2020 Readers’ Choice | Best Overall Home
A huge congratulations goes to Kevin Akey and his company, AZD Associates, with Environmental Artists, who took first place in the Readers’ Choice award. The Lake Orion gem, located on its own island, is surrounded by water — and, of course, every Michigander loves water! In fact, most of the home’s rooms have a 360-degree view of water through floor-to-ceiling glass, corner glass, and retractable glass walls.
A quick tour showcases a fabulous upper level that features three bedrooms, a bunk room, and two baths, while the open main level includes a gathering area/kitchen and dining area.
The clients wanted peace and tranquility, but they also wanted entertainment flexibility. As a result, the house and property were designed to be able to accommodate 40 to 50 people for parties, with resort/spa-like activities and amenities such as a beach house, terrace, and pool. There’s also a 12- by 30-foot private dining area for intimate dining experiences (and don’t miss this space’s linear fireplace!).
Boaters enjoy the boat drive-up, and guests will often pull up and mingle at the lakeside bar and lounge. Then there are the much-needed parking areas for watercraft.The island has designated areas for the homeowners’ heavily-used water taxi, the Jet Skis, kayaks, and powerboat. And what’s an island house without a swimming area?
As for the stunning and creative landscape design, it was inspired by a tapestry; the forms inherent in the fabric were translated into undulating earth, rugged caps of Canadian outcrop, and textured vegetation.
“Heavy materials were slid over on ice and, occasionally, on a barge.”
— AZD Associates
The architectural elements and buildings located within the garden space are linked by floating tigerwood platforms, while carved stone paths allow for natural circulation and informal gatherings. The exterior materials are a combination of wood, split-faced Fond du Lac stone, gray corrugated metal, and glass, and all blend harmoniously with the natural landscape and shoreline setting.
Nothing worthwhile comes without its challenges, and in this case, designers had to figure out a way to get heavy equipment and materials onto the island, which was no easy task. Some were slid atop the ice, and other items arrived via barge. Well done, AZD Architects and Environmental Artists!