log cabin on Deep Creek Lake embraced their abode’s characteristic rustic exterior—but they were less enamored of its dark interior spaces. The fireplace obstructed expansive lake views while heavy timbers and traditional sliding doors also created a distraction. The owners sought a brighter, cleaner aesthetic that would reflect their preference for modern design.

“The best renovations make the greatest impact in the fewest number of moves,” observes project architect and principal William Kirwan. “Relocating the fireplace to an adjacent wall opened up the vista while providing an opportunity to significantly increase the amount and height of the glazing on the lake view-facing wall.” Folding-glass wall systems maximize the views, opening the interior to the deck and lake beyond.

“The owners sought to reflect their preference for modern design in their lakefront getaway.”
—William Kirwan, AIA, LEED AP

The log main stair was rebuilt in steel with reclaimed white oak treads, eliminating a clunky landing that had blocked sightlines. Exterior and interior timber walls were sheathed in painted drywall; timber ceilings were painted to match, brightening the spaces while retaining the original timber construction. Heavy timber railings inside and out were replaced in steel with cable rails that enhance the views.

Project Highlights

  • A kitchen facelift features new painted cabinetry, leathered-granite countertops, LED lighting and new hardware
  • Exterior logs were darkened to a sepia hue with charcoal accents
  • Floors were replaced with reclaimed white oak
  • Bathroom fixtures and lighting now reflect a modern aesthetic


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