Location: Harbert, Michigan
A Chicago-based couple purchased a beautiful 10 acres of land near Michigan’s southwest corner, just a bike ride away to the beach. They were looking to begin a new lifestyle in the countryside by moving into a modern residence that thoroughly takes advantage of the land’s various features to perfectly suit their new way of life on the ‘farm’ in an abundant way. Early design discussions with the client considered everything from gathering late afternoon sunlight into key spaces, extending outdoor living to more than just summer season through use of varying levels of exterior spaces, to providing views to the ravine. The home’s approach through the landscape tells each visitor a story about the property’s farming past before revealing the sited residence, nestled behind a natural berm and within an opening in the trees. The only requisite of the client’s for the project was the exterior color must be black. The client’s desired for their home to be “perfectly realized, but elegantly humble,” as they found simplicity to be pure country perfection. A black simple box with a single sloped roof to manage water was designed to house primary programmatic spaces. An entry extends beyond the box to welcome guests and double as a gallery of art. Another extension beyond the black box houses a single folding wood stair that slices through space and lands on a platform besides the breakfast nook boasting expansive views into the woods beyond. A real wood burning fireplace and walnut wood accent walls help bring a feeling of warmth into white spaces throughout. Open living spaces, large kitchen, various levels of outdoor living, and an airy bunk room are designed for sharing their tranquil getaway with visiting family and friends.