Minimalist Modern House is located in Indian Head Park, a suburb southwest of Chicago. Specifically, this project on Hiawatha Lane is in an area experiencing redevelopment of preexisting home-sites.
We initially met our client in 2013 where we helped design a master plan to renovate their property in Monon, IN on Lake Schafer. Ultimately, they decided to focus on their full-time residence in Chicago rather than their weekend property. Indeed, to begin that process, they initially engaged with a local Chicago design firm recommended by their original contractor.
Months later, client reconnected with HAUS to request design feedback and possible project oversight to completion. We were happy to help offer some big-picture suggestions inside-and-out to help pull the initial ideas together into a comprehensive design solution. Albeit, our client needed final design input for their purposes and also for community approvals.
Once engaged, we were able to clarify an identifiable architectural concept from preliminary development provided by Joe Trojanowski Architect PC. HAUS and Trojanowski worked together as a team with client to pull the final concepts and details together.
Accordingly, residential construction plans in Chicago area require an architect or engineer of record (or stamp). For this reason, it made most sense for Trojanowski to remain Architect-of-Record and finish what they started with HAUS oversight as “design architect”.
Albeit, Trojanowski had already begun a very detailed technical draft of plans. However, these drawings were more geared toward achieving permits and less geared toward a complete architectural vision. So for that reason, HAUS focused on conceptual ideas, materials, and related details resolution inside and out. Concurrently, Trojanowski focused on permit requirements, technical drawings, and structural coordination.
Rendering views completed above and below by HAUS included suggestions for exterior materials, exterior window adjustments, some subtle refinements to parapet heights, and wall locations. Ironically, this design process was similar to many of our renovation projects. This is because we already had a preexisting design that needed some review. So, as with many of our renovation projects, our primary objective was to essentially simplify and edit. We worked to clarify relationships and connections inside and out to help inspire decisions for material and form within the preexisting massing and layout concepts already established.
On the inside, we made a few suggestions and refinements to master suite and other room layout details. Later, we reviewed client shop drawings and provided feedback on proposed interior concepts for kitchen, fireplace, stair, and built-ins for client review.
The contractor with client also had some great suggestions on how to execute some of the details along the way.
Client did not commission HAUS for regular construction-phase consulting. However, we did keep in-touch with an ongoing design dialogue and some limited design consulting along the way.
As HAUS is located in Indianapolis, and the project is 3.5 hour one-way drive, HAUS visited the site semi-yearly. Without a doubt, we were happy to swing by the site on Easter and Thanksgiving while passing through for holiday family visits in the area to see progress. Also, it was great to continue the design dialogue during the construction phase.
Our client insisted the home be durable, long-lasting, and energy-efficient. For this reason, he built the structure with concrete foundation walls, steel beams, and CMU (concrete masonry unit) walls. Most certainly, the home would have cost less with wood or maybe even SIPS (structural insulated panel system) walls. However, our client wanted more heft, durability, and sound isolation.
As seen below, radiant heated floors encompass the entire lower level. Here, trades have installed the hydronic radiant system prior to concrete slab placement.
As we can see, all exterior walls are CMU (concrete masonry unit) construction, at Owner request. At this stage, Owner was still investigating exterior cladding options. As our initial concepts assumed a rainscreen, non-masonry cladding, exterior details did not include any masonry bearing ledges. For these reasons, we assumed a low area of concrete footings would remain exposed, and emphasized this feature accordingly. For example, referring to the back rendering elevations, we continued the exposed concrete base to wrap one side of deck and provide base for the outdoor fireplace. In comparing renderings to actual construction, team achieved portions of the original intent, while some details were added or tweaked.
This photo below is one of our favorite construction views, capturing the overall massing of the house on the property. It gives us a feel for final solid and void of exterior wall design.
On the backside, the sheltering porch is taking shape. At upstairs balcony, we had suggested elimination of the wall offset for a simpler flush upper story condition. However, this was not modified, as we would have had to add another steel beam to support the CMU. Actual installation keeps the upper and lower story CMU bearing wall alignments as shown. Flat roof awning is included to keep some precipitation off the Nanawall balcony doors.
From the interior, many of the windows are full-height. Other than sliding glass walls (Nanawall), all exterior windows are Fleetwood Windows & Doors. Many of the operable windows are awnings. Their size allows for emergency egress from bedrooms. This particular view below is from Study-Playroom.
High-Velocity HVAC Sytem
As seen here, a high-velocity HVAC system is incorporated to supplement the hydronic radiant system downstairs. This system requires smaller openings and shafts for air movement, and lower profile outlets and inlets throughout the spaces. Most of the supply ducts are flexible plastic-wire wrapped in fiberglass and foil coating. The design and installation of this type of system when combined with hydronic radiant requires a level of expertise beyond the norm to ensure optimal performance and control appropriate for the locale.
Owner added 2×4 wood-stud furring to all perimeter walls with open-cell foam insulation. Roof structure received minimum R24 closed-cell board insulation over deck and under roof membrane. Underside of roof deck received minimum R30 open cell foam. Below we can see installation of NanaWall sliding doors with access to Master Bedroom roof balcony to overlooking backyard.
Owner maintained the two-tone exterior, but decided to change from cement board or metal cladding to masonry on both the light and darker sections. At the time of this photo, Owner had not yet made a final decision on the lighter material (2-story volume). Also, the outdoor fireplace base was built with CMU base instead of concrete per original renderings. Brick appears to possibly be Queen-sized for less depth than modular. Since we had originally designed for siding/rainscreen, we discussed adding steel lintels anchored to CMU to serve as masonry bearing since we did not include foundation brick ledges.
Modern Lakehouse revitalization at Lake Clearwater in Indianapolis is now complete! This neighborhood, originally established in 1980s, has been undergoing a wave of substantial property improvements for the last several years. Certainly, it benefits from lakefront property in an area with some of the best restaurants and shopping in Indiana.
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. Fittingly, our client started the process by affectionately naming the project, “Esther”.
Previous owners had renovated the property several years ago, but it was time again for something fitting for “Esther”. So as one would expect, “Esther” wanted to include favorite features from Adagio that we helped design in 2010-2012. The question was how far would we be able to take the design with required approvals from the HOA.
The design concept simplifies and highlights the existing structure with elementary expressions at entry, main living spaces, and lakeside maximizing south light and panoramic lakeside views. Also, we eliminated some of the original design complexities for a streamlined solution capitalizing on the simple open-concept gable form and structure. Entry, Kitchen, Home Office, Dining Area, and Master Suite are all completely remodeled.
Highlights include a white oak ceiling, porcelain tile floor, custom cabinetry, refined trim carpentry, 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, you can 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 level of refinement 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 lap siding in keeping with the norm. However, instead of rough cedar lap, a smooth flush shiplap with reveal joints achieved the look.
The entry concept below cleans-up the original inarticulate, busy, nondescript 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.
As with exterior, interior is a simple expression of pre-existing roof structure, and highlights views with completely new glazing. In the interests of budget and preserving the view, we were able to maintain but reclad the original fireplace. Also, we have an integrated lighting system highlighting the architectural features to achieve an overall controlled, layered ambiance.
This image below is one of our favorite vantage-points in the space, as it highlights the south-facing window-wall anchoring kitchen. We finished-off the concept by finishing window, back counter/cabinet, and appliances in black. Then the 13-foot long island floats forward in a lighter tone, integrating with wood ceiling, 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. Instead, we shifted to simple 2″ can-lights over the island, and added a glass chandelier at dining table. It had to be either-or, because pendant lights in each location could have gotten cluttered visually. Good call by Judy once again.
Our client has great taste, so we get to benefit from her overall orchestration of interior fixtures and furnishings. The large custom art-piece indicated on the wall to the far left was taken from previous residence (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. Bedroom to the left originally included glass transom and vaulted ceilings, but these enhancements were simplified during budgeting process.
Design concepts can work at various budgets, and your Architect is the go-to resource to advise on value-engineering decisions. 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 Process – Modern Lakehouse
Please check-back, as we will add some before shots showing where we began with this property.
Demolition and Structural
We love breaking it open and getting to work. This photo below shows the framing stage after framers cleaned-out the space and blocked-in openings for winter until receiving windows. On the west-wall to the right, we added steel structure where needed to support the wind-loads and wall spans. Furthermore, we modified existing trusses with structural engineer design-assistance.
It’s really important to get a structural engineer involved when opening-up walls and ceilings. The reason is, some of these elements could be important for the stability of the structure. To the far left we can begin to see how the new south-facing dormer scales in the space.
Here below is a good shot of the new window wall/dormer (looking SSE toward direction of main entry). 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).
Windows arrived and we got to live the open views to lake and let sunlight help warm the space. From a scale standpoint, the interior feels as expected, but 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 acquisition and installation of Marvin Ultimate Series windows for this project. Having worked on a few properties, 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 glazing product that manages water is important, as is the proper installation of flashings and sill pans. For this project, we also integrated a drainage plane (rainscreen) behind the siding that weeps water out of wall cavity.
We designed and installed all new windows on lakeside while maintaining stone chimney, rooflines, and deck structure. Furthermore, we were able to achieve some minor enhancements to the decks, but had to maintain the existing 45-degree angles to maintain views from adjacent properties. Happily, we were able to install prefabricated cable-rail systems to replace the outdated wood guards.
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 to discuss options for wood ceiling material. This lumber supplier also was helpful in brainstorming our options for the shiplap siding and then milling to our specifications. Yes, Derek Mills was overseeing the milling process. However, Derek was not doing any actual milling.
White oak is a great, timeless, beautiful material. Here below, the ceiling material is stacked on-site after milling and delivery. We were also able to utilize extra materials for the mirror accent wall in the Powder Room (see finish photos).
We take pride in overall vision, but also details, because they cannot exist independently for best outcomes. Architect as Construction Manager enables better communication, streamlining the successful detailing and implementation of details like the image below. The proportions of materials, how materials intersect or abut … the design team needs to decide on every detail. 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 because we had tested so many design options. We really enjoy leading projects from idea to implementation, especially with clients who are fun to work with. Seeing ideas progress into built-form successfully is icing on the cake, really.
Here below is the Poplar slatwall guardrailing system that we changed to compliment the hidden HVAC return-air grill detail. The trim carpentry work on this project is impeccable, as we have worked with this trade contractor for years on high-level projects. We can’t mention their name, because we need their availability on our projects, :).
Our client sent us this image on Easter Day, 2018.
Please check back on this project, as we’ll be adding more about the design process.
We are happy to report that Midcentury Modern Renovation, buried in the woods adjacent to Williams Creek and Meridian Hills, is now complete! As a result, we would like to thank an excellent team that that helped make the vision a successful reality. Above all, thanks to our MCM-fanatic clients for another chance to work together, this time to help create the dream-home they have sought-out for years.
Architecture: HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles (Chris Short + Derek Mills)
Interior Architecture: HAUS with Design Studio Vriesman (Tom Vriesman)
Construction: Wrightworks (Christopher Wright)
Landscape Architecture: A2 Design (Eric Anderson)
Published: 2018 Dezeen Magazine
Honored: 2019 AIA Indiana – Merit Award for Architecture (Preservation/Adaptive Reuse/Renovation)
Process – Design Process
We will be uploading more “before” photos in the near future, so please check-back for updates.
The questions with many residential renovation projects is, “how far do we want to take this?” “Will it be like a new home?” “Is it easier and less expensive to just build new?” “Or is it better to rebuild to our specifications in this desirable location?”. We discussed all of these questions and more during the design stage. Ultimately, our client had committed to purchasing the property prior to engaging with the design team. So when we engaged the design phase, we reviewed big-picture design options focused around client’s thoughtful list of prioritized goals. And by all means, we didn’t hold back too much in the brainstorming phase. However, we kept the best ideas addressing priorities and budget while down-scaling some of the negotiables.
Here below is the project site plan. Please check back, as we will plan to share more of the design process, including a few big ideas and concepts.
Construction Progress – Midcentury Modern Renovation
Demo + New Framing
Construction kicked-off in summer 2016 and subsequently, the project achieved substantial completion by mid-2017.
This Bill Wright original design stood as a time-capsule from the 1960s, until now experiencing only minor alterations from the original build that originated in 1959. Prior to our involvement, most of the original finishes and materials remained untouched, if showing the wear of the prior five decades. While existing cork floors, custom wood built-ins, galley kitchen, and floor-to ceiling windows remained in fair condition, original Redwood siding was compromised with insects and woodpeckers. Furthermore, the surrounding landscape was overgrown and encroaching on the house, and previous owners had sold-off portions of what was originally a larger plot.
As with many homes from prior decades and even this Midcentury gem, we decided to open the space more to maximize views, light, and family engagement. To that end, our solution included the incorporation of new steel structure concealed inside the pre-existing roof structure. Equally important, the LVL supporting the steel beam in the window-wall beyond enables maximum glazing and natural light for the open-concept kitchen. Without a doubt, opening the kitchen to the main living space will be a major enhancement.
Screened Porch Addition
As with many older buildings, the roof and structure needed some attention. But first, we needed to extend and cantilever the original roof structure to shelter the new screened porch. To that end, we were able to achieve the extension with 2×10 joists matching original structure, cantilevering them over new steel beams/columns, designed to be exposed. Exposed steel was a pre-existing motif from the original house at main entrance, so as seen below, we continue that modern motif in the screened porch extension.
In this south view of the porch extension below, we can see an increase in the “flat” roof-edge thickness. This additional thickness is for the purpose of supporting a complete re-roof, enabling repairs to deck, allowing for proper roof-slope to drains, and adding a minimum R-24 insulation above the roof deck (check local Codes and weather zone). With proper design, roofs don’t require ventilation, which can be more efficient than ventilated roofs. To that end, we have found that many in the construction industry don’t understand the basic building science behind non-ventilated roofs, particularly as it relates to moisture management. So if you are investing in residential or commercial renovation or new construction, please be sure you are working with qualified professionals.
Accordingly, the site or location is often the primary reason to purchase a property. Undeniably in this case, both site and house were inspirations, as this property affords beauty, privacy, and enough natural light in and around the Midcentury dwelling.
The construction team removed all interior finishes down to slab and studs. Likewise, they saw-cut and patched concrete slabs for plumbing and modified roof structure to achieve open-concept and achieve more interior natural light. Also, we infilled the original main entry porch to create the “Everything Room” and a conditioned entry between Garage, Mudroom, and house. In contrast, the team elected to maintain the existing masonry fireplace and chimney, with only upgrades to the floating cast-in-place hearth slab.
This Midcentury closet detail below is one of many refined retro-modern features at Midcentury Modern Renovation 2. Hence, the team incorporated book-matched Walnut veneer millwork at Entry, Kitchen, Bedrooms, Vanities, and TV Room to continue this timeless, Midcentury vibe. Spring has sprung and Owner has moved-into the project even while mostly exterior work continues forward.
Hard and soft-scaping continues outside, and we are particularly eager to see installation of final exterior finishes. As one can see, we have maximized exterior windows to capitalize on the scenic panorama.
Privacy walls are a predominant motif in Midcentury Modern Architecture, and so we utilized a screenwall to achieve multiple project goals in one move. For instance, the entry wall (see photos above and below) serves multiple purposes: one, to frame entry court with material continuing outside to inside, and two, to frame a private outside courtyard. This allows larger bedroom openings to maximize south light while achieving both privacy and security. One move, multiple benefits.
As shown below, skylights add a nice touch to the middle hallway and other spaces that don’t benefit from exterior windows. These two skylights openings were original to the house, and in this case, we upgraded to new units.
Haus midcentury modern renovation in the Indiana woods
by Jenna McKnight (Dezeen) 6 February 2018
New exterior cladding, a moss garden and a multipurpose room are among the updates to a 1950s residence in the American Midwest revamped by design studio Haus.
The project, called Midcentury Modern Renovation, is situated on a wooded property in Indianapolis encompassing just under an acre. The surrounding area is known for the presence of several exemplary Midcentury modern dwellings built in the 1950s and 1960s. The clients purchased the midcentury modern home – built in 1956 and designed by Bill Wright of the Indiana firm Vonnegut, Wright, and Porteous – in 2015, after leaving a note for the owner expressing an interest in buying the property if it became available. “A few years later, the call and opportunity finally arose,” said Haus, a local architecture studio.
The three-bedroom home had remained unchanged over the decades with the exception of minor renovations in 1967 by the original owner, who lived there until 2013. The client charged the architects with enlarging and renovating the low-slung dwelling shaded by mature trees. “Having worked with this client on their previous mid-mod renovation project in 2011, we were excited about the prospect of working with them again on something more comprehensive,” said Haus.
The clients presented the team with a list of goals and priorities. The initial planning process included Haus, an interior designer and the owners, who together conceived various options for the 2,260-square-foot (210-square-metre) dwelling, which was in dire need of repairs.
Woodpeckers and insects had damaged the original redwood siding, and the home’s flat roof required significant upgrades. The interior also called for an overhaul. “This house needed everything,” said the architects. “The wooded site and location in the city was excellent, but the house was 60 years old with mostly original finishes and fixtures, including original cork floors, and excellent examples of custom wood built-ins that didn’t fit the new vision for refurbishment.”
Sitting atop a concrete foundation, the wood-framed home was re-clad in vertical-groove, poly-ash siding with a smooth finish. Strips of cedar with an ebony stain were used for the entrance area and a dog run. The team installed a new membrane roof that channels stormwater to “rain chains” on the side of the home. Owner and Architect retained and refurbished existing roof overhangs. Haus revamped the main entrance, adding an “inside-out entry wall” that frames the entry sequence and a garden. The same-style wall fronts the bedroom wing, helping provide privacy and security while still allowing natural light to pass through large windows.
Inside, the team made a series of modifications. The entrance features slate tile flooring and a wooden wall that mimics the exterior cladding. The client specifically requested a new flexible area – dubbed the “everything room” – which the team added just off the foyer and serves as a mudroom, dog area, laundry room and a crafting workspace. In total, the team added 340 square feet (32 square metres) of space to the residence.
The open-plan living room features an original brick fireplace with a cantilevered concrete hearth. The team fitted the room with wood flooring, white walls and an eclectic mix of decor. Similarly, the kitchen and bedrooms feature a range of motifs and materials. “A mix of period and more modern furnishings pair nicely with the interior finishes, lighting and fixtures to achieve a re-imagined interior respectful of the home’s roots and reflective of the owners’ aesthetic and lifestyle,” the team said.
Throughout the residence, floor-to-ceiling glass provides unobstructed views of the verdant lawn and surrounding woods. A screened porch with a black stove serves as a sheltered area for relaxing and feeling connected to the outdoors. The team also modified the landscape around the dwelling. Owner strategically cleared trees and underbrush to allow more natural light into the home, and modern hardscaping and vegetation, including a moss garden, help “articulate the indoor-outdoor connections”.
Fenneville, MI (Summer, 2018) – We enthusiastically anticipate ground-breaking for Bridge House near the shores of Lake Michigan on a wooded lot in Douglas, Michigan. Our clients have enjoyed vacationing in the area for years, and have thus decided to build their dream retreat to semi-retire to the area, moving from their current home in Zionsville, IN. We have been working on the project since summer 2017, and it has been a pleasure working with these special clients!
This one will absolutely be worth checking back for progress, so we’ll be sure to post regular updates!
(Summer, 2020) – Our clients have been living in the home for about 9 months now. We were fortunate to finally make the trip in mid-July 2020 to enjoy time with our clients in the space! We’ll be sharing new photos of the project over the next few weeks on social media and here!
Project Info – Bridge House:
Architecture/Renderings/Photography: HAUS | Architecture
Interior Architecture/Finishes: HAUS with Marika Designs, Design Studio Vriesman, and Client
General Contractor: TR Builders
Photos + Renderings: HAUS except where noted otherwise
History of Pier Cove Beach – Check out this blog/information about Pier Cove Beach and the connected nature and wildlife preserve adjacent to our client’s property.
Indianapolis Monthly: Gesamtkunstwerk – This is an indirect but related link to the story of Bridge House. We love Megan’s article about Helmut and Katie, who with Tom Vriesman made the introduction to our client (who is also Helmut’s best friend). We’re sorry to see Form + Function closing, and still cherish the modern furniture we acquired from Helmut beginning almost twenty years ago.
BRIDGE HOUSE design process began summer 2017 for our clients, neuropsychology + therapy professionals who are long-time vacationers to Michigan. Ultimately, they decided the area would be an excellent location for their next phase of life. Located in Fenneville, Michigan, south of Douglas and Saugutuck, the region has a rich history and culture rooted in the natural environment and art.
Interestingly, the acquired land and the adjacent Pier Cove Valley were formerly owned in the late 1800s by the Chicago landscape architect, O.C. Simonds, who introduced many unusual plant species to the area. This area became quite well-known to naturalists in the region for its many varieties of flowering plant species and is now a protected nature and wildlife sanctuary. Pier Cove Creek directly north of the site, drains to Lake Michigan, ¼ mile directly west. This natural preserve affords walking paths, natural habitat, and beautiful year-long views directly from the project site. What a wonderful environment for spiritual and physical reformation; a natural canvas to become immersed in an experience of nature and art!
In keeping with the area’s rich tradition of looking to nature, it was important to our client that the design for their quaint, humble program be inspired by the unique amenities of the site. Certainly, we wanted to capture valley views to the north and seasonal views northwest to the lake, but also wanted to be sympathetic to the natural condition by limiting our environmental impact and tread lightly on the land. Our clients were also inspired by the rolling topography and the coloration of the trees and their bark. The Black Walnuts stand-out for their darker color, and the Red Pines are distinct in their pattern and coloration. Also, we wanted to be sure to maintain the existing natural drainage swale.
The design solution positioned the living spaces on an east-west axis to maximize views to the north and passive solar exposure to the south. We pushed the house as far north as the setback would allow, but due to the existing topography, still needed to elevate higher to capture the best views down into the valley while also gathering south light via clerestories. The east end is anchored to the earth under Master Suite and Garage, while the west end is elevated on pilotis above the natural terrain. Accordingly, guests enter the home by way of the elevated entry bridge, inspiring visions of nearby jettys past and present.
The experience begins long before entering the site or dwelling and is friendly to pedestrians, cyclists, and automobiles. The winding roads, lush forestry, and views to Lake Michigan reveal themselves on the journey to Ravine Trail. Not until we are upon the site do we catch a dramatic glimpse of the Bridge House through the trees. The scale of the outside space is defined by the trees and strategic clearing, and the impact of automobiles is minimized. A curious but authoritative hound greets visitors at the foot of the entry pier day and night.
Moving through the property, the design focuses paths on views of nature while also accommodating art and artifacts. Primary paths terminate views to nature inside and out, with touches of art, classic furniture, and lighting throughout. The owners, one an artist and both art-lovers, rotate their collection, just as the natural exterior canvas changes hourly and seasonally. The elevated massing and outdoor spaces invite guests to be one with the trees and indulge in this unique experience.
The dark bronze and black exterior cladding was directly inspired by the Black Walnut tree, whose bark varies from mid-gray to dark brown. The natural Cedar decks blend with the pine fin-walls and soffits, natural elements contrasting with the darker shell. Elevated ceiling plane turns downward to become sheltering fin-walls anchoring the west porch literally and figuratively, while providing some protection from prevailing lake-originated gusts from the west.
New double-glazed, aluminum-clad wood, low-E windows + sliding doors oriented for passive solar. Windows on east and west exposures are minimized and sheltered to limit east-west solar gain – reverse passive solar. New unvented roof system integrates closed-cell board insulation over deck + fiberglass under deck (R-45 or better) + 2×6 walls with full foam air barrier insulation + insulated headers – highly-insulated thermal envelope. Kynar-coated metal siding is long-lasting for low-maintenance and durability (limits damage from insects and woodpeckers) + elevated shed roof is standing-seam in dark anodized aluminum – resilient materials.
White Pine + Cedar clads bridge, fin-wall, porch + living ceilings + wool carpeting – natural materials – indoor/outdoor relationships. Flat roofs are protected with black EPDM – supports heating days over cooling days in local Michigan climate. Flat roof rainwater is channeled to custom open-mouth scuppers that won’t clog from site debris + flat roofs sized for future intensive green roof and solar panel integration – resilient, low-maintenance, sustainable drainage solutions. New high-efficiency appliances and plumbing fixtures, high efficiency gas-fueled HVAC systems, gas-fueled generator, and LED light fixtures further contribute to project sustainability. Baseline Energy Use Intensity (EUI): Typical Residential Home (130 Zero Score) – Target EUI: (50 Zero Score) – Projected EUI: (50 Zero Score) – Percent Reduction from Baseline: 60%
December 2017 – The lakefront area is mostly a seasonal retreat with bed & breakfasts and rental cabins with a sprinkling of full-time residents. So in winter, not many people are around. This day was stunning, but the stiff breeze from the lake was chilling.
Assembling an excellent team that communicates effectively and enjoys working together is a recipe for success.
Note from Dr. Lance Trexler (Owner/Client):
“My wife Laura and I have had a fabulous relationship, but we were coming up on a new stage of life where we really wanted to live in a way that really captured what was most important for us. We specifically wanted a very contemporary feeling that was open, maximized natural light, and set the stage for all of the art that we enjoy. We also wanted to bring nature into the house as much as possible. HAUS and Chris Short immediately captured the goal and created what we feel is not only exactly what we imagined, but much more. We are so excited to see this house evolve.”
Our first opportunity to see the site in-person occurred in October 2017, early in the design process. It was certainly important that we get a lay-of-the land first-hand. On prior visits, our clients had already verified that Theo and Piper approve of the location!
We were fortunate to meet Tom Rigney (T.R. Builders) through another of our clients while working on their Michigan property a few years ago (Gull Lake Island). We enjoy Tom’s excellent communication and sincere interest in good collaboration and were confident that our pre-existing relationship would translate to the Bridge House project . Tom has recently worked on houses by Architects from Chicago and Michigan, including John Eifler, FAIA (Eifler & Associates, Chicago), who is known for historic renovations to homes and buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, George Maher, Walter Burley Griffin, John Van Bergen and Louis Sullivan. Tom is also just finishing-up a residential project by Norman Carver, Jr, an esteemed Architect from Kalamazoo, Michigan who designed many Mid Century Modern masterpieces from Michigan to Palm Springs, California beginning in the early 1950’s. TR Builders has a great sense for detail, so we are confident having the construction in Tom’s hands.
We’ll share more of the actual design process in the coming months. HAUS completed this sketch below in December 2017 as we were nearing the end of the SD-Schematic Design process.
At this point we had explored a few design concept options and were leaning to this one. We had an overall scope established, and were in the process of reviewing budget options with the GC. One goal was to tread lightly on the landscape, and elevate enough to provide an ample view to the natural ravine to the north.
As depicted in the building section below, the design team with Owner have spent some time developing the interior architecture, with furniture and art integration. Our client has a wonderful collection of eclectic furniture and art that is going to fit right in to this project design and setting. Also, the owner and team is working with LEICHT on the kitchen cabinetry.
For the entry bridge (see left background), we are discussing ways to deal with snow-ice. Perhaps we’ll consider a heating element along bridge length TBD depending on costs.
After a long, detailed design and budgeting process, it’s really exciting to see the project finally underway!
As we do with many of our projects, we are planning to share key phases of the construction process here. In general, we find the entire process really interesting. This is because there are so many moving parts and design decisions to be made even during construction.
To be clear, Architect availability and involvement is really important during the construction phase. This is true for almost all construction projects, but especially ones like this involving a unique contemporary design.
The drawings don’t stand alone and may not be perfect. Nor do they detail every important condition; therefore, the construction team will likely require Architect interpretations of design-intent. And with this project in particular, with Architect a 3.5 hour drive away, site visits will not be frequent. However, our client and T.R. Builders have promised to stay in-touch with questions and share progress photos for feedback.
Since we had such a natural, untouched, landscape, one original goal was to tread as lightly as possible. As one can see here, the initial excavation is still making an impact. The east portion of the project sinks into the land for basement which anchors the house to the ground laterally. Then the remaining 65% of the house will hover on stilts over the landscape.
TR Builders cleared a few trees for the construction as well, in addition to a few in poor health. In the end, we’ll be able to re-establish the original grades and supplement with native landscape. We are working with a local landscape company on the final site design strategy.
Basement walls have been completed, so next steps are to include garage area + bridge piers.
TR Builders called us while they were working on pier forms to clarify a few things. Albeit, we’re glad they called, because as we were looking back at our drawings it forced us to review and cross-check some things. Specifically, the foundation drawings had a few discrepancies on pier heights that we were able to correct in-time. Without a doubt, this was a good catch by the team and will enable us to achieve exterior siding + deck fascia alignments as intended.
Bridge Beam Details
With a unique design, there are atypical conditions that need special attention in the deign process and construction, like the pier condition below.
For this design, it was important to us that the siding and deck fascia maintain a continuous alignment around the perimeter. Since the siding overlaps the plate and top of basement wall a bit on the basement areas, it needed to maintain the same elevation at the pier conditions. To accomplish this, we design the tops of perimeter piers to drop lower than top of basement walls to allow siding to pass unimpeded by the piers since piers may stick-out proud of wall finish conditions (we didn’t want to have to raise the siding or cut around the piers in these areas).
During the pricing process after we completed the design drawings, the team agreed on all engineered wood beams in lieu of the original steel beams proposed by structural engineer (cost savings and simpler to install/coordinate). We did not completely update all drawings and details to reflect an all-wood condition, which led to some misunderstandings about how to frame the perimeter beams. Architect had detailed perimeter beams to shim-up from the dropped perimeter piers to achieve the aligned siding condition and keep trims clear of piers. And whether steel or wood beams, the designed beam bearing heights were to remain unchanged, still in alignment with all other joists and trusses.
However, the structural drawings indicated a different typical detail for wood-to-pier connection that didn’t reference pier or beam elevations, or the Architect’s details noted above. So as indicted in the photo below, perimeter LVL beams were dropped over the accompanying piers to more closely resemble the structural detail.
Once we noticed, we reached-out to Builder to review the condition and make sure we were on the same page regarding the design intent.
Architect was concerned that we didn’t have enough space under the beams for a cladding material and drying space for the beams. Builder shared their strategy to shim between beam and hardware with stainless steel shims to get the beams and floor laser-level. These shims will raise the beam up a bit from the pier and hardware. According to builder, they have already completed this work. So we are looking forward to seeing the progress and floor deck installed.
For the finish condition, we (Builder and Architect) agreed to wrap the beam undersides with brake metal to match siding. This solution will be very close to the original intent as the dropped beam will still be behind the siding, and the thin brake-metal beam cladding will not touch the concrete piers. We think this is a good compromise since the floor framing had already progressed forward.
This detail and related communication seemed to get a lot of people riled-up. We’re happy that the build team takes as much pride in their work as we do, and look forward to ongoing progress and constructive dialogue about the details.
Floor Framing Complete
Floor framing appears to be complete, and perimeter walls are speeding forward! Exterior deck framing will come later (see far-right deck piers). Notice the insulated headers in the lower left corner on the ground. This is an important detail on all projects in colder climates!
TR Builders sourced lumber from Builders First Source Northeast in Portage, Michigan (Contact: Adam Bradley). All interior floors are wood trusses with built-up LVL beams over piers. Photo below shows floor truss framing over the basement foundation.
Zip System Sheathing is really making inroads in the wood-framed marketplace, and we’re happy to see it installed on Bridge House. We considered other framing methods during the pricing stage (like SIPS), but elected to stick-build based on budget. However, we did go with 2×6 walls to enable more insulation. Besides, the taller living room walls needed thicker studs anyway based on height and roof loading.
Photo below shows front elevation with horizontal kitchen window to the right. It seems weather has been a bit warmer than usual so far for a Michigan winter, and no huge snows (yet – knock on wood).
It’s fun to see walls going-up and dream becoming reality!
Wall Framing Status Update
Most of the roofs are flat on this project. So to get the water off, we are utilizing sloped trusses sloping a minimum of 1/4″ per foot. And since we are expecting debris on such a wooded site, we have designed wide-mouth open scuppers to allow water and debris to flow off of the roof to the site free of downspouts. We’ll position boulders at-grade in these areas to manage erosion.
We’ll not be ventilating the flat roof areas. Instead, we’ll insulate to a minimum R-25 above roof deck with closed-cell polyisocyanurate or extruded polystyrene board insulation (to avoid condensation concerns per code). From there, we’ll install balance of open-cell insulation on the underside of deck to achieve the final agreed R-value.
Even the view from the garage is stunning!
Exterior Enclosure Framing Nearing Completion
The overall enclosure is just about framed, and crews are finishing-up details in anticipation of window arrival. The Michigan winter has most certainly arrived, complete with frigid temps, wind-chill, and snow.
Entry porch perches above and overlooks existing topography drop-off, providing view through trees to Lake Michigan in winter months.
Window Installation Completes Rough Enclosure
North exterior elevation below elevates just enough to provide the best views to the deep natural ravine to the north. Crews just installed windows this week (Week of February 25th, 2019), so along with exterior sheathing and temp roof protection, crews are most certainly happy to focus on inside work. Next week temps are going to be brutal.
We will continue with updates, so please check-back for the latest Bridge House news!
Forest Gallery House is a compound-style residence located in Hamilton County, Indiana. We’re very excited to report that ground-breaking appears to be on-track for summer/fall 2020!
Our clients purchased the property in 2019, and the plan is to demolish the existing home on the site and design + build a new residence from scratch. Interestingly, the new design program includes some unique features such as a freestanding pavilion for office/sauna/gym, a two-story master closet, a 6-8 car garage, and freestanding kennel. The site has acreage and is mostly wooded – an excellent canvas. To be sure, unique program features are exciting from a design standpoint, as they usually inspire unique architectural solutions. If the program includes some features we haven’t yet encountered, we’re definitely in!
On the initial site visit (see photos below), we identified some important amenities to inform the design. By all means, the views to the west and southwest are beautiful. Albeit, privacy from the adjacent neighbor to the north-northeast is important. Also, existing topography will dictate best location for the new dedicated property access drive.
We also noticed that the existing site and drives were not easily maneuvered. So on the new design, we were sure to provide a robust turnaround adjacent to house, but also at the privacy gate for to accommodate delivery trucks. This roundabout in conjunction with the existing garage structure has become a significant driver of the design concept.
Client’s initial program suggested that we raze the existing house, but possibly keep the existing garage accessory structure and use it as a kennel. So while exploring site design concepts, we gravitated toward a scheme that worked to fully integrate this structure in the whole. In fact, the most preferred scheme created a series of connected pavilions radiating around a new access drive turnaround creating an architectural array.
Currently (December 2019), we are engaging basic construction documents to use in getting contractor pricing to help check and refine project scopes of work against the budget. At the same time, we are refining the interiors, site features, and high-performance design considerations into the design for a comprehensive solution.
Utilities (some decisions to finalize)
It appears that we have a choice to tie into municipal utilities or not (based on distances + zoning guidelines). So we have been in contact with respective contacts to evaluate the pros and cons of different options.
Plan Concept (to come)
Garage (6-8 car + basketball)
Please check back as we’ll be adding to the story!
Lakeside Modern Lodge located in Unionville, IN broke ground in fall 2017 for a an extended family retreat. This project is located right on beautiful Lake Lemon south of Martinsville and north of Bloomington.
Our client has owned this property for over 25 years and it has served as primarily a weekend destination. Unquestionably, the site and lake is a fabulous family recreation spot for all water-activities. As a matter of fact, this particular site abuts a protected forest preserve on one side with no worry of future development. In addition, a few neighbors have been renovating their properties, and our client decided it was time to do the same. By investing in the long-term for themselves and younger generations, our client is raising the bar for the area.
Project Info – Lakeside Modern Lodge:
Architecture/Interior Design/Renderings/Photography: HAUS | Architecture with Client
Construction Management: WERK | Building Modern
The design transforms the pre-existing cottage built in the 1970s with a new modern design solution that completely breaks the architectural design expectation for the area. It was important to have enough space and beds for large family stays, so much of the initial focus was on providing enough sleep-space and support facilities for bigger groups.
On initial discussions, we were under the impression that or clients wanted to continue the design theme of the existing waterfront (traditional), but perhaps dial-up the level of design, detail, and quality to fit-in. Our early concepts did just that while adding a new master suite, enhanced bedrooms with bunk space, screened porch, enhanced kitchen, wet-bar, fireplace, laundry, bathrooms, and living spaces while infilling the space between house and garage. To that point, our discussions had focused mostly on the functional and budgetary aspects of the project. Once we got a good start on those issues, the discussions turned to the exterior and interior aesthetics.
Our client shared a few images and surprised us with a desire and means to go modern. Months later, the client remembered that Chris’ eyes lit-up when the conversation went that direction. That’s probably true, but for the record, HAUS enjoys all types of architecture including the nuances of each client relationship and resulting design solutions. We love that our clients challenge us and Don/JoAnn have done just that; what a pleasure it is to work with such fun people.
Section Diagram – Lakeside Modern Lodge (H-LODGE) – Unionville, Indiana, Lake Lemon
Please check back as we will be sharing more about the project design process.
HAUS’ sister company, WERK | Building Modern, is the construction manager for the project. So fortunately, we are involved in every aspect of the project from beginning to end. Our best projects are the projects where we are the builder and are able to protect the vision. With the process, the client and project benefit from the daily involvement of the Architect within the construction process; every design, detail, and cost decision goes through the Owner and Architect, which is really important if design is a priority. Thanks to Chris Adams for his daily oversight, framing, and trim carpentry work. Thanks to all trade contractors, many of whom we are working with for the first time. This is because of the project location.
The construction of this project is underway, so please check-back for ongoing updates! Indeed, we expect substantial completion in late fall 2018.
(Summer 2020 Update) – Our clients have been enjoying the property for since summer 2019. And now that landscaping is growing-in, we have been able to begin photographing the results of the effort. We’ll be sharing the photos and updates over the next several weeks on social media and here, so please be sure to check back!
Construction Process – Lakeside Modern Lodge
Framing Process Goes Vertical
The two large windows on top of the two-story volume are the locations of the matching bunk platforms that have their own nook inside two of the four upstairs bedrooms.
Roof Truss Installation Day
This raised ceiling accommodates clerestory below to bring south light over the covered porch (covered porch not framed yet in this photograph), but also forms the base for the upstairs raised bunk nooks overlooking the lake. During project tours, client family and friends seem most intrigued by the loft bed platforms above the clerestory windows.
Client Site Visit
After this photo was taken, a few weeks later, Don and JoAnn brought JoAnn’s father down for a visit recently (he just turned 100-years-old this year). He said, “this is just how grandpa would have built it”. Grandpa was JoAnn’s grandpa, her mother’s father – a builder from his day. JoAnn said we now have validation from her father, which is a good feeling.
Shou Sugi Ban Siding
More Framing Progress Views
Exterior Sheathing Substantial Completion
Cabinetry + Finish Carpentry Installations Begin
Ready for Finish Carpentry
Now that crews have completed flooring, cabinetry, and tile, the final piece on the interior is finish carpentry. The fireplace wrap, architectural stair, and furnishings will tie up the remaining interior touches. We are really excited about the design of these details and helping coordinate their installation to finish.
Here below we can see how the exterior siding looks wrapping the gas fireplace enclosure. Blackened steel wraps the fascias above and below fireplace, including the recess returns.
Our cabinetry on all main level living spaces is custom-fabricated. However, areas such as closets, laundry, and guest vanities are tailored from prefabricated stock. In the photo below we can see thoughtful accommodations including open hanging space and drawers below. In addition, adjustable LED track-lighting provides the necessary illumination.
Exterior Siding + Deck Progress
Once we weathered-in the house months prior, we weighted our focus on interior finish to keep that aspect rolling. So as we can see below, exterior is just a bit behind interior progress. Our friend Chris Adams is handling the rough carpentry, finish carpentry, flooring, and painting with limited crews. Hence, we have worked with Chris to help coordinate and prioritize phases of work.
Here below, we have completed about 80% of exterior siding. Besides the black siding, the team is also working to prefinish the clear white pine soffit materials. Of course, this can be challenging in cold weather. However, exterior lakeside decks can most certainly progress in the colder weather. Also, we are working to reuse portions of existing decks where possible, and integrate some existing stone retaining walls.
Our supplier shipped the decking material from Miami by way of Italy. This material comes in some interesting metric lengths which are shorter than other manufacturers. For this reason, we have designed a specific deck and structural layout solution.
Metal Exterior Details
The exterior is taking shape, but the details will make it architecture. In fact, we have some fine-tuning to complete. In particular, the area between the two upper level lakeside windows is to be metal-panel siding, not wood. For this reason, we’ll be removing siding between these windows, and our roofing contractor will install smooth black folded interlocking-seam panels with associated flashing for window alignment.
We have already met with roofer about this siding detail. But concurrently, he will also be installing copings, metal roof fascias, and the custom roof scuppers and open face downspout details. So, we’re excited to share our solutions for these details that address flat roof debris next to a heavily wooded location.
Open Riser Architectural Stair
We have saved the open riser architectural stair for last on the interior so that other work and trades wouldn’t be contributing wear-and-tear to the stair. It was definitely worth the wait, and looks just as designed. We used Eastern White Pine for the treads, glued-up Poplar for the stringers, and pre-manufactured railing components for the railing system (Viewrail).
Please check-back as we will be posting updates periodically – you won’t want to miss the upcoming progress!
H-LODGE reconstruction began in fall 2017 to update an aging cottage for an extended family retreat on Lake Lemon, located in Unionville, Indiana. The client was interested in a dramatic modern transformation inside and out that incorporated existing conditions, added a main level master suite, and included complete interior updates enhancing indoor-outdoor relationships. But most importantly, they wanted a comfortable place for family to enjoy time together on the lake while also leaving a legacy for future generations.
The property sits adjacent to a protected forest owned by the City of Bloomington; a prime lakefront location. The original structure, built in the 1971 and acquired by our clients in 1989, included the primary house with detached accessory storage and garage structures. Each was experiencing some degree of structural degradation, with outdated interior and exterior.
The new design solution connected and preserved the existing structures, which led to a completely new modern aesthetic inside and out. From the south, the new façade broadens the lakeside exposure with a low, horizontal roof tying together the inside and outside spaces and framing panoramic lakeside views. New master suite, storage, powder room, and screened porch spaces make-up the infill between original house and garage. The south-side screened porch is offset from the main living spaces to maximize interior views and light. The north-facing master suite bumps-out to accommodate space requirements and distinguish the massing independently from original house and garage. This new motif supports abundant glazing which receives the south passive solar rays in winter. The dark cladding retreats to counterbalance the bold, simple form while visually tying the exterior into a low-maintenance, cohesive whole.
Since covered porches span the entire south façade, it was important to find a solution that would allow an enhanced level of natural light into the living spaces beyond. The new clerestory along southern edge does just that, allowing sunlight to bypass the lower porch roof and directly shine into the interior living spaces. And as an added benefit upstairs, this raised area becomes a loft feature for the lakeside bedrooms (more places to sleep!). The central upper level pavilion rises above a mostly horizontal composition distinguishing itself with its height, shed-roof overhangs with contrasting soffits, and integrated uplighting.
The interior functional layout generally follows the original, but adjusts to a more modern, open-concept plan. While the clerestory floods and unites the living spaces with natural light, the two-sided fireplace wrapped in exterior cladding separates living from dining. Also, kitchen cabinets flow from kitchen to dining space, morphing into new wet bar and clerestory tower. At the entry area, team reconstructed the existing split-level stair, again utilizing exterior materials on the interior. Eastern White Pine was used to fashion custom block treads with rounded flutes on walking surface. Heavy stringers are fabricated from Poplar glue-ups and painted black. Railing is a prefabricated steel and cable-rail kit of parts.
Sustainable features include embodied energy from reclaimed-repaired-reinforced structural elements (original foundations, garage slab, wood walls and deck structures, foundation walls, shed + garage structures, and driveway). New double-glazed, aluminum-clad wood, low-E windows, sliding doors, and skylights replaced smaller, inefficient windows and doors for high-efficiency (daylighting + long-lasting materials) and to allow passive solar rays to heat interior spaces in winter. Windows on east and west exposures are minimized to limit east-west solar gain. New unvented roof system integrating closed-cell board insulation over deck + fiberglass under deck (R-45 or better) replaced under-insulated original vented attic – building envelope resilience.
Accoya/Shou-Sugi Ban siding clads the exterior, with contrasting soffits of Eastern White Pine – natural materials. Primary shed roof is standing seam in pre-weathered galvalume finish, with continous black gutter with debris screens and aluminum rain chains to channel water to sub-grade drainage tiles – long-lasting/resilient materials. Flat roof rainwater is channeled laterally via custom rooftop aqueduct spanning linear lakefront roofs with custom conductor heads and downspout terminations. We designed the site drainage and roof water management thoughtfully for the steeply-sloping site – sustainable drainage solutions. Flat roofs are black EPDM with ballast cover – light roof coverings address heat island effect.
New high-efficiency appliances and plumbing fixtures, propane-fueled HVAC systems, extra wall insulation, smart-programmable controls, and LED light fixtures further contribute to project sustainability. We sized the roofs for future intensive green roof and solar panel integration. Main level cabinetry is custom utilizing maple cabinet boxes and drawers with low-VOC materials and finishes. This home increased in size, yet the energy bills (propane $30/month – electrical averages $130/month) are dramatically reduced from previous baseline, according to the client (part-time residence). Baseline Energy Use Intensity (EUI): Typical Residential Home (130 Zero Score) – Target EUI: (40 Zero Score) – Projected EUI: (40 Zero Score) – Percent Reduction from Baseline: 70%
Once again, we are working on a Midcentury Modern gem designed by the architects of the firm, Vonnegut, Wright, and Yeager. In fact, we have learned that Edward Pierre of Pierre & Wright (at the time), designed the original Midcentury Modern home for the Indianapolis Home Show in 1954. More recently, a prior owner made updates before selling it to our clients, who are local mental health professionals.
In essence, our clients simply wanted a cozy place to get away; an isolated retreat to play piano, listen to music, and smoke cigars.
Project Info – Cigar Room – A Midcentury Modern Addition:
Indianapolis Monthly has featured our client in a recent edition of Indianapolis Monthly’s “Open Door” feature, so we’ll be sure to link it here when available!
Cigar Room – A Midcentury Modern Addition – Design Process
Owner originally began the project design with Steve Zintel of Summit Design Group, but they were not able to finish the project, perhaps because their builder partner bowed-out. So, HAUS took those initial ideas and worked toward a final, simple solution respecting the pre-existing structure and Midcentury style. We spent some time engaging a longer-term site plan that included some interesting ideas for outdoor space, but ultimately, the Owner priority was the Phase One Cigar Room project.
We will be sharing some renderings of the cool Master Plan ideas and other interesting tidbits before long, so please check back for these updates!
Silvopasture Farmstead is a new eclectic modern farmhouse build tentatively breaking-ground in late summer 2020 on a 60-acre property in St. Paul, Indiana (near Shelbyville).
Our clients, who recently moved to Indiana from Jersey City, NJ, will live adjacent to family-owned acreage currently used for farmland. Our clients have the long-view in-mind. Most certainly, this is the house and property they hope to live-in for many years. It’s the hope that the structures we design and build will still be standing and useful in 300 years.
So with that in-mind, we are certainly planning for resilience and low-maintenance. For example, we are planning to utilize ICF-insulated concrete forms for all walls with extra R-value details and super-insulated roof structure. This is one of many high-efficiency features of this house – we’ll share more in the near future.
In addition to the phase-one primary residence, the long-term plan includes a future barn, possible observatory, and comprehensive silvopasture site planning and implementation. There will be livestock and abundant trees, my friends!
Clients: Private Owners (relocating from New Jersey back home near family)
Architecture: HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles with Client
Interior Design: HAUS with Client
Site Design Consultant: Quantum Land Design
Builder/Construction Manager: TBD
Photography/Renderings: HAUS (except where noted otherwise)
The Design Process – Silvopasture Farmstead:
The Property is in the “Agricultural Conservation” zoning district. Significantly, the zoning code has a special exemption allowing client to build a single family home on any area not labeled “prime farmland” on the USDA soil survey. The design for the primary single-family dwelling was inspired by classic traditional farmhouses with a few modern details to navigate his and her aesthetic preferences. We have a great start, but still have work to complete once we confirm budgets relative to current scopes. For sure, we’ll share more about the design process in the near future, including the various site planning goals and layout.
Budget Pricing Documents:
In early 2020, we completed basic construction documents. Specifically, we will use these documents to confirm we are on-track with our budgets. Overall, pricing for major scopes will be completed in mid-spring. Then, we’ll have a better idea on what the next steps will involve.
Back40House located where Pendleton meets Markleville, will sit on family-owned land acquired in the 1800’s.
Most certainly, we’re excited to report that the design + construction pricing process is just about complete. Therefore, we anticipate ground-breaking by mid-summer 2019!
Without a doubt, we will plan to share the design + construction process and what we learn along the way. So please check-out the ongoing updates below!
Project Info – Back40House
Architecture: HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles
Interior Architecture: HAUS with Client
Construction: WERK | Building Modern
Renderings + Photography: HAUS
Client Page: Back40House
Long ago, the government granted large plots of land to families in 160 acre parcels. Per below, the land for Back40House has been in our client’s family since the early 1800’s, with 80 of the original 160 acres still family-owned.
From client page:
05 March 2019 – “So we are starting the journey to move back home to Indiana. Our time in California has been great, but our family and friends back home are pulling at our hearts. We have the opportunity to build our dream home on property that has been in our family for six generations. We will be building on the back forty acre parcel that was part of the original 160 acres settled by my family in the early 1800s. So we have nicknamed our future home the “Back40House”. Be sure to follow this page to see it all come together…from a clean sheet of paper and an open meadow, to the home where we will continue to care for the land that our family has cared for over the past 200 years.”
06 March 2019 – “As we will be building on family property, I have been digging in to the history a bit. I found this great map of Adams Township from 1876. Notice the highlighted block then owned by J. S. Davis. That was my 3rd great grandfather John Smithson Davis. The Back40House will be in the south west corner of that plot. We are so grateful that our family has kept this property over the years, and fortunate to have the opportunity to carry on that tradition.”
Our clients, Brad and Nan were living in California when we began the design process. Brad and Nan flew-in for our first site and design charrette meeting in early February 2019 and we made a productive day of it. We started off the day walking the site to get a feel for the lay-of-the-land. After that, we headed to the HAUS studio for team introductions and an afternoon design-brainstorming session.
Having explored a few ideas and variations, we have settled on the two similar diagrams below that represent the essence of the design direction. Generally, these two variations express a difference in material concept. We have settled on the bottom diagram, allowing the studio-master suite volume to become a special accent material setting itself apart from the predominant material.
Main House is to the lower left, two lateral volumes separated with a central entry hall. And to the right, garage is detached and connected via breezeway/entry porch. Also, to the north, more detached garage volumes continue the same massing and materiality to make-up owner workshop.
Inspiration – Front 40
This south elevation view below shows the main living volume in grey siding, and breezeway entry to the right. To clarify, we are exploring an exterior material palette combining naturally-weathered wood + corrugated Corten steel siding. Also, we are planning to keep existing site grading intact and project over the landscape to capture the best views to the south, west, and north. Equally important, in conjunction with dense treeline to the west, deep roof overhangs will provide shelter from prevailing weather and western sunlight.
Telling the Story
Site Staking Day
To get our septic design completed, we first needed to stake the building locations. Things ended-up pretty close to where we thought they would on the site plan, but we did make a few adjustments on-the-fly based on topography and existing treeline locations. The surveyors were good to work with and they spotted the grade elevations we needed to make final design adjustments.
07.28.19 – We have septic approvals, and are awaiting building permit review. Albeit, we anticipate having footings in the ground and back-filled by mid-September so we can then be weathered-in by end of November. For sure, we want to be sure we aren’t held-up by the winter weather.
Clearing a Path
This photos below were taken on on the first day heavy equipment showed-up to cut the new access drive and clear a route through the treeline. Soon thereafter, we would be excavating for and pouring footings.
Jack is Happy about it!
The Frogs are Probably Not happy about it
Forming Foundation Walls
The massive rectangular footing and foundation on the elevated west-end of the house is under the double indoor-outdoor fireplaces. Since this end of the house is elevated on piers, this footing and wall above it will serve as the primary shear wall on this end. Shear walls keep the building from swaying sideways from wind, earthquake, or wild house parties (housequakes).
One may wonder why would someone come-up with a pier design like this? Good question. We put a lot of thought and effort into designing the piers to be integral and complimentary to the overall building massing. Altogether, we explored a number of variations to arrive at the final solution. Simplicity is always a goal, but this doesn’t look that simple. We joke that it’s a lot of work to make things simple, and simple oftentimes can be more complicated.
Rough Carpentry Commences
This giant window wall frames a view from the Kitchen island north. During the design process, we put a great deal of thought into how best to frame views inside-out and outside-in. It’s rewarding to see the concepts develop into built form. It’s fun to be an architect.
A few years ago, we helped a client with their Midcentury Modern house in the Glendale neighborhood on the northeast side. It had the most incredible living space. What made it incredible? Besides the nicely-scaled space, it had the most amazing quality of light. Clerestory windows surrounded it continuously on all sides. We’ll never forget that space, and we refer to it often when designing new spaces. For Back40House, we’ve incorporated an east-facing clerestory window to bring in a similar quality of natural light. In conjunction with the 12-foot tall vertical slot window in the same space on axis with the entry, we’re really eager to see how the light defines this bedroom and changes throughout the day and from season to season.
Flat Roof Design
Although it appears so, not all of the roofs on Back40House are “flat”. The two “bars” are sheltered with 2:12 metal panel shed roofs, one preweathered galvalume, and one Corten steel. Together, these two sheds form a pseudo “butterfly roof” configuration. Flat roof between the sheds collects all water and channels it to the open-mouth scuppers located at porch awnings. This flat-roof connector continues over the breezeway to garage, which also has identical details.
Flat roofs are not really flat, and can have whatever degree of slope we want to design-in. The more slope the better, to eliminate the potential for any standing or pooling water. It’s best to design-in more tolerance to all building systems to allow for certain field-condition variances. And good roof design is not just about slopes and roofing materials. In fact, there are many considerations beyond waterproofing. These considerations include but are not limited to, insulation techniques, ventilation (or not), orientation, drainage management, color, solar gain, penetrations, climate, climate zone, etc.
Corten Siding Sample
We are using Corten steel for north studio siding. However, this sample below is not what we selected. Instead we decided to use the rounded 7/8″ corrugation profile.
For those not familiar with Corten “weathering” steel, it is designed to rust. Corten’s chemistry allows the rust or patina to form a protective layer that then maintains itself without rusting all the way through. It is designed to last many, many years. See these Dezeen articles about weathering steel to see how beautiful it can be. So when you see the rusty siding, it is by design and meant to give a dynamic contrast with adjacent materials – it clads Nan’s creative studio, and thus deserves some pop!
We are really liking this view – however, there is a framing variation that we need to adjust. Who can spot the variance from the design drawings?
Rainscreen Siding Delivery
We are doing a two-tone rustic channel cedar siding that arrives prefinished. This below is the lighter of the two tones. We sampled various products and landed on this option. It’s a bit more brown than the renderings, but wood is brown, folks. The grays were also a bit pricey. The darker of the two cedar sidings (not shown) is more in the gray family – dark color disguises the brown tone a bit more. Accordingly, the plan is to let the woods weather, meaning we are going to let them naturally patina (ie, turn gray).
The Workshop, detached Garage, and south house wing are cedar. However, the north mass is corrugated Corten steel siding (see the “parti” diagram at the top of the story – the yellow mass in the diagram is the Corten siding and roofing).
Please check back – we’ll be adding to the story (design + construction).
Scandinavian Rustic Cabin located in Carmel, IN began master planning first of the year 2015, and re-construction was completed before the fall holidays.
The design of this 1990’s shingle-style rustic cabin was primarily based around the desire for a more open and light-filled interior, with better connections to its beautiful site. It was a really interesting and ongoing design-dialogue … how to effectively mix pre-existing rustic features (log-cabin walls, brick floors) with new modern features (cabinetry, fireplace surrounds, details, hardware). The same questions came up over and over for each specification, finish, and detail. Should it lean more rustic, more modern, or somewhere in-between? The contrast between rustic and modern details and materials provides for a rich and unique experience inside and out with a result that in many ways reveals a Scandinavian vibe mixed with Rustic.
We have just begun to document this project, so please check-back as we will be posting periodic updates, Owner feedback, and backstory.
Project Info – Scandinavian Rustic Cabin:
Architecture/Interior Design/Renderings/Photography: HAUS | Architecture
Construction Management: Blaze Construction
Progress – Scandinavian Rustic Cabin
Owner forwarded an evening photo of the living room fireplace that we modified with a new hearth + steel cladding and light reveal – #ambience