Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects
Harbor Springs Residence; Harbor Springs, Michigan

Client: Private
Architect: Rugo Raff
Contractors: Evening Star Joinery, Litzenburger Landscapes, Sid Baker Masonry
Consultants: Charter Sills, Pizzo & Associates, Tom Stringer Design Partners
Category: Design - Residential

This private residence in Harbor Springs, Michigan, is distinctly Midwestern; unfussy and seamless, enclosed and expansive. It honors both the architecture and the surrounding rural landscape.

The project is located on ten acres in a semi-rural area peppered with farm fields, woods, and prairie. Past the remnants of the site's history-an old barn, crumbling stone walls, and outbuildings covered in vines-the entry drive leads to the reveal of a contemporary house and central courtyard space. To the east of the house, a sunken lawn and elongated lap pool are surrounded by rich swaths of Russian sage and native grasses. To the west, a terrace marked with a bosque of maples through which one views the native landscape in the distance.

A kind of ‘planned indifference' unfolds throughout the landscape to allow the sophisticated house to meet the landscape in an honest way that is both vernacular and artful. Extensions of the architecture, the home's exterior spaces are complementary in form, scale, and materials. This symbiotic relationship of space is a direct result of early collaboration between the landscape architect, architect, interior designer, and client to create a seamless environment between interior and outdoor spaces, and enhance views from within the home.

Stone walls define the ‘edges' of these programmed spaces and provide a transition from structure to expanse. As the landscape moves away from the house and these boundaries, it becomes increasingly less stylized, blending into the area's inherent characteristics in both form and native plant palette. There is a constant push-pull between the natural and designed, between chaos and control.