All Publications 2017 – Great Lakes By Design V1 I4

Modern Beach House
Grand Haven, MI

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Credit: Great Lakes By Design and R. J. Weick

     In uniting the two often quite distinctive architectural and design styles into a cohesive, bold statement for the private single-family house on Lake Michigan, Sears Architects – in collaboration with Cannarsa Structure and Design, and Zahn Builders – subtly infused warmth, texture, and character into the more modern-inspired residence. The smooth, stucco exterior features simple detailing, such as intentional horizontal lines running the length of the structure and recessed details on each gable end, and is complemented by the black, grille-patterned Pella windows and metal accent roof.

     “It is the colors and the materials providing a little more of a contemporary feel. If the windows were white and it had gray, horizontal clapboard siding on it, it would be a completely different house,” said Sears.

     When approaching the layout of the home itself, Sears said the architectural firm works with homeowners to identify programmatic requirements, such as client needs and desires, and site information to deliver well-crafted and positioned spaces. While some of the criteria tend to be more pragmatic, such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, zoning restrictions, and natural topography, other are more emotional in nature and not easily defined, according to Sears.

     “With this house in particular, we wanted to have a center entrance where you could see through the house and have a framed view of the water beyond, but we didn’t want it to be a house where you walk in and all of a sudden there is a wall of huge windows,” said Sears. “We wanted to pull you through the house.”

     To accomplish this, Sears noted most of the spaces are situated to radiate off of the main entrance hall, which pulls the viewer into the large, 18-foot-tall formal living room. The centrally-located living room branches off into a more intimate-sized family room beyond the fireplace, a formal dining room and wet bar, kitchen area and nook, kids playroom, and office space on the main level.