Modern Lakehouse revitalization has now been completed at Lake Clearwater in Indianapolis. This neighborhood, originally established in 1980s, has been undergoing a wave of substantial property improvements for the last several years. It has the benefits of lakefront property in a desirable area just south of Clearwater Crossing (proximity to some of the best restaurants and shopping that Indiana has to offer). This project marks our third project in the neighborhood and second Clearwater design-build effort in 4 years. We really appreciate having another opportunity to work with this particular client, who is one of our all-time faves. Sometimes a team dynamic is spot-on, and it’s easy to get excited about going above-and-beyond for people that share our enthusiasm for a creative design process and our overall efforts on their behalf. This project has affectionately been named “Esther”.
Architecture/Interior Design/Renderings/Photography: HAUS | Architecture + Client (Chris Short, Derek Mills, Paul Reynolds, Judy Laibe)
Construction Management: WERK | Building Modern (Derek Mills)
Featured: 2018 AIA Home Tour
Esther was selected to be on the AIA Home Tour on September 15-16, 2018 – we enjoyed seeing so many of our friends, colleagues, clients on the tour! Here below are some media links featuring Esther.
Design Process – Modern Lakehouse
This home had been renovated several years ago, but it was time again for something new. Our client is moving here from their downtown home (see Adagio) that we helped them design in 2010-2012, and they wanted to incorporate their favorite features from that location where appropriate. The question was how far would we be able to take the design with required approvals from the Lake Clearwater HOA.
The design concept simply looks to simplify and accentuate the existing structure with elementary expressions at entry, main living spaces, and lakeside maximizing south light and panoramic lakeside views. We eliminated some of the original design complexities (45-degree angles, busy rooflines, and interior partitions) for a streamlined solution capitalizing on the simple open-concept gable form and structure. Entry, Kitchen, Home Office, Dining Area, and Master Suite will all be completed remodeled. Highlights include a white oak ceiling, porcelain tile floor, custom cabinetry, refined trim carpentry detailing, zinc standing seam roof, all new windows, and new exterior cladding. Our initial goal was to go darker on the exterior colors, but HOA-approved exterior color palette leans lighter. We may re-open the exterior color discussion again a bit later (see if we can go dark grey). Update: Architect originally felt that a darker exterior paint scheme was the way-to-go, but Owner encouraged a lighter color for a better neighborhood fit. It looks great with the lighter color (Judy, you were right again).
In the rendering below and past the fence to the left, you see a hint of the large south-facing window wall popping-up above the roofline. We simply wanted to grab some natural light into the main living space. This move became one of the main features inside and out.
This project was a fun opportunity to fit-in but add a respectful level of refinement and simplicity to this 1980s development. The HOA is made-up of open-minded individuals who were okay stepping-out of the box a little-bit. Some previous projects had integrated standing-seam roofs in accent-entry areas only. They entertained the idea of a zinc-clad standing-seam roof for this project pending samples and exterior paint finish review.
We proposed horizontal siding in keeping with the norm. However, instead of rough-grain cedar lap, we utlized a smooth-face shiplap for a flush wall installation, but with reveal joints between laps.
The entry concept below cleans-up the original inarticulate, busy, non-descript entry with the most simple extension of the existing roof structure. New front doors/windows face the street and include clear glazing to see directly-in, with foyer gallery wall providing visual privacy into the actual living spaces. The new garden privacy gate continues material and detail complimenting the new glass and aluminum overhead door.
The interior also is a simple expression of pre-existing roof structure, highlighting the views with completely new glazing. Pre-existing fireplace location was maintained and re-detailed in-place. We have designed an integrated lighting system to highlight the architectural features, artwork, task, to achieve an overall controlled, layered ambience.
This is one of our favorite vantage-points in the space. the south-facing window-wall/dormer is a major feature that visually and literally anchors the kitchen. This idea and relationship is finished-off with window, back counter/cabinet, and appliances all finished in black. Then the 13-foot long island floats in a lighter tone integrating with the wood ceiling and adjacent white cabinets and flooring. the slatwall to the upper left (photo below) is a creative way to hide the return-air grill for the HVAC. Later during the construction process, we refined the stair guardrails to follow the same slatwall detail for continuity and simplification. At this time, we were considering linear pin-lights hanging over the kitchen island. Later with client research and input, we changed to simple 2″ can-lights over the island, and added a glass chandelier over the dining table to the far-right. It had to be one or the other, because if we did pendant lights in each location, it could have gotten to cluttered visually. Good call by Judy once again.
Our client has great taste, so we get to benefit from that with her overall orchestration of interior fixtures and furnishings, including the large custom art-piece indicated on the wall to the far left (photo below). As you can see, we have thought-through most of the interior design elements before construction has begun. More decisions up-front usually reduce stress-level and improve overall chances at project success.
From the lakeside, we looked at what impactful changes we could make within budget. The scope of this project focused primarily on the main level, with only minor cosmetic touches on the lower level. You can see below how the new glazing and lighted space presents from the lake. Master Bedroom to the left was originally to include glass transom and vaulted wood ceilings (concept), but we later downplayed that area during the budgeting process. Design concepts can work a number of ways at various budgets, and your Architect is the go-to resource to make the right value-engineering decisions (which happen on all projects). In the case of this project, the Architect was also the Construction Manager (via WERK | Building Modern), which streamlines the process even more.
Lakeside View from Dock (Rendering) – Modern Lakehouse – Clearwater
Construction Begins – Modern Lakehouse
We love breaking it open and getting to work. This photo below shows the framing stage after it has been cleaned-out and reframed. All window openings are blocked-in for the winter process as we await window order delivery. On the west-wall to the right, we added steel structure where needed to support the wind-loads and wall spans. We also modified existing trusses with structural engineer design-assistance. It’s really important to get a structural engineer involved on a gut renovation when opening-up walls and the like, as these changes could affect the structural stability of the structure. To the far left we can begin to see how the new south-facing dormer scales in the space.
Here is a good shot of the new window wall/dormer (view looking east toward from of house). Entry is through the framed kitchen wall, with this wall providing privacy from new front entry to main living space.
The construction of the project started in late fall-early winter 2016. It looks like it was snowing this day (view from dock below).
Later in early 2017, windows arrived and we got to live the open views to lake and let sunlight help warm the space. From a scale standpoint, it feels just like the rendering from earlier, but things always end-up looking better in real life.
We love this window wall and think it’s going to be money.
Here’s a lakeside view when window installations were underway. We worked with Franklin Window & Door on the acquistion and installation of Marvin Ultimate Series windows for this project. Having worked on a few properties at Clearwater, we know how lakeside winds and moisture can affect windows, doors, and siding. This is why we pay strict attention to the design and installation of these walls especially. An excellent window/door product that manages/weeps water is important, as is the proper installation of flashings and inclusion of sill pans. For this project, we also integrated a drainage plane (rainscreen) behind the siding that weeps water out of the wall cavity.
We had the opportunity to totally redo the glass wall while maintaining the existing stone chimney, many pre-existing rooflines, and deck structure. We were able to achieve some modifications to the existing deck stair, but had to maintain the existing 45-degree angles on the deck to respect and not block views from adjacent properties to the lake. We utilized a new prefabricated cable-rail system for the deck railings.
Derek Mills (HAUS + WERK) worked as the project architect and also the construction manager for this project beginning-to-end. Here in the photo below, Derek is meeting with lumber supplier exploring options for the white oak ceilings that we planned to use. This lumber supplier also was helpful in brainstorming our options for the shiplap siding, which was milled to our specifications.
White oak is a great, timless, beautiful material. Here, the ceiling material had been milled and ready for delivery to the jobsite. For this project, we were also able to utilize extra materials for the mirror accent wall in the Powder Room (see finish photos).
On HAUS projects, we take pride in the overall vision, but also the details. A complete vision cannot be realized without the details that compliment the vision. When the Architect is able to also function as the Construction Manager, better communication all-around enables and streamlines the successful detailing and implementation of details like the image below. The proportions of materials (how thick or thin), how materials intersect or abutt (how refined) … every design decision needs to be made by someone. Up-front, we define what is important to our client. For this project, a level of design sophistication and construction follow-through was important.
It was really exciting to see the white oak ceiling and the kitchen cabinetry going-in. We really enjoy leading projects from idea to implementation, especially with clients who are fun to work with.
Here below is the Poplar slatwall guardrailing system. We had changed the original cable-rail idea to slatwall to compliment the hidden HVAC return-air grill noted in the renderings above. The trim carpentry work on this project is impeccable; we have worked with this trade contractor for years, including on this client’s prevous project. We aren’t going to mention his name, because we need him available to work on our projects, :).
Our client sent us this image on Easter Day, 2018.
Please check back on this project, as we are planning to share more about the design process when we have a chance. We are also going to supplement the finish photography with sunny interiors when the time is right.