A three-story modern vacation home butts right up to the edge of a glassy pond like a lookout tower, a small dock offering access to canoes for exploration. The Pond House at Ten Oaks Farm in Hammond, Louisiana takes full advantage of a serene natural setting with a glassed-in space overlooking the water, and an open-air terrace on the third floor.

Holly & Smith Architects created the net-zero retreat on a remote 15.5-acre property, collaborating with the clients for a tranquil getaway that honors the nearly-untouched nature of the land. A single-sloping roof directs rainwater into the pond and gives a set of solar panels optimal exposure to the sun. Spray foam insulation, high efficiency heating and cooling, energy star equipment and LED lighting help maintain a small footprint.

All of that glass lets in lots of natural light during daylight hours, and large operable windows enable cross-ventilation, opening the home to the outdoors. The overhanging roof juts out over the lower floors, shading them during the sunniest hours and providing privacy to the master suite.

A gravel path leads to a gazebo built out over the water, with porch swings and a hammock. Nearly everything is lined with warm wood, including the indoor/outdoor spaces. And at the rear of the home, translucent panels filter light and enable the entire structure to glow like a lantern at night.

“Since its completion, The Pond House has been generating instead of consuming energy,” say the architects. “Within the mission of creating a sustainable design, this residence is an example that proves energy efficient houses can be comfortable, luxurious places to live. The Pond House is a place where family and friends can come together. From swinging out by the lake, to hanging out on the terrace, or having an acoustic jam session by the fire, The Pond House offers many avenues of engaging in culture, adventure, relaxation, and observation inside and out.”