Caleb Johnson Studio dresses Pieri Pines in Maine with local cedar



Caleb Johnson Studio has created a wooden family home in Otisfield, Maine that has no master bedroom in order to “strengthen family bonds”.

Caleb Johnson Studio – an architectural firm based in Portland, Maine – sought to rethink the local cabin vernacular with Pieri Pines.

Caleb Johnson Studio designed a cedar-clad cabin in Maine

Commissioned by three brothers, the two-story house nods to traditional Maine camps and provides a simple, functional refuge that serves as a family gathering space.

Locally sourced eastern white cedar covers the entire exterior. It was tinted to resemble the textures of the surrounding trees and stones, according to the studio.

Lakehouse near Lake Thompson
The house was built around a glacial rock

“A view of the lake presents a house that recedes while expressing an opinion; the house stands out while blending into the landscape,” the studio said.

The sharp corners of the home stand out when viewed up close, but when viewed from the adjacent dock, they blend into the treeline due to the wood siding and the reflection of the trees in the glazing.

Maine cedar interior cabin
Cedar was used exterior and interior

“This building, first and foremost, is about the relationship with the land,” the studio said. “The land is never far away, and your access to it, visually and physically, is always present.”

The house descends with the site, connecting the living spaces to the environment at several points. The roof slopes away from the lake, leaving plenty of room on the lake-facing facade for large windows.

Cedar Interiors in a Modern Maine Cabin
It is designed as a vacation home for three brothers and their family

“This allows all entry points to have a relaxed and gentle relationship with the outer level,” the studio continued.

The site is occupied by a large glacial rock, and instead of removing it, the architects chose to work with it. The deck of the house wraps around the rock, the living space looks towards it and the second story cantilevers above.

Wood burning stove in a modern Maine cabin with modern accents
Metallic accents complement the wood

“Rock is a pervasive contributor to the human experience of this site,” the studio said. “It reminds us that we are the visitors and that this site has been evolving for thousands of years.”

Inside, the living spaces are organized in a split-level configuration.

Reading nook in the Maine cabin
Corners allow for privacy

One enters the house through a central access point which leads down to the main living space and kitchen. From here a staircase rises to three equal bedrooms – none of which is the “master” bedroom.

“Common spaces have been prioritized to strengthen family bonds,” the studio said.

Shared living spaces are partially separated by wooden beams and railings, which give the interiors a stacked effect.

Window seat corners, slatted railings and step stools create a sense of separation and allow for privacy in the relatively small home.

Bedroom in Maine cabin
Each room is the same size

The wood used throughout was juxtaposed with metallic details, including rustic red window frames and a black wood-burning stove.

Floor-to-ceiling windows with minimal framing allow an uninterrupted view of the landscape beyond.

A lakeside terrace serves as an extension of the living areas.

“The deck provides smooth access to a back lawn before a winding path leads you into the water,” the studio said.

Split level view in a modern Maine cabin
The house has a two level configuration

Completed in 2022, Pieri Pines is set to receive an AIA New England Architecture Award in October.

Other wooden creations by Caleb Johnson Studio include In the Dunes House, which stands on stilts and opens onto the New England coast. Other homes that resemble treehouses include Caterpillar Hill by Whitten Architects in Penobscot Bay, Maine.

The photograph is by Trent Bell.

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