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On the Waterfront

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After purchasing a revered archetypal lake house designed by American architect Richard Meier, a retired couple launches into the home’s second renovation in 35 years.

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  Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, the 1973 Douglas House was one of architect Richard Meier’s first residential commissions. Defined by its verticality, the house features an exterior stepped walkway that extends over the trees, connecting the levels.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, the 1973 Douglas House was one of architect Richard Meier’s first residential commissions. Defined by its verticality, the house features an exterior stepped walkway that extends over the trees, connecting the levels. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  Nestled into the hillside and largely concealed from view, the Douglas House is accessed via a footbridge that leads to the house’s uppermost level. Upon entering, the visitor descends to the lower floors via a winding staircase.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    Nestled into the hillside and largely concealed from view, the Douglas House is accessed via a footbridge that leads to the house’s uppermost level. Upon entering, the visitor descends to the lower floors via a winding staircase. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  An original plan illustrates the extreme slope of the site.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    An original plan illustrates the extreme slope of the site. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  Michael McCarthy and Marcia Myers spent years rehabilitating the Douglas House. The double-height living room features a custom sofa and low table of Meier’s design, and an Edward Fields rug based on a sketch Le Corbusier created in 1956 for a Tokyo theater.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    Michael McCarthy and Marcia Myers spent years rehabilitating the Douglas House. The double-height living room features a custom sofa and low table of Meier’s design, and an Edward Fields rug based on a sketch Le Corbusier created in 1956 for a Tokyo theater. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  A view of the residence from the shore of Lake Michigan.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    A view of the residence from the shore of Lake Michigan. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  The view of Lake Michigan from the Douglas House.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    The view of Lake Michigan from the Douglas House. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  The Douglas House is a clear nod to Les Terrasses, a 1928 residence created by Le Corbusier in Garches, France. Shared elements include curved walls, spatial ambiguities, and the series of ladders and cantilevered staircases that join the levels and encourage a cascading architectural promenade.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    The Douglas House is a clear nod to Les Terrasses, a 1928 residence created by Le Corbusier in Garches, France. Shared elements include curved walls, spatial ambiguities, and the series of ladders and cantilevered staircases that join the levels and encourage a cascading architectural promenade. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  The outdoor furniture is from Richard Schultz.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    The outdoor furniture is from Richard Schultz. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  There are many avenues from which one can descend the Douglas House, including staircases and ladders.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    There are many avenues from which one can descend the Douglas House, including staircases and ladders. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  Michael McCarthy and Marcia Myers on the exterior promenade.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    Michael McCarthy and Marcia Myers on the exterior promenade. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  There are two walkways that extend over the sloping hillside. The top-most walkway is the intended entrance.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    There are two walkways that extend over the sloping hillside. The top-most walkway is the intended entrance. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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    Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  An original sketch from Richard Meier's office.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    An original sketch from Richard Meier's office. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  The rear facade is a complex articulation of angles and walkways.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    The rear facade is a complex articulation of angles and walkways. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  The view from the driveway highlights the bright-blue entrance doorway.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    The view from the driveway highlights the bright-blue entrance doorway. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  The office, which overlooks the main living space, is situated as if it's the prow of a ship.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    The office, which overlooks the main living space, is situated as if it's the prow of a ship. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  A desk in the guest bedroom fits tidily next to the bed.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    A desk in the guest bedroom fits tidily next to the bed. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  The "Meier white" extends even to the kitchen, which has been updated with new appliances.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    The "Meier white" extends even to the kitchen, which has been updated with new appliances. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  The view overlooking the living room, which features the famous Le Corbusier rug by Edward Fields. The residents were also careful to save the sofa, which Meier himself designed for the space.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    The view overlooking the living room, which features the famous Le Corbusier rug by Edward Fields. The residents were also careful to save the sofa, which Meier himself designed for the space. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  The pair take in the expanse of Lake Michigan. The Douglas House's views are completely unencumbered.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    The pair take in the expanse of Lake Michigan. The Douglas House's views are completely unencumbered. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
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  The residents rehabilitated the original redwood decking.  Photo by Dean Kaufman.
    The residents rehabilitated the original redwood decking. Photo by Dean Kaufman.

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