Grand Rapids, Michigan
With a desire to stay close to friends and family, the owners of this 1984 home spent several years searching for property near their neighborhood to build a new, more modern, energy-conscious home tailored to their empty-nest lifestyle. They eventually concluded that their current site was the perfect location for them, but the home needed to be updated and reorganized to create fresh, open, unified spaces to comfortably welcome gatherings of family, friends, and guests.
Before renovation, the floor plan included small rooms, dedicated hallways, a step-down living room, a heavy and dark corner fireplace, and limited opportunities for natural light and visual connections from space to space. Exterior deck areas were narrow, long, and used infrequently.
Primary goals of this project included accessibility of space, more natural light, better connectivity between spaces, and a focus on sustainable performance. The updated main floor plan included the selective removal of walls to reallocate dedicated hall space to usable, open living area. The step-down living room was leveled for full accessibility, safety, furniture flexibility and overall space use. The removal of a half-height wall between the living area and the kitchen created continuity between the spaces. Reorganizing the primary entry and stair and eliminating walls between the entry and dining room created new visual connections between the kitchen and the entry. The new central concrete hearth and fireplace provides a strong, modern focal point for the living area. Large sliding glass doors on each side of the fireplace allow the TV area beyond to be separated from the living area as needed.
In several strategic locations, the footprint of the house was expanded to enhance function and flow at the kitchen, dining room, and mudroom. The new outdoor deck area is now large and singular and includes a grille area, dining space and open seating overlooking the newly landscaped pool below.
The exterior envelope of the house includes new insulation, siding, and energy-efficient windows, as well as two large roof-mounted solar arrays, to increase thermal performance and to offset energy costs. Inside, the new HVAC system maximizes energy efficiency while using a fraction of its former footprint. As a result, a portion of the former mechanical space was added back to the lower level family room area and expands into a cozy library nook.
MMA partnered with the owner’s interior designer and kitchen designer to achieve a softer, contemporary palette of finishes that complement this newly configured, light-filled home.
Architect of Record: Mathison | Mathison Architects
Builder: Bespoke Homes
Photographer: Jason Keen