By Ann Matesi
What’s the point of living beside the shore of a breathtaking northern Michigan lake unless a home’s design takes full advantage of it? Before he began designing this 5100 square foot vacation home, architect Kevin Akey’s clients made it clear to him that they did not want to have to worry about tracking in sand from the beach.
“The clients definitely wanted to keep it simple,” says Akey, of the home’s open floor plan that offers front-to-back views of picturesque Lake Charlevoix through massive windows. As simple as it may be, the home’s interior features exceptional drama as well. The windows on the view side literally begin at the floor and rise 19 feet to the top of the coved ceiling.
“This home is meant to be used and enjoyed,” says Akey, who designed the $ 1.4million residence to be casual and comfortable. “The homeowners plan to retire here in the future and want friends and family to feel welcome and relaxed.”
The home’s exceptionally open floor plan promotes interaction between all of the entertaining areas including the great room, dining area and kitchen. From these areas everyone can enjoy virtually unrestricted views of the lake.
In addition to the secluded master suite on the main floor, the home features three children’s bedrooms on the second floor. Up several more steps are the loft and a guest/in-law suite complete with a full bath.
A two-story curved wall of windows surrounds not only the home’s dining area, but also provides the template for the loft’s curved contour. An open rail permits an unrestricted view of the lake, yet stops short of the window by several feet, giving the whole space a floating effect. “You can literally look down into the dining room below,” says Akey. The home’s contemporary design is unique for this area, which favors Victorian-style homes, according to Akey. “The client was specific about wanting a modern, low-maintenance exterior.” It took an ok from not only the neighborhood, but also from the city of Charlevoix, to approve the contemporary concept.
The home’s exterior features a combination of brick, EIFS and limestone. Two standing seam metal barrel roofs seem to connect the home’s two wings, which contain the garage and master suite, to its central living areas.
An acrylic skylight incorporated into the front entry canopy echoes the curvilinear shape of the barrel roofs, providing natural illumination.
Everyone appears to be pleased with the results. “I think it is an extremely beautiful house aesthetically,” says builder Bob Schmerheim. “I really like the combination of exterior materials.”
Completed in February 1999, the home’s hard costs were approximately $180 per square foot.