When Susan Chien and Edgar Leighton started looking for a cabin, they had just a few prerequisites: It needed to be immersed in nature, near the water, and close enough to their main home in Rhode Island that they could make weekend trips with the kids. After searching online, they stumbled upon a cabin in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. It checked all the boxes, yet it was far from perfect. The piers supporting the cabin desperately needed to be reinforced or else it would fall into the lake—and the building was poorly constructed. So after consideration, their architect John Cole advised the couple to knock down the original cabin and start from scratch. Lucky for them, their must-haves were all location-based. With Susan and Edgar’s blessing, John started designing their new cottage.
Due to zoning constraints, the footprint of the new cabin needed to remain the same as the original structure, so John built two-and-half stories upwards. Now, the 1,600-square-foot cabin has a modern kitchen, spaces for the kids to play in, spacious bedrooms, and balconies that walk out to a lush canopy of trees. As John told Cabin Living magazine, “By the time you get to the main living floor or master bedroom, you’re in the treetops, literally.”