Leelanau County, MI
4,800 SF


Perched on a woodland bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, this home, designed in collaboration with Environment Architects (AOR) of Traverse City, MI, is an assemblage of three offset structures that play off each other— the ‘gathering’ structure contains the living room, kitchen and a covered 'vista' seating terrace; the two 'sleeping' structures house the master bedroom suite and three children's bedrooms.  A dining area breezeway connects all three structures.

The roofscape has gentle undulations that follow the movement of the natural terrain and make a playful reference to the vernacular architecture of nearby fishing villages.  The resulting rhythm of exposed wood beams provides layers of asymmetrical vaults throughout the interiors.  At the southern end of the house, a 20 foot cantilevered roof extends over the 'vista' terrace, providing a protected, unobstructed view of Lake Michigan and the surrounding woodlands.

The exterior of the house is clad in ‘shou sugi ban,' a traditional Japanese method of charring wood so it becomes rot resistant and bug resistant.  The charred texture and the modulation of deep facade members enhances the shadows across the facade as the sun rises and sets.

We reclaimed dying ash trees from the site and milled them down to be used as interior cabinetry, flooring, ceiling panels, trim work, and custom furniture throughout the house. The interiors of the house embody the indigenous landscape that once thrived with old growth ash.

Landscape design strategies were closely tied to the design of the house.  A tight palette of native vegetation highlights views while also managing storm water run-off.  Locally sourced stone creates outdoor seating areas, pathways, and steps.

AIA Michigan Honor Award
AIA New York Merit Design Award

AIA New York State Design Award
BSA / AIA NY Housing Award
Interior Design Best of Year Design Award
Residential Architect Design Award
American Architecture Award

AAP Architecture MasterPrize
SARA National Design Award of Excellence
SARA NY Design Award
Architects Newspaper Best of Design Award
Wood Design & Building Award
Architizer A+ Award Finalist

Mies Crown Hall Prize Nominee
Dezeen Top 10 US Houses of 2017
International Architecture Award- Architecture Podium
India’s Best Design Award

Environment Architects, Traverse City, MI

STRUCTURAL Apex Engineering & Management
MECHANICAL Bayshore Engineering
CIVIL Jozwiak Consulting Engineers
LIGHTING Christine Sciulli Light + Design
CUSTOM FURNITURE Woodbine Custom Furniture & Cabinetry
AV Waara Technologies
CONTRACTOR Easling  Construction
LANDSCAPER Darling Botanical Co.