Bluff House Project

A modern, single-floor ranch house transitions seamlessly into the landscape, inviting family and friends to enjoy the dramatic Lake Michigan views from the bluff with beach access below.

Modern Beauty And Rustic Flair

Situated on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, this single-floor ranch house brings a combination of modern beauty and rustic flair to the property. Its elegance arises from its simplicity – a wave of ease that invites guests and family from the house itself to the views outside. But for a couple entering a new phase of their lives, this area lacked adequate space to gather outside.

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The clients’ vision necessitated a rescue effort for the bluff, which had long been left vulnerable to invasive plant species and relentless erosion. Invasive plants were eradicated and replaced with native forbs, beach grasses, and colorful plants for a healthier landscape. A layer of riprap, alongside the beach grasses, addressed shore revetment without destroying the view. And to ensure that our corrections were not quickly undone by rampant runoff patterns, we incorporated a series of French drains to manage water accumulations. The bluff presented little space for work crews, so to address the land’s needs, all these installations were done via barge.

In collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of engineers and architects, we sought to bring reflections of the house’s design elements to the land around it. The border of layered hedges, coupled with tall trees and a neatly manicured lawn, extend the long lines of the house into the land beyond. A planting palette of over 70 native species adds variety and seasonal beauty.

The result is a seamless blend of careful design and natural beauty. The driveway, framed in colorful perennials, guides the eye from the land to the house, before inviting guests along a stone path to a secluded patio perfect for the afternoon. A sequence of turn stairs descends to a protected seating area, perched high above the beach yet sheltered from harsh winds, that begs for a glass of wine and the pristine lake views. From there the curious may venture down a winding staircase to the restored beach. Encircled in a wall of green, visitors have their choice of venue and every opportunity to relax together.

The couple is proud to have such a beautiful property. They say that they never want to leave.

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