Northern Michigan Home & Cottage: Environmental Flourish

Glass wraps the open living and dining space on three sides, and a high, bayside peak allows daylight to suffuse the airy space. Kendra designed the interior with quiet simplicity to direct attention toward the views. White paint covers the sparse wall surfaces, subtly accented by floors of taupe-colored, smoked white oak, and offset by sleek, trimless windows. A natural fireplace is trimmed in stainless steel over a poured-concrete hearth. At the opposite end of the house, the island kitchen balances the look with the same stainless-steel accents, but is warmed by an alder “canopy” that lowers the ceiling and subtly separates the cork-floored space.

Interior materials relate to the exterior, establishing an indoors-out connection. Kendra clad the structure with surfaces that would look appropriate in the woodsy setting. The geometric masses of the house reflect the contours of the site’s topography and have a textural rhythm arising from a careful arrangement of natural cedar siding, concrete, stainless steel and Cor-Ten steel shingles. Cor-Ten, a brand of weathering steel, is an alloy engineered to oxidize quickly, eliminating the need for paint or weatherproofing. It develops a protective, rustlike patina after just a few months of exposure.

The Cor-Ten shingles also appear inside the greenhouse, where the protection of the glass slows the weathering process and allows the steel to evolve like an organic piece of art—rather like the tomatoes gradually blushing under a cold Northern sky. Within the right environment, everything flourishes.

Diane Kolak is a freelance designer and writer from Lake Ann, [email protected]

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