Opel Residence

Shelburne, VT A twelve acre wooded site within the historic Shelburne Farms estate is the bucolic setting for a year round vacation home built for three generations of the Opel family. Four distinct volumes—a bunkhouse that sleeps eight children, two guesthouses, and the main house—are distributed along a spine, forming a series of indoor and outdoor rooms facing Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. Continue Back
The development of the house as a “village street” creates a series of private retreats among generous spaces for family gatherings. From the autocourt, in a grove of maples at the southern end of the house, a covered arcade leads past the bunkhouse stairs and a poolside terrace. As it continues along the closed wall of the guesthouses and their terraces, the arcade opens up to the woods and tennis court to the east, generating a sense of anticipation as the view of the lake is first denied and then revealed again upon entering each of the houses.

A fireplace in a glass wall is the interior focus of the two and a half story vaulted living room in the main house. Sliding glass doors extend the living space onto a large terrace overlooking the lake. The breakfast room flows out from the kitchen, forming the southern “wall” of this outdoor room and providing a private deck for the master bedroom above. From the entrance hall, stairs lead up a half-level to a skylit painter’s studio in the east wing, and then up again to the master bedroom that looks out towards the lake, and in across the living room to a round window on the north wall, high under the curve of the vault.

The two smaller guesthouses are identical and are variations on the formal strategies of the main house. The vaulted, double height living spaces each include a sitting area by the fireplace and a small dining area. Sleeping lofts above the kitchens extend back to create the roof over the arcade. Windows high on the south walls bring light into the living rooms; glazed doors in the north walls lead to recessed terraces, giving each house a private outdoor space with views of the lake.

Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman Architects llc. 79 Fifth Avenue, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10003 | 212.947.1240 | 212.967.0890 ©2023 All Rights Reserved.