With a sleight of hand, London-based architect Alex Cochrane turns a Victorian boathouse, rumored to have housed royal pages and overlooking a lake in Great Windsor Park, into a modern day writer’s retreat.
By its very nature and function, the shape of any boathouse is long and narrow. After completely gutting the interiors of this two-story timber Victorian boathouse, Cochrane creates an open plan of three interlocking "living" zones, exploiting the structure's long and narrow shape. Inserting his modern box-like interventions in the middle of the boathouse, the architect maintains uninterrupted views down the length of the entire boathouse. The result? A modern day retreat that pays homage to its humble origins with great respect.
Above: The entry to the second level of the living quarters in the boathouse is up the steps on the side of the house. Cochrane opened up both ends of the boat house with new windows to allow light to penetrate into the darkest areas of the boathouse.
Above: The writer's study area with desk and built in seating; the first of the three interlocking "living" areas is at the entry end of the boathouse.
Above: The second of the interlocking "living" areas houses the kitchen and bath, the wet zones.
Above: An uninterrupted view down the side of the kitchen zone.
Above: The original A-frame structure of the boathouse was revealed when the interior fabric had been stripped. Up until then, it had been completely hidden from view.
Above: Cochrane runs a ribbon of storage and seating along the other continuous length of the boathouse.
Above: The third of "living" area comprises two beds which double as seating and storage.
Above: The ribbon of storage includes a reclining bench with storage for books and firewood underneath.
Above: A dressing table at the end is illuminated by cage lights with bronze bulb holders.
Above: The exposed A-frame structure was sandblasted because of damage resulting from nesting birds. The resulting lighter color has a more modern aesthetic matched by the wide widths and long lengths of the Dinesen Douglas floorboards
Above: Cochrane added a cantilevered balcony for exterior appreciation of the lake and its view. This required tying back a series of steel beams to the original framework at the center of the boathouse.
Above: Cochrane uses oak veneer panels throughout the interior.
Above: Sliding doors offer privacy in the bathroom and shower area.
Above: The ground floor maintains its purpose of housing boats with two large wooden doors that open outward onto the lake.
Above: The long and narrow plan of the boathouse.
After cottages, are we all now lusting after boathouses? See 5 Favorites: Summer Boathouse Roundup for more - all with views guaranteed.