Free Soil, Michigan
Hidden in the dense woods, the original self-built cabin was sited on a tranquil plain cut into a dramatic hillside. The shade of the forest expands to long westward openness of Hamlin Lake. The desire to preserve all of the original framing of the cabin became an exercise to recondition the dwelling to capture even more of the site’s natural richness.
All openings in the home were reconsidered to provide both specific and atmospheric exposure to outdoors. Walls were surgically removed to maintain structural integrity and invite natural light deeply, and playfully, into the interior. Willing to reconsider conventional standards for patterns of daily living, the Owners welcomed new ideas about use and adjacency. A small kitchen that can morph for singular or social function, and a sleeping area that doubles as a conversation perch--these spaces respond to the pattern of day, in all seasons, as they blur a notion of part and whole.
The development of exterior space was a logical extension of the renovation’s thesis: observe the existing boundary and economically redefine it by ennobling what lies beyond it. A covered outdoor living room with a grand fireplace, a lake-facing deck, and an outdoor shower off of the master bedroom, all invite the inhabitants to enjoy, outwards.
Architect of Record: Mathison | Mathison Architects
Builder: Inspired Home Builders
Photographer: Bill Lindhout Photography