Parsons–McIntosh Cottage, Sodus Point NY

The project is located on Sodus Bay, a popular resort which connects with Lake Ontario. The site is at the tip of Thornton Point, a forested and steeply sloping peninsula jutting into the bay.

The owners are a Californian couple with children—the wife is a Sodus native who summers in her home town. Their wish was for an economical and low–maintenance house which would maximize contact with the spectacular natural surroundings. The structure also had to be winterized, unlike the family cottage in town it replaced.

The house is oriented parallel to the north–south contours of the point, perched where the topography breaks steeply to the shore. The living spaces address the bay views to the north and west, while the service spaces are organized on the opposite sides, facing the approach from the woods. The main floor contains the common rooms, including porches and decks. The upper floor has two bedroom suites, separated by a mezzanine overlooking the living room. Spatially, the lower rooms reinforce the lateral panorama while the upper rooms frame specific vignettes. There is a basement for mechanical equipment and storage.

The straightforward massing and materials are partially a function of the tight budget, but also refer to the local context and traditions. For example, the simple form alludes to the rural area’s barns, the sleeping porch tent to campgrounds, and the bedrooms’ plywood paneling to the rustic character of traditional cottages and lodges.

The bare Galvalume siding was chosen not only for its cost and durability, but also its perceptual qualities. Chameleon–like in the locale’s highly variable natural light, its color ranges from shiny in sunshine to pewter–like when overcast. In the latter condition, it closely matches the unusually characteristic color of Sodus Bay, which to its Native Americans was known as “Silver Waters.”