A Lake Michigan beach house in the Saugatuck dunes.
4 bed, 5 bath
Set on a dune overlooking Lake Michigan, this residence appears to emerge from the landscape. The project brief called for an artful house that respects the land and promotes wellness and outdoor living. Rugged beauty and opportunity for adventure drew the owners to the property but presented challenges, including rising lake levels and wildfire risk. The site necessitated a durable shelter that could responsibly integrate with the environment.
Clad in sand-colored stucco with wood soffits, the house will intentionally be obscured by grasses and junipers over time. Outdoor spaces are layered to match the undulating topography. A steel superstructure enables an ultra-thin roof with overhangs for passive solar design that withstand gale-force winds and heavy snow loads.
A crushed-granite courtyard offers refuge on windy days and a welcome winter gathering place apres-ski. This space is enclosed by Cor-Ten panels that shift like sails on a boat. These manually-operated panels are a sculptural solution to balance openness with privacy, rotating to reveal dune views or closing for a cloistered experience. The courtyard is further defined by a deconstructed roof with an aperture that frames sky views.
At 1,700 sq ft, the first level incorporates all spaces for the owners to live but feels larger because it integrates with 3,000 sq ft of outdoor space. Expansive glazing and porcelain flooring unite interior with exterior, evoking a sense of inhabiting an infinity house. And a screen porch, integrated into the massing and concealed by louvers, is a contemporary interpretation of a time-honored lake house vernacular.
Layers of light and an edited palette of materials unify the interior and evoke a laid-back feeling of beach towns. The walk-out lower level has two guest suites, a bunk room, and a flex room. On both levels, bronze glass walls artfully define rooms while saving space and preserving views.
The house is engineered to enable residents to thrive in this extreme microclimate. Triple-pane glazing maintains indoor comfort. Operable window walls improve indoor air quality and encourage active living through a connection to the outdoors. And a rooftop PV solar array and battery storage system power the home.