Cabins and Connectors Form a Family’s Lake Michigan Retreat
Where the New Buffalo Residence now stands on a wooded lot by the shores of Lake Michigan, there used to be a serpentine ranch house with perplexingly small windows, none of which pointed toward the water. The homeowners had used it as a vacation retreat for over 30 years before an expanding family—and guest list—led them to approach architecture firm Booth Hansen for a fresh design. "They wanted to feel the lake from every room," says principal Trina Sandschafer. "They wanted the house to breathe and have a connection between the indoors and the outdoors."
The resulting lake house consists of four white cedar-clad cabins linked by flat, zinc-clad connectors, creating a rhythm between public and private spaces. "As few as two and as many as 16 or more family members are in the house at one time, so it needed to feel appropriate in scale," explains Sandschafer. The peaked roofs complement the Midwestern vernacular while embodying a clean, Scandinavian-inspired sensibility. Each volume serves a different function, be it boat storage, guest quarters, gathering space, or master suite. Dramatic Aluminum Wood Sliding and Multi Slide Door systems by LaCantina Doors provide both forested and lakeside views, and also play a part in the functionality of each room: communal spaces boast vaulted ceilings and large panes of glass that emphasize transparency, while more private areas like the porch and family rooms feel more intimate in size.
"You can feel an immediate connection to the water." - Trina Sandschafer