Adirondack State Park, NY

Camp Cavendish Boathouse

As one of the oldest Great Camps on Lake Placid, Camp Cavendish has long been a retreat for families looking for rest and relaxation along the shores of this pristine lake in the Adirondack State Park. Visitors to the camp have included poet Robert Frost and numerous prominent politicians, and as such, its historical significance has warranted extensive restoration and preservation of the existing structures. The Camp’s main home was built in 1893, with the boathouse constructed within the same time frame. Before taking on major renovations to the main house, the Owners sought to restore the existing boathouse.

The historic boathouse, while still functional, was in need of restoration. Following an extensive assessment, it was determined that the best path forward would be to reconstruct the structural systems and repair the boathouse’s substructure followed by historically significant finishes. The footprint of the existing building would not be changed, but finishes, fixtures and equipment would be removed and updated to support a cohesive architectural fabric across the Camp. Interior spaces, including a kitchenette, bathroom, and bonus room, would be reconfigured for better function and to align with Owner’s needs.

To preserve historical significance and maintain the historic nature of the Camp, the boathouse remains on its existing foundation with the same number of boat slips. The newly installed structural steel that supports the structure is carefully hidden beneath wooden finishes, providing strength while maintaining architectural integrity, ensuring that the building will last another 100 years.

While the overall architectural style of the building remains the same, new exterior finishes were selected to match the main house. Black spruce bark-on siding replaces board and batten siding, and new log railings replace those previously framed with conventional lumber. Traditional red and green Adirondack paint colors, used selectively on trim and ornamental details, further tie into the style of the main house. The fireplace was moved from the interior to the exterior and reconstructed using traditional stone and wood accents. Walkways surround the second story, creating panoramic views of the lake and Whiteface Mountain beyond, blurring the lines between the structure and the surrounding natural landscape. The upper-level strip wood floor is maple and mahogany in keeping with the deck of the classic wood power boats built in the Adirondack region.

The Owners worked with an interior designer to create a camp-like feel throughout the interior. The original interior was tired and lifeless, and painted in monochromatic colors. A mix of finishes like colorful subway tile and deep wood tones coupled with crisp white paint and green and wood ceiling finishes add life to the space and completely transform the interior.

Now newly reconstructed, the boathouse is once again a prominent feature in the cultural and architectural history of Lake Placid, and it has become a place where family and friends can enjoy the stunning views of the Adirondack Mountains.

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