Vermont Barn exterior

Vermont-Proof: MMA Winterizes a Timber-Frame Lodge

Verdant hills, violet lupines springing from the ground, rugged mountains rising and falling all the way to the horizon—it is a paradise enough to convince anyone to drop everything and race away somewhere quieter to be in nature. But even this idyllic haven faced its obstacles when it encountered the Northeast’s fiercest foe: an endless Vermont winter.

When MMA began our renovation of an aging Vermont lodge, winter’s challenges were immediately apparent. Heavy snowfall slid down the twin gables into the ten-foot gap between them, piling directly in front of the doorstep. When the sub-zero freezes took hold, that monolith of snow became a six-foot-high block of ice barring the entry.

The solution came in a single, elegant addition of a porte-cochere extending between the two existing structures. The snow slipping down the gable roofs was now redirected by the porte-cochere to heated drains located within the drive-court.

In a true marriage of form and function, the porte-cochere does more than alleviate the snow-related concerns; it also addresses the house’s uninspiring facade. By breaking up the elevation, the porte-cochere creates a more interesting roofscape for the lodge. In concert with this change, MMA introduced new colors and materials to break with the tedium of the existing plain vertical siding. The simple yet elegant color pairings and charming bay windows freshen the exterior while remaining true to the lodge’s stylistic roots.


The lodge’s new exterior aesthetic is a nod to the modernized timber-frame (post-and-beam) style interiors.

If you’re interested in learning more about this style, take a look at our post on the beauty of working with timber frames

Working with timber frames showcases the natural beauty of wood—a fitting principle to abide when creating a home so richly surrounded by nature. Incorporating a variety of natural elements in the design has allowed us to maintain a great degree of stylistic fidelity both to the existing structure and to the architectural tradition of cabin-style homes. Meanwhile, new finishes and highly modernized kitchen and bath amenities ensure that the house’s style in no way impedes its function as a family home.


Because the lodge is, first and foremost, a home. It resides on an 1100-acre lot with another home: our Vermont meadow house (all within the family) and a working barn that houses horses, llamas, and alpacas. Summers see unimaginably bright greens; winters, never-ending flurries. But in those pale and glittering winter months, a family can park beneath an elegant roof, unload their skis, and make their way inside to the hearth, untouched by winter’s deluge.

How to Make a House a Home – The Importance of Creativity

What makes a house a home? Creativity and addressing a client’s needs with thoughtful solutions are part of the process. For the family involved in our Marston Mills project, the challenge—and the solution—came in the form of custom headboards and cabinetry for the kids’ bedrooms.

In this project, ingenuity stemmed from conflict: the client loved the beds positioned against the window wall, but did not want the headboards to block the stunning ocean view. We shied away from the easy solution of choosing between the headboards and the window, sure that there was a better way, one that did not force our client to compromise their dream home.

The solution: we designed custom cabinetry that pulls the headboards away from the wall, tucks the beds in cozy nooks, and incorporates built-in nightstands and a continuous countertop. For ease in making the beds, we angled the nightstands away from the bed frames. Streamlined, functional, and cohesive.

The happy client feels that the design is tailored to their needs, and that is always our goal in creating a unique house that truly feels like home—no matter the obstacle.