2012년 여름 어느 날, 부부는 주말주택을 사자 결심했다. 그들이 고려했던 문제는 하나, '저렴한 집'이었다. 남편은 '싼 집'을 원했고 아내는 저녁이면 내내 부동산 사이트를 둘러보며 그들이 원하는 2만5천 달러 상당의 부지를 발견했다. 이 곳은 1950년 어느 어부의 오두막이었고, 대도시 피츠버그와도 가까웠으며, 호수 근처라 지리적 위치는 환상적이었다. 그저 전체적으로 수리가 필요했던 것만 빼고는 말이다. 작은 두개의 침실과 겨우 7피트 높이의 낮은 천장, 비좁은 부엌과 생활 공간을 갖춘 이 곳은 사실 누구도 원할 것 같지 않은 집이었다. 그러나, 사다리를 타고 다락방에 올라 간 순간 이 부부는 무엇보다 흥미로운 하나의 사실 - 마디 많은 송판으로 이뤄진 박공지붕을 발견했고, 1년 이상의 시간을 들여 리노베이션을 진행하였다. 단순히 클라이언트의 의뢰였다면 얻지 못할 수도 있던 그들만의 럭셔리함으로 탄생한 집을 소개한다.
One hot summer night in 2012, Gerard Damiani and Debbie Battistone, the husband-and-wife team behind Pittsburgh's studio d'Arc, took themselves out, and, over margaritas, decided to buy a weekend home.
They had just one sticking point: price. “I want cheap,” Damiani told his wife. She spent the rest of the evening scouring local Erie real estate websites to see if waterfront properties existed for around $25,000. She found exactly one, a 1950s fisherman’s cottage in a tranquil beach resort community within Lake City, two hours north of Pittsburgh. The house was ideally situated on Lake Erie but was in total disrepair, its mint-green concrete walls cracking and sagging into the earth. Inside were two tiny, claustrophobic bedrooms with only seven-foot-high ceilings and an eat-in kitchen and living area in which no one would want to dine. “It was held together with duct tape and spit,” says Damiani. “I thought, ‘I could never sleep here.’”
Then they climbed a ladder into the attic and saw something exciting: a pitched roof made out of knotty pine. “It looked like the hull of a ship. I just imagined lying in bed and looking up at this thing,” Damiani recalls.
It was enough to convince them to buy, but the necessary—and extensive—renovations would take over a year. “We didn’t have the cash to do it all at once, and we didn’t have all the answers all at once,” Battistone says. “But we like working slowly and figuring things out as we go along. It’s a luxury that you don’t get with a client’s project.”
Damiani describes the renovation process as “kind of improvisational, like jazz.” First they punched out the low ceiling to expose the wood roof and gutted the interior. Next they stabilized the sagging walls. The new wood-slat facade, combined with some underground structural work to the foundation, put the house in good stead. Then they had to figure out the interior. “It’s such a small space. If you start to add a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen—everything gets so marginalized,” Damiani says. “Instead, we wanted it to be completely open but really flexible in terms of how it operates.”
The solution was to create one large room, divided into two sections by a swiveling dining room table—it can pivot into the kitchen, extending the food prep area, or swing toward the water, becoming a serene workspace. This division is reinforced by the use of two interior woods: walnut for the kitchen and service area and white oak for the living space.
For such a small project, the house is packed with subtle details, from the wood panel that swings open to reveal a narrow window, to articulated joints that make an ordinary section of drywall pop, to gutters that extend a few feet beyond the roof like petals.