West Lake Residence
Location: Portage, MI
New construction: 6,400 SF
The goal of this project was to replace a small single-story seasonal family cottage with a year-round home that takes advantage of the views and topography of this lakefront site while providing privacy for the occupants. The program called for a large open living area, a master suite, study, a small home gym and five additional bedrooms. The style was to be distinctly contemporary.
The house is shielded from the street by the placement of the garage and by limiting the amount of window area facing the road. The main entry is recessed and glazed with frosted glass for privacy. Due to the narrowness of the site and the proximity of the neighboring houses, the windows on the sides of the house were also limited and mostly high up on the walls. The limited fenestration on the front and sides is made up for by the full wall of glass on the lake side, facing north. The house is anchored by an exposed masonry foundation. This masonry also cuts through the center of the house on the fireplace chimney to separate the public and private spaces on the first floor, becoming a primary material on the interior. The house is clad with three different siding material: horizontal longboard siding, vertical ribbed steel siding and cement board panels installed as a rain screen. The standing seam metal-clad roof rises from a low point at the street elevation to a height of 24 feet at the lakefront to capture the views and the north light.
The house is organized into two levels and is entered on the upper level. This level contains the main living spaces, the master suite and the study. The angled stair railing guides visitors into the main living area. The kitchen, dining area and living area are each distinct areas within one large space. This space is visually connected to the outside by the soaring ceilings and large fireplace mass that penetrate the exterior wall. The lower level contains the children’s and guest bedrooms, a secondary living space and the home gym.