The owner - a fabric artist - and her family, had often dreamed about living in the dunes near Lake Michigan. She had spent the summers north of Ludington at her family’s home and wanted to share the passion she had developed for art and the environment with her husband and two children. Many weekends were spent visiting the dunes formation four hundred feet from the lake and approximately forty feet above the access road. However, the 2.41 acre west facing dune only offered an approximately (1,200) twelve hundred square foot (30’ x 40’), MDEQ approved buildable footprint area that had a slope less than 1 foot vertical in 3 feet horizontal.
The solution to this site was a park and walk approach to the home, creating a “Swiss Family Robinson-esque” character to the residence, with a three-level 809 square foot footprint connected by a curving stair on the lake side and a two level screen porch on concrete piers further ascending the dune. Environmental sustainability and energy efficiency were paramount, with natural lake breezes under the forest canopy along with a closed loop geothermal heating system conditioning the spaces. Low maintenance cement board and sustainable timber surround a concrete and steel interior. FSC wood, urea-formaldehyde free medium density fiberboard and recycled timber from an 1850 blacksmith shop was repurposed in cantilevered wood stairs. These, along with many other sustainable elements culminated to successfully achieve a LEED for Homes Platinum rating by the U.S. Green Building Council.