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Program:
  • Lakefront, contemporary home
  • Spectacular views
  • Outdoor living area for entertaining
  • Support and stability along shoreline
  • Connection to the beach and lake
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Terraced Triumph

Dowagiac, MI

Situated above the lake by approximately 25 feet, this Michigan residence presented numerous design and engineering challenges. Working with the design team to create an outdoor entertaining terrace composed of multiple “rooms”, we first started by conducting a thorough site analysis of the existing slope conditions and understanding the architectural/engineering plans. Working off of this base, we were able to develop multiple concepts highlighting the architecture and its connection to the various terrace spaces, and how it would transition down to the lakefront while still maintaining the spectacular lake views and existing bordering trees.

The contemporary design incorporated reinforced concrete walls, stone masonry veneers, a custom masonry fireplace and grill, and detailed concrete terraces bounded by sleek metal railings and simplistic bed lines. The main terrace is 15 feet below the top of the bluff. Terraced retaining walls and steps combine with colorful planters to guide guests down from the main entry. Once on the main terrace, you have your pick of multiple seating arrangements to enjoy the sun or views. As evening approaches, guests can take advantage of the upper terrace as they sit in front of the fire and enjoy a glass of wine. Maximizing all available square footage, custom wood decking was designed on the storage room rooftop as an alternate sun deck. This deck overlooks the lower stairs which drop another 10 feet to the sand beach and pier. A meandering cart path with granite boulder retaining walls allows additional access to the lakefront and maintenance accessibility. Simple, layered plantings reinforce the design and transition the residence into the natural surroundings.

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