Door County Retreat

A weekend cottage in Door County caught fire unexpectedly and burned to the ground. Memories of the cottage will always remain, but the family decided to build anew. The clients requested a large living area, where guests could mingle, cook, dine and socialize inside and out, maintaining views of Lake Michigan. Bedrooms were designed to be private and flexible, allowing for single or multiple/family use. The house is built from native Wisconsin stone, cedar and glass. Floors are made from polished concrete and heated for comfort during the cold winter months.

The Mary Adams House

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905, The Mary Adams House has been largely overlooked by Architectural Historians, probably because the house is lacking typical “prairie school” decorative features such as art glass, wright-designed furniture and similar ornament. The house is modest in size (2200 s.f.), but has a monumental presence. These photos show the transformation of the exterior from a white and brown painted stucco house to a stained wood trim and integral color stucco exterior finish. The roof is comprised of recycled aluminum shingles placed on top of 4 inches of rigid insulation for improved energy performance. All original sash has been saved and refinished, and a new interior storm window with insulating glass will improve the energy efficiency of the house. Finally, geothermal heating and cooling will greatly reduce energy consumption while making the house quite comfortable. More to follow.

how did we do it?

Finished photos only provide a hint of the actual work involved in rehabilitating homes. In this case the two homes had been modified many times since the late 1870’s. Extra porches, exterior stairs, aluminum and vinyl siding were all removed first, before any interior work was done. The original exterior wooden siding was stripped and either repaired or replaced as needed. Then came the herculean task of lifting both houses to provide access for basement construction, as the original homes were built on wooden pilings! The resulting exterior photos give the appearance that the homes have been sitting quietly on this site for 130+ years.

the studio

the clients were very clear about the way in which the “workspace” relates to the house – a separate and distinct commute was desired, so that the work space is apart from the living space. An old neighboring coach house was incorporated into the project. The west facade was altered to provide french doors and connect with the common green space. The upper floor can be used to accommodate guests overnight. A large masonry wall was built to screen the parking garage behind the house, and all utilities were put below grade. View to the house from the studio.

The connector and childrens’ realm

The Master bedroom is provided with a door that leads across the connector to the childrens’ bedrooms. The two houses are connected by a glass link fabricated from steel and glass to contrast with the wooden structures and to minimize the appearance of the structure. There are two bedroom that share a bath in the west building. Each room is uniquely designed to provide interest and variety for the children.

The second floor – adults realm

The elliptical stair leads up to an adult sitting room, at the front of the house. The room is meant to serve as a quiet retreat, or an intimate place to sit with friends and family. Continuing up the stairs is the entry to the master suite. The bathroom is bright and gives the feeling of being outdoors by means of a large skylight. The master bedroom is small and cozy, and faces the backyard garden.