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  • Project name

    Shingle Style Cottage on Lake Michigan
  • Project Type

  • Location

    West Olive, MI (map)
  • Completed

    Summer '10
  • Constructor

    BDR Custom Homes
  • Delivery Method

    pre-selected general contractor

Shingle Style Cottage on Lake Michigan

An Adaptable and Flexible Cottage

Rich and Sarah dreamed of a coastal cottage rendered in shingle vernacular that would offer a comfortable retreat for large gatherings of extended family but would also feel cozy and intimate when the cottage was left for the couple to enjoy a quiet weekend alone.

AMDG integrated shingle style elements to provide Rich and Sarah a home that created a relaxed and informal style of living both when alone and with guests.  Spaces throughout the home naturally flow from room to room allowing large groups to comfortably mix and mingle.  This expression of flow is interpreted on the exterior material of the house with the uninterrupted use of shingle siding.  

Subtle architectural details gently break up the continuous spaces to offer alluring places of relief.  The sizeable scale of the cottage is also eased by vertical elements such as a raised hearth and bench height seating.  The interior architecture is punctuated with more intimate alcoves to sit, read, pause and enjoy the company of a few guests.  Bookcases double as bench seats and provide additional seating without crowding the cottage with furniture.

An Earlier Cottage

For Rich, this cottage dream was one he hoped would evoke early childhood memories spent on the small island of Chappy off Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Details from Chappy Cottage that Rich loved centered on the wistful mood and beauty of coastal living, a fireplace for warming after a day in the water or window seats for views of the setting sun.  AMDG included special moments like these in the interior architecture of Rich and Sarah’s home.  Living spaces were organized to maximize views of Lake Michigan, particularly in the main living space, which flows directly to an exterior deck overlooking the lawn and lake.  A gracious main level screened porch just off of the eating area and an upper level exterior balcony both celebrate winsome lake views and cool subtle breezes.

A Personalized Cottage

Like Rich, Sarah wanted their lakeside cottage to be characterized by special details that evoke a memory.  Sarah imagined whimsical features adding individual personality to each space in their home.

As AMDG focused energy to learn more about Rich, Sarah and their family, ideas for unique custom details to give their cottage a playful personality were formed.  For instance, Sarah is a great cook and loves to bake.  She wanted a kitchen that would allow her to prepare food and still be able to socialize with guests.  In response, AMDG designed a true working kitchen at the heart of the cottage with openness to the main living spaces.  This allows Sarah to entertain while preparing a meal.  Sarah’s baking and the aroma of coffee percolating in the morning permeates throughout the house drawing late sleepers to the kitchen for breakfast.  As for Rich and Sarah’s sons, one an avid reader and the other a collector of antiques, AMDG carved out special places for them as well.  For reading, AMDG designed a nook to study, and for antique collections a display niche in an upper bedroom.

Solutions to Challenges

The cottage is located on a long and narrow site that presented AMDG a challenge to orient Rich and Sarah’s home in a way that would keep it from feeling pinched.  To exhibit a gracious welcoming feel for visitors with confined parameters, AMDG responded by placing focus on the entry experience thereby creating a casual relaxed approach to the cottage that unfolds into a spacious living environment.  A curved drive and angled façade highlight the main entry to the house while tucking away and diffusing the experience of the garage.

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