Natural Order

Given their warm-weather use, summer homes are often as much about their setting and view as they are about their architecture and interior.
Described by Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects as exhibiting a tension of natural and designed, the sunken east terrace with 110-foot saltwater lap pool features a band of Russian sage that holds back native Michigan grasses. Photograph by Henry Joy

Given their warm-weather use, summer homes are often as much about their setting and view as they are about their architecture and interior.

Such is the case with this Northern Michigan family retreat, where a contemporary home occupies a semi-rural area of farm fields, woods, and prairie.

Historical elements of the site include an aging barn, crumbling stone walls, and outbuildings covered in vines that are carefully designed to look untouched. Exterior elements include a central courtyard and outdoor rooms. That “programmed” space gradually flows into native plant growth. The landscape design by Douglas Hoerr of Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects, Chicago, is described by the firm as “a constant repartee between the natural and designed, between chaos and control.”

Around the lap pool, plantings are designed to follow the progression of the seasons. // Photograph by Steven Gierke

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(LEFT) Visitors to the home follow the length of the central courtyard to an entrance vestibule. // Photograph by Charlie Meyer. (RIGHT) A “viewing terrace” offers panoramic views of the surrounding woods and meadows. Terrace materials include gravel surrounded by bluestone and a stone wall. // Photograph by Henry Joy.
(LEFT) The central courtyard is designed to be serene with textured plantings and an end wall for privacy and definition. The home’s architecture is by Rugo Raff Architects, Chicago; interior design is by Tom Stringer Design Partners, Chicago. // Photograph by Henry Joy. (RIGHT) On the west terrace, zinc planters containing edible plantings suit the home’s contemporary architecture. // Photograph courtesy of Hoerr Schaudt.