Our clients purchased this lot, on which formerly stood a George Brigham mid-century modern home. The previous owners had the home deconstructed, and were selling the impeccable old-growth lumber from the deconstruction along with the empty lot. With a 40 foot drop in elevation, this challenging and beautiful site overlooking the Nichols Arboretum has stunning views, perfect for our client’s vision of a modern home.
As active empty-nesters, our clients were looking for a home that would be a Michigan Mid-Century Modern, or as they put it “a cross between Frank Lloyd Wright and Neutra with overtones of Usonian and a pinch of arts and crafts.” The home should offer a views in three directions to take advantage of its perch over the Arb, and it should embrace nature, bringing the outdoors in. Sustainability, the use of natural materials inside and out, along with aging in place (AIP) strategies were all important features.
The house took on a wing-like shape of three sections that would maximize the views from the site. Composed of distinct layers, the house would feature a blend of cedar exterior, green living roofs and metal fascia wraps to delineate the façade. The indoors and outdoors should blend seamlessly, allowing the occupants more living space in nice weather.
This challenging site was on a steep hillside with many conifers and their delicate root structures above the home. The hillside needed to be shored to hold it back. The interior and exterior materials were chosen to create a transparency between indoors and out; enabling architecture and landscape to blend together.