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Mountain, Rustic and Lake Style Design Elements

Mountain House Plan The Laurelwood - Home Plan 5024

Design Elements of the Mountain, Rustic & Lake Style House

The Mountain, Lake and Rustic Style House evolved from those who chose to venture into the rugged and untamed mountain and lake areas of the country. Much like the original classic Farmhouse, early Mountain and Rustic Style houses had to be made from natural materials that could be harvested from the immediate area. The materials had to withstand harsh environments producing cold, rain and snow. The early homes were built using unmilled logs, natural stone and rough timbers. The basic forms of the early style house were simple, low pitched roofs along with steeper roof elements.

Rustic Exterior Photo of the Hardesty - House Plan 1287

The Adirondack Style had an early influence on the this style, when leisure travel from cities to mountain and lake destinations was first possible. The home style evolved to reflect a number of elements from the Craftsman, Arts and Crafts, Bungalow and Prairie Styles. The goal was similar...to blend the house into the terrain and existing trees, vegetation, land and rock forms, and not look like the structure was just dropped onto the property. Evolution of the original simple forms led to multiple gables and accent shed or gable dormers, and multi-level structures. Walkout foundations helped step the house down sloping property and blend into the topography.

Exterior view of rustic house plan 5022 - the Foxford

Front entrance of rustic home plan 5022 - the Foxford

The Mountain, Lake and Rustic Style house is full of surprising creative and eclectic elements, mostly understated. A warm and inviting entrance, protected by a covered porch or roof, was the first welcoming element. Wood siding components include vertical board and batten, horizontal lap siding, and cedar shakes. Large timber columns and beams, often with wood bracket and brace details, frame porches, under the eaves and overhangs and in the gables and dormers above. Natural stone columns, walls and walk surfaces complement the wooden elements in their natural environment.

Lake house plan the Riva Ridge - home plan 5024

Exterior color is an integral part of the style, using natural earthy colors in tones of browns, greens and grays. These colors are now driven largely by personal choice, and are often bolder and more dramatic, especially in the lake environment. This boldness is further expressed in the color selections for window sashes and doors contrasting with the color of the trim and siding.




7 Exterior Elements that define the Mountain, Lake and Rustic Style House.

Exterior view of house plan 1320 - the Butler Ridge

  1. 1 - Simple low slope roof shapes blending into more dominant steep slope gable forms, often with shed or gable dormers.
  2. 2 - Cedar shake, slate and Architectural shingle roofs, with wide eaves and overhangs to protect the house from the environment. Roof pitches range from 4/12 up to 12/12.
  3. 3 - Exterior siding materials are cedar shake, vertical board on board or board and batten and any number of styles of horizontal siding.
  4. 4 - Timber columns and beams, knee braces and gable brackets, often with contrasting stain or paint colors.
  5. 5 - Accent color on window sashes of large multiple unit windows and doors.
  6. 6 - Wide functional front and rear porches and terraces, with timber beams, columns and wood ceilings.
  7. 7 - Stacked stone foundation with piers for columns and railings.


Roofing detail of Rustic house plan 5022 - The Foxford





Natural wood shake, slate roofing and Architectural shingles often cover both gentle and steep sloped porch roofs and shed or gable dormers. Copper or metal roof accents also appear on these elements. Functional roof brackets, knee braces and gable vents add appropriate details.




front porch of Lake House Plan 1312 - the Baskerville


Natural exterior materials typically clad the exterior of these homes, whether cedar shake, horizontal lap siding, log edge siding, or vertical board-and-batten. Timber columns and beams often provide contrasting framing.Stains highlight the natural color and grain of the wood, varied from wood species to species even on the same house to express the beauty of their character. Maintenance of these houses has become an increasingly critical area of focus, and the vast improvement of paint products able to withstand the harsh weather environments and the wood loving insects, has allowed these advanced paint products to be widely used.

Garage doors from house plan 5013- the Riva Ridge




Contrasting color window sashes accentuate wide trim details of large glass openings. Varied window size and grid patterns are employed, with grids primarily in the top sash. Wide trim, both simple flat and more elaborate profiles and window details complement the background simplicity. Garage doors might have a carriage door appearance, with tall lower panels and either glass or solid top panels. Non-functional door hinge and handle accents are common.


Back porch of house plan 1287 - the Hardesty



Roomy rear porches, and screened rear porches, often boast large stone fireplaces and timber mantles. Stone flooring materials are common, as are specialty wood decking and man-made decking substitute materials. This has become an especially important as many new, advanced products are becoming available. These low maintenance materials are replacing exotic hardwoods and helping sustainability efforts.


Stone foundation of home plan 5022 - The Foxford



Stone foundations were used initially and continued for an extended period of time, but brick became an easy substitute as the remote areas became more easily accessible and the general character of communities began merge with the feel of more suburban developments. Easy weekend getaways, commuting to work and even work from home offices continue to contribute to a less rustic feel and a more refined mountain lake character.





7 Interior Elements that define the Mountain, Lake and Rustic Style House.

Great room photo of mountain house plan 959 - the Cedar Plan

  1. 1 - Wall painted in complementary or contrasting colors, with a tall wainscot often utilized, or stained wood walls.
  2. 2 - Wide plank, T&G wood flooring in multiple and random widths, sanded, stained and/or finished with polyurethane, with matte or minimal sheen finish
  3. 3 - A large fireplace and long exterior views are typical focal points in the main living area.
  4. 4 - Ceilings of varying height highlight the space. Taller and/or vaulted ceilings bring added interest and excitement to the main living spaces.
  5. 5 - Simple wide trim detailed with a backband or profile trim, both stained and painted. More detailed door and window trim, paneled doors and period hardware are often found.
  6. 6 - Kitchen cabinetry with clean-line paneled or board/board doors and open storage shelves. Paint, stain and combination of both, as well as the “used and old" look to accent certain elements cover the spectrum of finish and style.
  7. 7 - Wood accents, stained or painted, with wood columns, beams, wood ceilings and walls, and occasional floor level changes providing space delineation and transition.


Great room of house plan 5022 - the Foxford



Mountain, Lake and Rustic house interiors tend to be cozy, casual, comfortable and inviting. Advancements in building products, finishes and technology have made the current house more comfortable and durable with lower maintenance. The interior focus becomes blending functional creature comforts, technology and new materials with the more rustic, casual elements and original materials and details.


Study room photo of house plan 5022 - the Foxford



The “natural" theme comes indoors with painted walls, utilizing complementary colors and materials, with stained or painted doors and windows, base and ceiling trim, and wood walls, with tall wainscot detailing also used frequently. Wood beams and wood ceiling details are common, paneled wood doors, simple built-in cabinetry and storage along with the eye-catching countertops and tile backsplashes.


Foyer of house plan 5022 - the Foxford



Refined, dressed wood is used extensively as an accent material, and can be found in wide plank tongue and groove flooring, both site sanded and finished and manufactured pre- finished, doors, timber and built-up ceiling beams and wood ceilings, fireplace mantels and focal pieces of furniture quality cabinetry. Rough sawn wood also shows up if a more rustic character is desired.




Great room photo of house plan 1287 - the Hardesty


Alternative finishes are utilized for reclaimed and distressed floors. The continued advances in manufactured flooring allows the use of many varied and aesthetic appearances over concrete slabs, greatly increasing the flooring material options in lower level walkout spaces. Stained and textured concrete is another interesting finish for floors, both interior and exterior.


Dining room photo from house plan 959 - the Cedar Creek




A large, open common area is standard, with a fireplace with stacked natural stone finish and a timber or stone slab mantle on one wall, and the view wall with large expanses of glass occupying one or more remaining walls. The fireplace may be flanked by furniture style or built-in cabinetry to hold technology components, oversized tv and collectible display pieces.



Kitchen photo from home plan 959 - the Cedar Creek




Wide use of tile or wood in the kitchen and tile in mudroom areas are found, with patterned colorful tile backsplash and counter tops. Beautiful floor and accent tile is often found in baths hi-lighted by walk-in tile showers.




Here are some examples of Mountain, Rustic & Lake Style House Plans
from the Donald Gardner design portfolio.

Exterior photo of mountain house plan 1321 - the SylvanExterior of the Rustic house plan 1312 - The BaskervilleExterior photo of lake house plan 1254 - the Silvergate

              Or, click to see all of our Mountain, Rustic and Lake Style House plans!

              Below are various links to manufacturers of products and materials you might want to consider for your Mountain, Rustic or Lake style house.

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              Appalachian Antique Hardwoods Barkhouse Siding Progress Lighting
              Appalachian Hardwoods Barkhouse Siding Progress Lighting Ceiling Fans


              Mountain Laurel Handrail Eldorado Stone
              Mountain Laurel Handrailing Eldorado Stone Products

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