Lake House: Eco-Friendly Design Oasis in the Berkshires

The Lake House in the Berkshires, Massachusetts, stands as a testament to Pachano & Vollert‘s architectural prowess. Perfectly integrated into a forested lakeside setting, this home not only respects the lush surroundings but also becomes a part of them. Its design, with blackened wood siding and natural elements, ensures the building remains unobtrusive yet captivating.

The interior, arranged across multiple levels, offers serene retreats and communal spaces that embody tranquility and connection with nature. Organic materials and custom-designed elements throughout the home further enhance this sensory and eco-conscious experience.

Modern black wooden house with large windows and outdoor deck surrounded by autumn trees.

Modern black exterior of a house with large windows and outdoor seating area.


Modern living room with plush seating and wooden accents.

Modern living room with large windows, green sofa, and dining area.

Modern living room with minimalist design and colorful rug.


Modern kitchen with wooden cabinets, marble countertops, and pendant lights.

Modern kitchen with a minimalist design, pendant lights, and a window view of trees

Modern living room with blue beanbags, colorful rug, and high ceiling.

Modern living room with blue furniture and colorful rug.

Modern interior with white walls, large windows, and wooden floors.

Modern living room with neutral tones and large window with forest view.

Modern bedroom with large window, white chair, and grey curtains.

Minimalist bedroom with large window overlooking autumn trees.

Modern bathroom with marble tiles, double vanity, and glass shower.

About Lake House

Forest Lake House: Seamlessly Merging with Nature

The Forest Lake House emerges subtly, resembling a shadow among trees. Pachano & Vollert, architects from New York and Massachusetts, designed this 6,000-square-foot home to blend into the forested, lakeside environment. They carefully selected materials and textures to fit the natural landscape, focusing on energy efficiency and passive house standards.

Design That Echoes Nature

Amparo Vollert, co-principal of Pachano & Vollert, describes their vision: “We aimed for the house to blend in, almost disappearing.” Its design makes it almost invisible from the lake, striking a balance between discretion and allure. Created for a family of eight, the home connects with the lush Berkshires and offers both peace and space for gathering. The owners, both retired lawyers and artists, wanted a home that feels cozy for two yet spacious for their six adult children.

Adapting Architecture to Nature’s Demands

The house combines two volumes at a slight angle, honoring a majestic maple tree. Its position, influenced by local zoning and ecological considerations, faces the street. The architects used the land’s slope to their advantage, creating three levels that blend with the terrain. The blackened wood siding of the exterior helps the house to meld with the trees. This durable material stands up to moisture and insects, ensuring longevity with minimal upkeep.

Inside: A Natural Haven

The interior spans several levels: a communal area on the main floor, guest bedrooms upstairs, and a secondary living room and studios on the lake level. The house meets passive house standards for a healthy living environment. Windows and skylights bring dynamic changes with natural light, offering views that connect indoors with outdoors. The home features custom designs and organic textures, enhancing its serene atmosphere.

Blending Art with Environment

Notable interior elements include a dining table with a Bastogne Walnut top and distinctive stone accents like Super White Quartzite and Tanzania Onyx Stone. These features mirror the outdoor scenery, fostering a sensory bond with nature. Vollert notes, “Our goal is to reconnect people with nature, inspire deeper environmental ties, and minimize our ecological footprint.”

In summary, the Forest Lake House is a striking example of architectural ingenuity and environmental awareness, seamlessly integrated into its natural setting.

Photography by Naho Kubota

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– by Matt Watts