Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods

AIA award-winning architect Chris Sanders updated his family’s hunting cabin to a modern hideout in the Piney Woods

by Hannah J. Phillips
Photographs by Ryann Ford

Hidden in the heart of the Piney Woods of East Texas, scattered cypress trees and loblolly pines surround a family hunting camp affectionately named Little Boggy. The site has served as a gathering spot since the 1940s and was recently updated and expanded by Chris Sanders, of Sanders Architecture, which won an AIA Design Award in 2016 for Juniper restaurant.

For the cabin redesign, Sanders worked with his mother and father-in-law, Ellen and Buddy Temple, to honor the bones of the original home and preserve family history while creating a modern compound to accommodate the growing clan.

“Buddy passed away during the design process,” Sanders says, “so it was nice that we were able to have that time together before he passed, working to satisfy his vision for the cabin as a family gathering space for years to come.”

The building started as a three-room hunting camp, expanding over the decades to include a kitchen, a dining room and additional structures outside. The main intent of the redesign was to add an entertainment room and more sleeping quarters for the Temples’ many children and grandchildren.

“We really wanted to respect the old building,” says Sanders. “There’s a lot of family attachment to it, so the proportions and the form and the materiality of the additions were very sensitive to that 80-year-old structure.”

Sanders worked with longtime collaborator, Killy Scheer of Scheer & Co. Interior Design, to preserve the original building and its materials while also giving the interiors a much needed update. One particular highlight of the new additions is the two-story, three-bedroom guest house with an upstairs screened-in sleeping porch. Oriented on the southeast corner of the building, the porch is intentionally positioned toward southeastern summer breezes and sweeping views across Black Cat Lake.

“All the windows really embrace that lake view,” says Sanders, describing how the arrangement of the new buildings creates a sort of central outdoor court for things like the family Thanksgiving football game. “The family comes here to hunt and fish, so it’s all about enjoying the outdoors.”

Cabin in the Woods
“We preserved the paneled walls and ceiling in the original living room and made it more of a quiet space for conversation,” explains interior designer Scheer.
Cabin in the Woods
Cabin in the Woods
There are outbuildings throughout the property to accommodate the growing family. The new two-story guesthouse (shown above) provides additional sleeping quarters and includes a screened-in sleeping porch.
Cabin in the Woods
For the kitchen in the main lodge Sanders took down a wall in order to create space and add height. The original kitchen included a small pegboard for cast iron pans, and that idea was expanded upon and carried through in the update.
Cabin in the Woods
A nod to the family's heritage in the forest products industry, Sanders used southern yellow pine as a primary material throughout the project.
Cabin in the Woods
"The rooms in the guest house are meant to be bright, spacious and contemporary but with elements from the main house to make the whole compound consistent," explains Scheer. Custom built-ins, textural art and pops of color create a playful kid's space.
Cabin in the Woods
During the renovation, Sanders and his team preserved brick and boards from the exterior of the original building. Shown alongside "African American Man" by Joan Farrar.

Read More From the Outdoors Issue | July 2019

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