Modernist Woodland Retreat

Harbert, MI


The Ask

Concepts for this modernist retreat were already evolving as the architect/owner purchased two wooded acres on a sculpted dune off the lake. His inspired design paired two structures skewed on-site, pivoting expansive glass into stunning views. Thoughtful design empowered interaction between voluminous interior space, organic materials and curated modern furnishings. Chipman Design Architecture was brought in to bring this vision to life.

The Task

The home was located on a challenging site so the CDA team first needed to address the dune’s significant slope from the road entrance back toward the woodlands, without disturbing the stately 100-year oaks punctuated by smooth, leaning beech trees. Seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor space would be paramount as was careful specification of glass systems, determined to create the largest spans of continuous glass possible while withstanding seasons that included often-brutal winters.  

The main-level plan sought compelling open interior space; simultaneously, that openness would also need to imbue a sense of calm and contemplative well-being in a woodland theatre of deer, fox and wild turkey. Hand-sketched spatial studies during early concept stages addressed serious structural challenges to accommodate not only a home sited on top of the dune, but design of a central shear-wall for lateral stabilization.  

Overall, the team brought inspiring, open community space to coexist with the main-floor personal living, seeking materials and finishes that were pure, honest and organic.

Living room with sofa and a view into a forest
Staircase symmetric with a window in the roof
Hallway with a washer/dryer ending in a door
Classic car in front of a garage
Table and chair set under a staircase
Exterior of the woodland retreat
Open-area space enclosed completely in glass
Dining room and kitchen with modern chandelier
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