Priest Lake Cabin

Priest Lake Cabin


lakefront beach cabin we designed was recently completed on the shores of Priest Lake, in Northern Idaho.  Beautiful lake views abound from just about every room.

The owners wanted to replace an outdated cabin that was set far off the beach.  The placement and design layout of the home didn’t work for them, and wasn’t very energy efficient, so they decided to start from scratch.  The Owner’s "cabin on the lake" wishlist included a rustic, yet refined look on the exterior, with cedar, stone and timbers.   A connection to the outdoors, with lake views from all the major rooms, along with outdoor living spaces, was a must.

A beachfront cabin at Priest Lake
Beachfront cabin at Priest Lake

The new cabin includes four bedrooms and a large game and sleeping loft.  The beach level lower floor comprises of a boat garage with plenty of room for other water toy storage, as well as a family room and two bedrooms.  Down below there is also a mud room and outdoor shower on the side.

Priest Lake cabin dining room with a view
A Priest Lake cabin dining room with a view

The main entry level has an intimate dining and kitchen, along with a master suite that includes a large tub and walk-in shower, and beautiful views across the lake.  A soaring living room, with recessed bookcases and overhead timber trusses (two flanking a two-story fireplace), shares space with the upper loft.

Soaring living room with fireplace and timber trusses
A soaring living room and loft space connect to the more intimate kitchen and dining rooms.

The living room and dining room both have access to a large deck, held up by timber posts and knee braces, wrapping around to the front of the cabin.  The lake views out of these rooms are breathtaking.  There’s also a one-car garage on the main level.

The cabin's views of Priest Lake
An intimate dining room and a soaring living room space both have incredible views of the lake.

The cabin was designed in the Mountain Architectural style, which incorporates natural elements.  The siding is beveled cedar, with stone accents.  It is post and beam construction, versus a true timber frame.  The windows are aluminum clad, with alder wood interiors.

Priest Lake's southern end
Part of the southern end of Priest Lake, as see from East Shore Road.

Priest Lake is in the northern panhandle of Idaho, in what is called “Lake Country”.  Though it’s only the 3rd largest lake, behind Lake Pend Oreille and Lake Coeur d’Alene, it’s still 26,000 acres, or about 41 square miles.  All three of the lakes produce some of the biggest trout in the country, along with kokanee, bass and many others.  Priest Lake is the more rugged of the three, as in more forested, and is much quieter in the winter.  There is also a 2.5 mile long thoroughfare at the northern end of the lake, connecting to a smaller Upper Priest Lake, which is even quieter with no cabins.

Every time I drive out to Priest Lake, I’m reminded quite a bit of Huntington Lake in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, which is a lake where we had a family cabin when I was growing up.  Except that Priest Lake is almost twenty times as big in area.  Both are big in fishing, hiking and camping.

Priest Lake's Huckleberry Bay on the north side
Huckleberry Bay on the north side of Priest Lake.

The contractor was Mike Sandau of Sandau Builders.  If you ever want to build on Priest Lake, I would highly recommend using them.  Other photos can be seen at Cabin at Priest Lake.  Special thanks to Marie Dominique Verdier, who took these beautiful photos.  And of course, a big thanks to the homeowners, who were great to work with, and who I won’t name so they can keep their privacy.

John Hendricks, AIA Architect

Hendricks Architecture specializes in the design of mountain style homes and cabins, and has been listed yearly among Mountain Living's top mountain architects.  We try to add a little bit of soul into each home, to reflect the personalities and wishes of the homeowners.  We've designed all over the USA (including many at Priest Lake), and several other countries.

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