last vestiges of the original 1950s cottage, the main living area
features the original fieldstone fireplace and a 20-foot vaulted
pine ceiling to which the builders added cold steel collar ties
How do you double
the size of a home, use its original foundation and salvage a crumbling
wood ceiling without taking anything away from the natural beauty of the
setting? That was the challenge faced by architect Bruce Wydeven and
builder Erik Knuth of EarthRite Construction on a large-scale renovation
project of a Lake Michigan cottage.
landscape architect Chris Miracle of LandWorks, the site itself is
spectacular. "It has it all — beach, meadow, a large lawn, wooded
paths, multiple entertainment patios, sun, shade, windy places,
sheltered places. As you pull into the property, the vastness of Lake
Michigan really hits you. It’s an incredible feeling being so close in
elevation to the lake while being nestled in with the nearby
bluff," he says.
owners’ love of yoga inspired this prairie grass and fieldstone
labyrinth. The location takes full advantage of the available
sunlight while native hazelnut shrubs are used to give the space a
low perimeter privacy screen.
At the owners’
request, the home was designed not only to minimize its impact on the
natural beauty of the land but also to reuse as much of the original
structure and foundation as possible. "We used the original
footprint and added on to the sides to draw in more natural light. The
existing floor was extremely weak and out of level, but instead of
replacing it, we releveled and strengthened it using a lightweight
concrete mixture. The owners are very eco-conscious, so we donated the
original siding and decking to other local projects," says Knuth.
kitchen features large awning windows that open to the outdoor
eating area and serve as a pass through to the deck while rope
chandeliers and lighthouse style sconces give the room a nautical
touch to complement the lake views.
The final plan
includes a master suite and cedar sauna added to one side of the
original foundation and a new kitchen, garage and yoga suite to the
other. Outside, the new roofs were built using a combination of cedar
and zinc. "The shallow pitches utilize zinc for adequate drainage
while the steeper pitches are made with Grade A cedar shingles installed
over a mesh pad that allows the roof to breath and gives it a longer
life," says Knuth.
He pointed out
that the main challenge came in the living area, where a large stone
fireplace and a 20-foot-high wood beamed ceiling were to be saved.
"The owner wanted to honor the home’s past and create something
timeless by using the old wood ceiling. To save it, we had to prop up it
up and then pull everything else down around it. We literally dangled it
in space and then built underneath it. It made for some very tense
moments," says Knuth. M
as a transitional space between the lake and the home, the camp
bathroom is reached directly through a side entrance off the cedar
deck and features a shower, changing area and large Kohler
the cedar deck, a blue stone patio with thyme plantings continues
the color theme from the lake to the house. The large kitchen
windows open to a low-maintenance counter made of weather
resistant ipe wood.
outdoor counter features structural cedar beams that fully support
the zinc roofed overhang above. Holding the beams together are
custom fabricated metal brackets that were hand-built on-site.
boathouse or kayak shed was made using a simple post and beam
design with sliding barn doors on each end and includes a built-in
firewood storage area.