Budget Breakdown: A Midcentury Glass House Is Revitalized For $299K

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By Anna Squier
Rescued from demolition, a cantilevered home in Michigan is restored as a refined retreat with a magnificent indoor/outdoor connection.

This single-family residence in Bloomfield, Michigan, known as the Treehaus, embodies the iconic style of midcentury modernism. Thanks to a thoughtful renovation, this rare dwelling has been restored to its original state of refined elegance.

$35,000
Kitchen Cabinets & Appliances
$6,000
Quartz Countertops
$40,000
Roof
$50,000
Windows
$25,000
Bedroom Addition
$15,000
Bathrooms
$9,000
Floors
$14,000
Doors
$5,000
Plumbing
$8,000
Painting & Trim
$10,000
Plaster Work
$8,000
HVAC
$4,000
Utilities Relocation
$8,000
Electrical
$20,000
Decks
$3,000
Demolition & Disposal
$19,000
Architectural, Survey, & Planning Fees
$20,000
Construction Admin & General Conditions Fees
Grand Total: $299,000

Owner Shane Pliska, president of interior landscaping company Planterra, stumbled upon this home in 2012 when it was headed for demolition. Although it was appraised at $0, Pliska appreciated the natural beauty of the site and the simple, modern architecture the home represented. For the next few years, he strove to carefully restore the home to its modern roots.

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With large spans of glazing, this transparent home fully embraces its forested setting.

With large spans of glazing, this transparent home fully embraces its forested setting.

With process began with a mystery as Pliska sought to uncover the original architect of the residence. Iconic, midcentury modern massing led many to believe it was the work of the great Mies Van Der Rohe. Through exploration, Pliska discovered it was the work of Edwin William de Cossy, a creator of "Sarasota Modern" architecture and one of famed architect Paul Rudolf’s collaborators. 

A steady rhythm of interior columns supports the simple framework.  Architect Ron Rea created a lighting solution on the columns which appears as though it was always there.

A steady rhythm of interior columns supports the simple framework. Architect Ron Rea created a lighting solution on the columns which appears as though it was always there.

Pliska traveled to meet the almost 90-year-old architect to learn about the history of this home and the architectural culture of the 1950s. With detailed information from the original architect himself, Pliska and Ron and Roman, LLC were able to reinstate the true magnificence of the dwelling. 

Owner Shane Pliska has fully embraced the home's modernist style and profound connection to nature.

Owner Shane Pliska has fully embraced the home's modernist style and profound connection to nature.

Constructed in 1956, the dwelling sits on a wooded bluff looking onto a private, five-acre site. Cantilevered on all four sides, the simple massing appears to float in the forest, within the trees. The all-glass structure creates connections with nature, inside and out. "Living here, I've become more in touch with nature than ever before," says Pliska. "I gained new awareness of the light of the seasons."

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Glass corners create a seamless connection between the wooded landscape and interior living spaces.

Glass corners create a seamless connection between the wooded landscape and interior living spaces.

Off the master bedroom, a private deck looks out to the forest.

Off the master bedroom, a private deck looks out to the forest.

The 2,000-square-foot residence embodies simplicity and comfort. Through the restoration, Pliska helped remove features that were added over the years, revealing the original character of the home. 

Clerestory windows surround all rooms, providing the spaces with plentiful daylight.

Clerestory windows surround all rooms, providing the spaces with plentiful daylight.

Simple, white tile extends from floor-to-ceiling in the bathroom.  A clerestory window draws in daylight, further reflecting off the glossy surfaces to create a light-filled interior space.

Simple, white tile extends from floor-to-ceiling in the bathroom. A clerestory window draws in daylight, further reflecting off the glossy surfaces to create a light-filled interior space.

An emblem of modernism, the white-and-green kitchen was once a floor model in Scavolini's Birmingham store.

An emblem of modernism, the white-and-green kitchen was once a floor model in Scavolini's Birmingham store.

A simple material palette of steel-framed windows and redwood with cedar trim is a beautiful combination of natural and industrial. Flooring includes much of the original oak wood, with few replacements that blend in well. The exposed block is original, while cedar that was painted has been stripped to show off its original beauty. And the main focal point, floor-to-ceiling windows, creates inviting places to soak up nature's beauty. 

On the exterior, architect Ron Rea selected a deep black-brown that's not an historically accurate color, but honors the architectural form.

On the exterior, architect Ron Rea selected a deep black-brown that's not an historically accurate color, but honors the architectural form.

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Edwin William de Cossy

Renovation Architect: Ron and Roman, LLC

Structural Engineer: Ron and Roman, LLC

Landscape Design Company: Planterra

Lighting Design Company: Ron and Roman, LLC

Interior Design Company: Ron and Roman, LLC

Cabinetry Design / Installation: Scavolini