An 8 acre site on the shores of Lake Michigan offers the ideal locale for this new vacation home. The house’s design is evocative of classic resort architecture while its Dutch gambrel roofs allude to the barns that populate this area of southern Wisconsin. These traditional forms are modernized with a play of proportions in the windows and the paring down of details both inside and out. Clearly contemporary elements such as huge expanses of glass and minimalist fixtures and fittings are juxtaposed against the traditional elements to create a house that is both of its surroundings and of its time.
Designed by Searl Lamaster Howe Architects for a Chicago family with three young children, the house was conceived as a serene escape from city life. The lake is visible (and audible) from every room of the house barring two bathrooms. The material palette for the house was intentionally limited with selections based on innate beauty, practicality, and economy. Outside cedar shakes and shingles are offset by simple white trim. Distressed chestnut flooring inside hides the inevitable wear and tear of the family and is complemented by white walls, white ceramic and grey porcelain tiles, and white cabinetry; in effect, the interiors serve as a minimalist foreground to the views beyond. The living room is the true heart of the home and has exposures both east to the lake west to a large lawn and to a pond beyond.