This unique project is located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. The 18-acre parcel with 350’ of Lake Michigan frontage sat on the market, as it was considered by most to be “unbuildable". The homeowner saw this as a challenge and purchased the property which began a year process of identifying and obtaining government approvals, ultimately delineating what was critically protected Lake Michigan dunes, forest, and buildable areas.
The building site they chose presented its own unique challenges. It was 350 feet of frontage on the lake, but a razorback dune 60 feet above Lake Michigan on one side and dropped off another 50 feet on the other side, leaving a sliver of flat land 20 feet deep by 350 feet long on which to build the house.
The next challenge was how to access the building site, as a road or typical driveway was not permitted over the critical dune. The solution was a 6-foot wide quarter mile-long elevated boardwalk, which needed to be constructed before the work on the house could begin. All building materials and personnel were required to traverse this boardwalk to get to the site, creating an enormous logistical challenge.
The plan was conceived as a 20’x 60’ main house with two 20’x 20’ guest pods creating a small compound of buildings, all connected by decking which created outdoor living spaces. The overall goal was for the finished project to appear as if it had been there for years, as if it had landed there without disturbing the site. An inventory of native plants was taken prior to site disruption in order for new plantings to be appropriate to the original site.