All Publications 2018 – Great Lakes by Design V2 I2

Waterfront Respite
Northern Michigan

Credit: Great Lakes By Design    

       For this particular waterfront cottage, inspired by the classic vernacular inherent to northern Michigan, a bridge – both literal and figurative – served foundational to its design and build narrative. What began as a partial demolition and remodel, quickly transitioned into a demolition and extensive rebuild on a piece of waterfront property nestled in protected dunes and bordered by a creek with easement access by a three-foot-wide bridge.

       The creative challenge not only asked the collaborative architectural, design, and construction team to find a solution for physically transporting demolition and construction materials across a protected bridge, but also weave elements of an existing foundation into a completely new five bedroom, five-and-a-half-bathroom vacation home. It was a task Sears Architects, the Cottage Company of Harbor Springs, and Cottage Company Interiors took in stride as the combined team led the project for the homeowners who envisioned a retreat for their family and friends.

       From an architectural standpoint, using the existing foundation of the original one-story house was one of the biggest challenges, according to Rob Sears, founder and principal at Sears Architects.

       From the exterior, the classic vernacular shines with subtle architectural detailing from its cedar shake shingles with a five-inch exposure and a sweeping curve on the façade with a piece of crown molding running its length. Tuscan-inspired columns, an upper trellis, abundant windows, large porches, white trim, and stonework on the chimney complete the waterfront cottage.

       “We look at the overall composition of the details working together so what I’d like to think is when someone looks at this cottage – or any Sears Architects design –  they say ‘the entire presentation looks great,’” Sears said. “No one is necessarily going to single out the swoop on the shingles, or the proportions on the head casing, or the rafter tails: they look at the whole composition saying ‘it works, it feels good, it feels right.’ We take the same great care in designing the floorplans as well so that it functions exactly as our clients want it to.”