Woodhull’s Democratic Dwelling

A family getaway made for four siblings is a project that David Duncan Morris of Woodhull recalls fondly
Words By Anna Mangum
Photos By Trent Bell

Architect:

Woodhull

Builder:

Bartow Construction

Structural Engineer:

L&L Structural Engineering

On Thompson Lake, three brothers and a sister-in-law hired Woodhull to build a family camp for them to gather. Sitting on a steeply sloped piece of property along the lake, the view of the home attracts the viewer’s eye downward, inspiring the flow of the house. David Duncan Morris of Woodhull wanted the family to be able to access the landscape easily, and he designed the home around the idea of spending time outdoors with loved ones. There were certain challenges because of the desired woodsy setting, such as a large boulder right in the way of the build. Woodhull decided to keep the boulder and work around it. “There would have been some soul missing if we had removed it,” David says. Indeed, there is much soul to be found here. 

A family camp must include enough seats in the house, whether for eating or playing board games.
Three bedrooms of equal size and views for the three brothers and sister-in-law make this a democratic build.
A cozy nook framed by a large window—the perfect spot to get lost in a book.

Hearkening back to the Maine camp tradition, this house is made of simple materials. The structure is hemlock, and the interiors are rough-cut pine. There’s metal on the roof, recycled newspapers make up the insulation, and there is no drywall. Most of the materials are locally sourced. David says, “It was really important to us that all of the building materials could one day go back to the earth.” The interior has a clear coating and will change over time. As the family walks, touches, interacts with the house, it will reveal the signs of use, that a family is there. David adds, “It will only get better with time.”

They opted for the interiors to be pine, meaning no debating about paint colors. A win-win!
David loved that his clients were siblings wanting to make a gathering spot for their families.

David calls this build “democratic and refreshing.” It is something this group of siblings came together to make, so there is no primary bedroom. Each of the bedrooms is a similar size and has the same view. There are two bathrooms, not connected to the bedrooms. The message of the physical space is powerful: No one is more important in this home. The raw wood, the boulder that squires the deck, the house that will inevitably change over time, the location in the woods over the lake, all of this indicates the essence of family. The landscape is what it is. Family, also, is what it is. To be here is to be raw, stripped away of Boston and UK clothes (where the families live), to wear comfortable clothes, and in turn to feel comfort. To breathe with the trees, and change with the wood.

A cute print adds a touch of whimsy to the home.
Right on the edge of the water, this house encourages the families to spend time outdoors.

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