What do you get when you put up a dwelling based on a steel frame structure on concrete piles…in a lake bed? If you thought about a getaway, a house on stilts, or a vacation house, you’re close. The Boathouse is just that, and more: an 18th-century barn, converted into a place where the owners can “get away from it all” without going far from home. Situated in the Cotswolds, within the Lower Mill Estate, it’s a little slice of tranquility executed by AR Design Studios that embraces its site with purpose. As the designers say, “The concept was that it should float over the lake and provide a quiet hideaway with calming views over the still water.” And that it does, behind an unprepossessing façade that disguises a hidden treasure.
Amble down its stone path toward the water and you’ll think you’re headed toward nothing more than a storage house for a rowboat or small motorized fishing boat, with a railing around it surrounding a walkway over the water. But open that door, and you step into another world entirely. A central fireplace welcomes you, on slate inlaid into a wood floor and nestled among couches, warm throws, and a thick furry “bearskin” rug. To one side, you’ll see a table and chairs for picnics; to the other, you’ll see the water…and the sky. Expanses of glass give you unbroken vistas, whether from inside the house (under a generous overhang for shelter from summer heat) or from your private terrace, out in the fresh air. That’s the boat house: a simple, serene escape on the water…with no leaks!