Architect Perspective on the Katinka House Design

Situated within a small clearing and nestled on the crest of a 5-acre wooded island, the Katinka House is designed to afford a balance between connection with the island’s beautiful setting and owner privacy.  The homes concept, in part, is inspired by historic long-houses that maintain a narrow overall width to both maximize daylight, views and ventilation. Within the context of “a place for everything, and everything in its place”, the homes design - like a ship is further developed to maximize both square footage and volume, particularly in the upper level’s crow’s loft study and the lower level where accommodations for up to twelve can comfortably lodge with dedicated changing, toilet, shower, storage and lavatory amenities.

The homes 3,400 sf is distributed on 3 levels. The plan at the main level is intended to align with the changing sun throughout the day. Two bedrooms flank the east with a master-suite oriented to take advantage of early morning sun while a porch on the west welcomes sunsets over the lake. Between these, the kitchen, dining and great room create the heart of the structure. The main level entry is sunken as a distinct welcome, coat and shoe storage area that also helps contain dirt and sand with easy to maintain walk-off carpet. The upper level is a crow’s loft study terminating in a reading perch, which can also serve for sleeping, and overlooks the heart of the home below. The lower level is appointed with numerous communal features including family/game room along with powered and lit bunks and built-in guest storage nooks. The porch, great room and family room are all organized around stone fireplaces enhancing both a sense of warmth and gathering.

The homes timber-frame and wood roof decking define the character of the home on the interior. The framing is further accentuated in the structures overall length and width with artisan quality detailing and craftsmanship throughout. Through the woods warmth and in its weight, the prominence, regularity, scale and detailing help convey a sense of permanence and protection.

The exterior is stone cladding, cement board siding and standing seam metal roofing that is designed and constructed to both optimize performance and minimize maintenance. The home is anchored and elevated with the stone base while cement clapboard style siding envelops the main exterior.  Cedar shake type shingles provide accents at the homes cruciform heart in plan.  The overall elevation of the structures main floor is purposeful in providing views down to the shore while being high enough to obstruct views into the residence structure providing both privacy from the interior and intrigue from the exterior on the lake.

Overall, the design of the home is custom tailored to balance intimacy and gathering at multiple scales.  Beit for a couple, a family or larger gathering the Katinka House is designed as a quintessential island home with multiple options for gathering and entertaining – all with incredible connections to its serene island setting.

Design Trends Interview with Steven Dwyer



About the Architect:

Steven Dwyer AIA LEED AP BD+C is a Design Principal and Vice-President at Hammel, Green and Abrahamson (HGA) in Minneapolis. In his 18 years with HGA, he has been recognized with a multitude of regional, national and international awards including a multitude of AIA regional and national Honor Awards, the prestigious Chicago Athenaeum’s American Architecture Award, Woodworks Wood Design Honor Award, the Wood Design and Building Award and the SCUP Excellence in Campus Architecture Honor Award to name a few. In 2016, ArchDaily named his work on the Whitetail Woods Camper Cabins among the Top 100 American Architecture Projects in the past 10 years. In 2011, he was the recipient of the AIA’s National Young Architects Award for design. He has been a regular guest critic and adjunct instructor at the University of Minnesota’s College of Design and has been a guest critic for Washington University in St. Louis, Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis and the University of Wyoming. He has served as a regular committee member on AIA Minnesota’s Committee on Design and chaired its’ award winning publication Architecture Minnesota.