This home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula frames and emphasizes its natural context, making nature its focus. The design reacts to the surrounding environment, dissolving inside/outside boundaries and creating composed views into the woods and towards the water. Exterior materials will weather over time to match the surroundings, while colors in the interior are inspired by the landscape – for example, an interior wood stain matches the color of the bark of nearby trees.
The house is organized on the site in two directions. An East-West axis creates a path from the front door to a lake view, while floor to ceiling windows along a North-South axis frame the surrounding garden and forest. A sculptural staircase anchors the intersection of the two main axes. Throughout the interior, ceiling heights and room volumes vary, becoming more spacious in the rooms that open toward views. Roof extensions and light shelves create clear definition between vertical spaces. The orderly axis breaks down outside the house, as an asymmetrical cantilevered roof directs your gaze to the woods and lake views to the west.
"This house expresses my desire to create architecture that arouses delight in the same way that a sculpture does. The composition of shapes and the pure, natural materials come to life with shadows and sunlight. Landscape elements help to weave the architecture and site together." - Jim Olson, Design Principal.
Project Team: Jim Olson, FAIA, design principal; Olivier Landa, AIA, LEED AP BD+C project manager; Michael Wright, project architect; Crystal Coleman, LEED AP, project architect; Debbie Kennedy, LEED AP ID+C, interior designer
Contractor: MBM Construction Co.
Consultants: STS Consultants (civil engineer); Stephen Stimson Associates (landscape architect); Monte Clark Engineering (structural engineer); Riederer Engineering, LLC (mechanical engineer); Brian Hood Lighting, INC (lighting design); Olson Kundig (interior design); Joe Iano (consultant); Maxine Ordesky (closet and storage consultant); Seimatic (kitchen consultant)
Craftspeople: Kawneer North America (aluminum windows); Mingardi (electric window operators); Charles Loomis, Village Interiors (custom stair chandelier); Gulassa & Co. (dining pendants); Holly Hunt (living room sofa and bar stools and side table); Steve Clark, Area Rug (custom Lapchi dining table); Troscan Design (master bedroom bed); Calmar (chaise lounge); Flexform (master bath bench); Steve Clark (lighting); SieMatic (aluminum cabinetry); Julien Inc. (custom stainless steel sink); Dornbracht (faucets); BainUltra (bathtub); Dogpaw (pre-cast concrete bathroom vanity and sinks); Toto (Carlyle toilet)