CJP Architects
Puczynski Residence

Springfield, Illinois

Lake houses by their nature usually have two distinct “sides.” They typically have a front associated with a street and another “front” known by those who travel by water. This other front facing the water is often a more celebratory facade and a means by which to connect a lake house both physically and visually with the water.

The existing house this project had as its challenge had undergone at least two major renovations and additions before CJP Architects’ clients purchased it in 2006. The house was originally a small typical 1940’s ranch style dwelling modest in its detail; the house had been sided in a stained vertical V-groove redwood commonly used at the time. It endured subsequent work that completely changed its character including the addition of masonry, columns, and a concrete balustrade.

The clients, a couple with two grown daughters, engaged the services of CJP Architects after one of their daughters, an intern architect from out of state, interviewed three firms and presented the findings to her parents. The client’s daughter worked with them to establish a program which included: a larger Master Bedroom and accompanying spaces, Laundry Room, a space to entertain, and greater access and views to the lake.

The programmatic elements led CJP Architects to envision a large open space that let the original fireplace become a central feature; the fireplace had been relegated to facing a wall. A conventional kitchen and its cabinetry were removed and relocated to the Lower Level. CJP Architects explained to the client that their new Kitchen would become a piece of furniture within the space; its cabinetry was designed to sit on legs and much of it opens in the fashion of a drawer.

The exterior masonry was removed and new horizontal redwood was installed to accentuate the horizontality of the house. A very typical aluminum soffit was removed and a new soffit configured from off-fall from the 1”x6” redwood used for the siding; the soffit gives a nautical feel similar to seating on wooden boats. The removal of a covered porch facilitated the construction of the Master Bedroom addition; its boxy form allowed it to anchor the southeast corner of the house and provided an opportunity to give the Master Bedroom and Bathroom dramatic ceiling heights. The Master Bedroom addition's exterior was finished with synthetic stone to resemble the fireplace at the core of the house.

Based on early discussions with their daughter and schematic designs provided by CJP Architects, the clients determined to embrace a “modern” aesthetic. They have slowly moved toward changing their furniture. The lack of ornament with emphasis placed on the axial views from the front door to the lake and from the Kitchen space to all corners of the core of the house have given the clients a space that they did not expect, but have come to greatly appreciate.
"The house was originally built in the 1940’s as a very small lake home with several upgrades over the years that were poorly conceived and haphazard at best. When we purchased the home, the guest bedroom window opened into the garage…not kidding! Charles Pell created a very sophisticated and modern home that took advantage of our lake and golf course views. He explained every step in the process, every detail and engaged us in the more important and costly decisions. I specifically recall his desire to recycle items if possible. In fact, he relocated the original kitchen to the lower level and created a magnificent kitchen and entertainment space on the main floor realizing our need to entertain large groups. He made a great effort to take advantage of local companies, products and professionals. My husband and I worked very long days, but very much enjoyed coming home to this very special place at the end of each day. We’ve since relocated out of state, but will always remember this home very fondly. Charles is an artist and the consummate professional in every way!”

- Mark and Sandy Puczynski