A refined lake house bridged across a rocky ravine in North Carolina


This refined lake house was designed by Samsel Architects, located on Lake James, a large reservoir in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Constructed over a challenging site, the architects devised this house to be bridged over three rocky ravines. They took their design inspiration from old wooden bridges to create a home rooted in the landscape.

The site features amazing long-range views of Mount Mitchell to the west and lake views to the south. Though the property’s complicated terrain presented a challenge, the views drew the owners to the property in the first place.


Three ravines divide the peninsula-shaped property that is heavily wooded with steep slopes. The ideal house site provided visual connections to the views but meant the majority of the home would bisect the most significant of the three ravines.


This house complements the land while remaining hidden from view from anyone out enjoying the lake. The home’s look and feel were modeled after old wooden bridges you would find in the countryside, using native materials and a narrow footprint. The mass of the home follows along the natural contours of the land until the house itself becomes a bridge over the ravine.


There are two smaller bridges within the home – one that carries you to the front entrance and one that connects the garage to the main body of the home.


What We Love: This refined lake house offers a unique design, bridged over three rocky ravines. Warm and inviting living spaces were designed to have a relaxed atmosphere. The expansive glazing in the primary living spaces helps to capture views of the breathtaking forested landscape and beyond to the lake. Simple design details on the interior help to focus instead on the surroundings while also creating a low-maintenance lifestyle.

Tell Us: What do you think of the architectural design of this home? Let us know in the Comments below!

Note: Check out a couple of other beautiful home tours that we have showcased here on One Kindesign in the state of North Carolina: Coastal style home in North Carolina showcases inviting living spaces and Adorable beach cottage in North Carolina features playful pops of color.


The primary living space hovers over the land as the home’s main bridge. The so-called “Bridge Room” holds the kitchen, dining, and living and is capped at the end with a screened porch. This room is spacious, with heavy timbers and natural stone that perfectly frame the view of Lake James. This space is anchored into the land by a fireplace and mirroring built-in bookshelf.



The Loggia is the main walkthrough that connects the garage to the interior spaces. One side is a wall of windows while the opposite wall, floor, and ceiling are wrapped in stained natural wood.  The horizontal plank of the wall conceals two doors connecting the space to a guest suite and laundry room.



The staircase sits at the center of the home. The volume is open to all three floors and feels like the timber-wrapped stairs are floating. At the bottom of the stairs sits a recreation room, study, and two guest bedrooms.


At the top of the stairs is a bedroom dubbed “The Treehouse.”  The Treehouse sits at the top of the tree canopy and is the best spot to watch the sunset through the U-shaped set of ribbon windows.





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Jan Velayas
2 years ago

I think it’s brilliant design. We had a lot in Asheville, NC that was impossible to build on like most mountainous lots there. This design would have worked but I’m afraid the expense of the landscape design and foundation would have not worked for our budget. Great house reminiscent of Falling Water.