A couple with grown children commissioned the firm to design a lake house for their extended family and friends. "Many families in Michigan share a tradition of spending weekends and vacations in cottages adjacent to the state’s collection of lakes," Jeff Jordan Architects, a New Jersey-based firm.
"[Our clients] requested a large gathering area for cooking, eating and relaxing, and space to sleep 20 adults."
Two long, narrow volumes form the home, which is punctuated by a pair of courtyards that face north and south respectively. A deck runs along the south facade, and extends towards the waterfront on the narrow side of the property.
"Given the relatively large size of the cottage compared to the neighbouring houses, the central challenge of this project is fitting a large building onto a narrow site without overwhelming the neighbours, but still taking advantage of the views," said the architects.
The home's upper level, through which the property is accessed, contains a bedroom at either end. These are separated by the open-plan kitchen, living and dining room, as well as an enclosed study that overlooks the north courtyard.
Two flights of stairs lead to the lower level. Here, the architects included a secondary living room for watching television or playing pool, as well as several bedrooms laid out along a corridor.
"The living quarters and master suite are located above grade while the remaining bedrooms are partially buried to further diminish the apparent size of the house," the studio said.
Social spaces feature ample glazing, including floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room, facing the water. "Additional glazing along the south side of the house takes advantage of passive heating in the winter," the firm added.
The exterior is clad in horizontal boards that complement the low-slung massing. Inside, the slanted wooden roof is illuminated by clerestory windows that face north.
Many of Jeff Jordan's projects are located in his firm's home state of New Jersey. These include a cedar-clad home that overlooks the Jersey Shore, and a 19th-century row house overhauled to bring in more light.