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Metamorphosis of a Man Cave

Sitting on a stunning 50 acre lot just minutes from downtown Ann Arbor, our clients came to us to turn the existing home into something that would better meet the needs of a growing family who love to entertain. This project included a complete tear down of a "unique" home that was originally designed for the male sports enthusiast. In other words...it was truly a man cave!

The Vision

Although set on pristine acreage, the previous 1981 "barn-esque" home had few redeeming qualities. With a two-story basketball court as the "core" of this home, the additional square footage built around the court was just space to put more toys. The house was a drafty box with lots of brown siding and shingles, little insulation, and sub-standard construction – perfect for a man cave but far from perfect for a growing family.

Upon purchasing this home, the owners came to Meadowlark longing for a sleeker, more modern home style that would accommodate their needs for years to come. Their vision was to create a bit of “up North” right here in Ann Arbor, and to take full advantage of the property’s southern vistas and two adjacent ponds. In addition, with backgrounds in computer technology and solar contracting, the owners also wanted a comfortable and resource-efficient home that was also healthy and durable.


The Team

Design & Architecture: Jimmy Bevilacqua

Project Manager: Jason Patterson

Photography:  Jeff Garland


Schematic Design

Our clients had a mix of design aesthetics - one having a love of all things contemporary and the other wanting something bordering on "hunting lodg-esque." Capturing the outdoors and providing unique spaces for entertaining friends and family was something they could both agree upon, so our designers started with that as common ground for design focus. There wasn't much that was salvageable of the existing structure other than the foundation. The foundation was in good shape and it already had the central opening for the lower level garage and thus optimizing those existing features would take away the significant cost of a new foundation. Other key design goals:

  • Maximize views and connection to the surrounding lot
  • Provide public and private vignettes to the two ponds on the front and side of the home
  • Create indoor and outdoor spaces for entertaining
  • Combine modern with rustic design aesthetics
  • Open-concept one-story living
  • Work shop and "toy" storage in the lower level
  • Large kitchen for multiple cooks with lots of storage
  • Passive solar design
  • Aging-in-place design strategies

Design Development

Using the existing foundation as a starting point, our designers worked to meld the clients' design aesthetic into something that would meet their wants and needs. Combining rustic with contemporary could be seen as an impossible task, but our designers took on the challenge to create a striking home that takes advantage of all the surrounding lot has to offer. SIPS Panels allow for contemporary sloping rooflines that are balanced by rustic natural cedar siding. This harmony of styles is continued in selections and finishes throughout the home.

  • Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) walls and roof
  • High-efficiency HVAC with Energy Recovery Ventilator
  • High performance ductwork
  • SPF pray foam wall insulation
  • PEX plumbing and low-flow fixtures
  • Large kitchen island with granite waterfall countertop feature
  • Marvin Windows and Sliding Doors
  • Varied Reveal Hardie Plank Siding mixed With Stained Tacoma Cedar Tongue and Groove Siding
  • TREX Exterior Decking
  • Rail Pro Cable Railings on exterior decks
  • Custom Live-edge Walnut Slab with concrete drop-in sink in powder room

The Results

Meadowlark designers were able to beautifully merge disparate design aesthetics together to create a new contemporary home using Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for both wall and roof structures, while re-using the existing foundation and floor framing. The new house soars up at the edges, capturing the beautiful views that encompass the home and allowing daylight to spill deeply into the living spaces. This home is built with technology in mind for now and for the future. The owners have invested in a high-quality structure with long-lasting finishes along with quality mechanical systems. In the future, the addition of a ground-mounted solar array will help the home get closer to being net-zero energy usage.

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