Transformation sensation: Tiny Ballston Lake camp makes way for stunning 1,700-square-foot contemporary

“There's just a community spirit here that you can't describe"
Home of Peter Voss at 111 East Side Drive in Ballston Lake.
Home of Peter Voss at 111 East Side Drive in Ballston Lake.

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Peter Voss has a beautiful home on Ballston Lake, but what brings him the most joy is everything that surrounds it.

A longtime member of the Ballston Lake Improvement Association, he speaks highly of his close-knit neighborhood.

“There’s just a community spirit here that you can’t describe,” he said.

The area’s natural beauty is also a constant source of pleasure, and his home was designed to highlight that. West-facing windows welcome an abundance of light and offer sweeping views of the lake, sunsets and approaching storms.

Viewed from out on the water, the Voss home is in harmony with the wooded rise it inhabits. Its expansive windows reflect the sky, and stone exterior accents bring the earth to mind.

A retired Schenectady City School District art teacher, Voss had his house built in 2016, but has lived on the lake much longer. Back in 1981, he and his wife, Nancy Fazzone-Voss, bought an 800-square-foot camp situated on the site where his present house stands. Voss said he was a water skier in his younger days and had visited the 274-acre lake since the 1960s.

Read more stories from Fall Home 2018.“My connection with Ballston Lake kind of drew me here,” he said. “This is where I was supposed to be. I have no doubt about that.”

Nancy, who was also an art teacher in the Schenectady School District, did not share her husband’s enthusiasm for their new home.

“I twisted my wife’s arm and said, ‘Hey, this is someplace I would like to be,’” he recalled. “She wasn’t too happy with the house because it was basically a camp. It needed a lot of work.”

The couple dedicated more than two decades to renovations. They made the living area larger by enclosing the porch, but still, there was never enough space for all of their art supplies, Voss recalled.

When Nancy died in 2003, the home, full of memories, became a difficult place for Voss to live. In 2015, he decided it was time for a fresh start. He searched the internet for house plans, and came across one for a two-story,1,700-square-foot contemporary. He was drawn to the fact that just about every room would have a lake view. The plan offered ample outdoor living space as well, including decks and a screened-in room.

Voss hired Saratoga Construction to build the two-bedroom, two-bath home. The old house was knocked down in March of 2016. The plan was to have the new place move-in ready by August. Construction was not without complications, however, so the move-in date was bumped to October.

“There was an awful lot of shale and rock, and we couldn’t dig down deep enough for the foundation, so this house is sitting several feet higher than originally planned,” Voss explained, noting that he was happy with the superior water view that resulted.

Nicole Skinner-Graudons, of Designer Interiors of Ballston, helped Voss select everything from siding to sofas, to achieve the modern look he had in mind for the home.

“He has a real cutting-edge, contemporary flair,” she said, via email, regarding Voss.

The home has the feel of one designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, she added.

“Nicole and I have just been on the same page from the minute I contacted her,” Voss said. “She sensed what I wanted and it’s been a great working relationship.”

The home’s floor plan melds living room, dining area and kitchen into one airy space. Diamond-shaped gray and white tiles draw the eye to the kitchen backsplash, while decorative tube-shaped pendant lights add a touch of artistry to the dining area. A gas fireplace and comfortable-looking leather furniture lend warmth to the space, and floor-length window treatments add an attractive frame to the lake view.

Decorating the home is still a work in progress. White walls will serve as a backdrop for colorful paintings, including watercolor works by Nancy. Voss said he will also add color with decorative pillows and photographs.

“I’m having a great deal of difficulty deciding what’s going to go where,” he said. “I’ve got more artwork than I have room for on the walls, so this house is going to get filled up with artwork.”

Meanwhile, the massive windows fill the house with nature’s beauty and a sense of peace.

“I can’t tell you how much I enjoy sitting here, looking out the window and watching a bald eagle fly by, watching the blue herons fly by,” Voss said. “To look out and see the change of seasons, the quietness, the stillness. Like right now, it’s just still. The lake is a mirror, and I really, really look forward to days like that.”

Kelly de la Rocha is a former Gazette reporter and Glenville resident. She now lives in Farmington, CT. Reach her at [email protected].

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