Located in a clearing once occupied by the Kalamazoo farmers market, this home’s striking facade is enveloped by its wooded setting. The bold, inky exterior is balanced by a minimalist interior, allowing the home’s organic surroundings to draw the eye outward through large-scale glasswork.
Homeowners Liz and Kevin Hoekzema, both residential builders and designers, have plenty of experience with the construction process. Yet, when designing their own home, the duo followed an instinct to do things differently. "We're always thinking about how we can bring in little surprises—taking a space that would otherwise be ordinary and giving it a little twist and a creative spin," says Liz.
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The couple gave a lot of thought to the materials used and the relationship they wished to create with nature. "We wanted a minimal, modern interior that just flows outside," comments Kevin. "We also wanted to focus on the view through to the outdoors—increasing the connection with nature and having natural light stream in," adds Liz. One way the couple accomplished this goal was by maximizing sightlines to the greenery outside with large-scale windows and doors from Marvin.
With four active kids, large expanses of glass throughout the home’s open floor plan also allows Liz and Kevin to have open sightlines. "We love that in the design of this home we were able to factor in ways to see our kids whether they are in the yard or upstairs," says Liz. "We wanted to design a unique house plan that would allow us to stay connected to them," she adds.
The couple incorporated other unexpected views of the outdoors, including a glass-encased floating breezeway that connects the garage and main house. The everyday experience of walking across the walkway is enhanced by floor-to-ceiling windows along both sides. "When you get really intentional about directing the eye in a certain way, it feels like you are painting a picture with the nature that’s there," says Liz.
The goal to keep her family connected with nature is also what attracted Liz to the streamlined style of the selected windows and doors. "The design is so sleek and simple that it’s not stopping your eye from carrying forth into the view of nature," she says. As a local builder, Kevin also knows that energy efficiency is an important consideration. "Especially in our harsher climate where it can be -20° up to 100° F, as well as really humid, dry, and windy, Marvin has just been a really solid choice," he adds.
"We wanted to make sure we could be inside or outside all the time, with open windows, open doors—all flowing right outside to the pool area," says Kevin. Liz also loves how the entire family has embraced the indoor-outdoor lifestyle: "The kids open the slider door and go right out to the pool, basketball court, or wherever, and it really feels like we are home."
After living in the house for almost a year, the couple realizes how much the space inspires them in their everyday work. "Our clients are able to see how we were adventurous in designing for ourselves, and how there’s a lot of joy in that. Now, they feel more comfortable taking risks themselves," adds Liz.