Historical Architecture Meets Modern Performance

November 29, 2016

A new-build vacation home within The Chautauqua Institution pays homage to the Queen Anne style, with its steep-pitched roof, multiple gable forms, turned porch posts, and decorative millwork or “gingerbread” trim.

In the southwest corner of New York State lies a unique summer resort community called The Chautauqua Institution. Founded along the shores of Chautauqua Lake in 1873, the community hosts a nine-week-long summer arts program, during which its local population swells from less than 500 residents to more than 20,000 per week.

Chautauqua is on the National Register, with all its grounds and structures part of a Historic Landmark District. But while protected, Chautauqua is an evolving community. “Chautauqua’s greatest strength is that it offers a complete cross-section of architectural history from the 1870s to the present,” says David Williams McKee, architect and owner of Architecture Group, a firm specializing in vacation homes and custom residences.

McKee recently completed a unique, new-build vacation home on the grounds of Chautauqua. “The challenge was to design a home to meet our West Coast owners’ eclectic wishes while still blending seamlessly with the existing fabric of late 19th- and early 20th-century architecture,” he says.

The vacation home pays homage to the Queen Anne style, with its steep-pitched roof, multiple gable forms, turned porch posts, and decorative millwork or “gingerbread” trim. Exterior decorative brackets allude to nature and the vernacular tradition in drawing inspiration from the landscape. Silhouettes of the sun and crescent moon in the gable end panels evoke the cosmos, and are metaphors for a larger order and the owner’s own proclivities. “There is a lot to see in the exterior of this cottage; it’s a tapestry of expression,” McKee says. “Not only does it respect and represent the historical traditions of Chautauqua, it achieved our goal of meeting our owners’ needs and desires.”

To ensure the siding and trimwork could withstand the region’s climate extremes—hot, humid summers and cold winters with lake-effect snow—McKee chose Boral TruExterior® Siding & Trim for the siding, soffits, and window and door trim, as well as the detailed millwork and decoration of the porches. Manufactured with a proprietary blend of polymers and fly ash, TruExterior avoids problems that plague wood, such as rotting, cupping, and twisting. It is low maintenance, dimensionally stable, and resistant to moisture, cracking, splitting, and insects.

McKee also turned to TruExterior for cladding. When construction began in 2013, Boral did not yet offer the particular shiplap profile the architect wanted for the primary exterior (though it does now), so the project team developed its own shiplap siding using TruExterior Trim.

Marsh Valley Forest Products, located in Middlefield, Ohio, supplied the TruExterior Trim and fabricated the shiplap profile. “It was easy to work with. Once set up to handle TruExterior, it’s easier to mould than wood,” says Marsh Valley owner and president Mervin Miller.

The Chautauqua home is replete with Boral TruExterior Siding & Trim, which provided the authentic look required for the location and the architect’s vision along with performance to withstand the region’s harsh weather extremes.

TruExterior also helped McKee achieve the cedar shingle look he desired for the third-floor gables while assuaging the concerns of the homeowners who were having trouble maintaining their all-cedar residence in California and didn’t love the fake look of some manmade products. McKee and Miller engineered the means of splitting TruExterior Trim boards and turning them into “cedar lookalike” shingles. They have since set up a company, M2 Building Products, and have become the third-party re-manufacturer of TruExterior Trim to make and sell shingles under the trade name PerfectShingle™.

“At times, it’s a real struggle to find materials that capture historical accuracy but also withstand the elements,” McKee said. “TruExterior Siding & Trim meet all of these requirements and more.”


For more information, contact:
Boral TruExterior Siding & Trim