Natural Beauty

With their children grown, the owners of this custom waterfront residence in Orchard Lake, Mich., seized the opportunity to build the home of their dreams: a 5,509-square-foot, Prairie-style retreat inspired by the rustic, wooded setting in an exclusiv...

July 01, 2004


The natural slope of the lakeside site permitted architect Dominick Tringali to design the home with a walk-out basement, giving his clients desirable additional living space without compromising the community's established restriction on building height. "The homeowners were looking for a design that was casual, livable and maximized their lake view," he says.

With their children grown, the owners of this custom waterfront residence in Orchard Lake, Mich., seized the opportunity to build the home of their dreams: a 5,509-square-foot, Prairie-style retreat inspired by the rustic, wooded setting in an exclusive lakeside community northwest of Detroit.

Featuring a flexible floor plan with views overlooking a large recreational lake, the new home fits the couple's newfound empty-nester lifestyle by concentrating the primary living space to a single floor when they choose. At the same time, the home provides additional and less formal entertaining space, as well as two guest suites on a separate lower level.


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"The clients were very involved in the overall design process for this home," says Bloomfield Hills, Mich., architect Dominick Tringali. "We spent a lot of time discussing how they live, cook and entertain so that I could come up with a plan to meet those requirements. The goal was to give them the livable environment they wanted."


The use of natural stone and cedar trim on this home's exterior complements its Prairie-inspired design.

This two-level home's classic linear design blends well with its wooded lakeside site. "We did not want it to dwarf or overwhelm the natural beauty of the setting, so we kept to very clean horizontal lines," Tringali says. "Slate, stone and a variety of natural woods were used extensively inside and out to reinforce the home's casual style, as well as to tie it visually to the water and existing trees."

One of Dominick Tringali's favorite elements in this waterfront home is the open fireplace that serves as the focal point for the main-floor living space, kitchen and dining area. That same fireplace extends outdoors and features a built-in barbeque. "It really is the tone-setter for the whole house," Tringali says.


Inside, a random-pattern fond du lac stone fireplace extends to the outdoor deck where it contains a barbeque.

"This was the most complex fireplace we've ever constructed because of its open design and outdoor components," says builder Dennis Yashinsky. "It took 10 times the effort that would have been required to build a more conventional one. I hired the best stone mason in our area to do the job right."

The fireplace chimney features natural fond du lac stone set in a random pattern that rises the full height of the family room's 17-foot ceiling. "The amount of effort that mason put into the job was amazing," says Yashinsky. "He spent hours and hours moving the stones around to give the chimney its sharp edges and square corners."

In the end, the results were well worth the effort, Yashinsky says. "It's dramatic because it needed to be. It's the first thing you see when you walk into the home."


Skylights flood the workspace with natural light in this home's efficiently planned kitchen, where all work zones are within easy reach for the cook. A mix of materials, including red oak floors, granite countertops, tile backsplashes and stainless steel, contribute to the contemporary feel of the space.

The fireplace received a 2002 Homebook Design Excellence Award for its building stonework.

From the street, the home has a low profile, single-story appearance. A band of horizontal cedar siding runs around the perimeter under the soffit created by the roofline to reinforce this theme. Tringali's design unfolds on the rear elevation where windows span nearly the entire width of the home, providing every major room with lake views. Capitalizing on the natural downward slope of the site, the lower level features a walk-out design that transforms it from a basement into an additional level of living space. While the main floor is intended for adult entertaining, the lower level has been designed for casual get-togethers.


The homeowners opted to do without a formal dining room, choosing instead to have their dining space be an extension of the kitchen. A wood-paneled tray ceiling and dramatic window wall ensure a distinctive dining experience.

"The basement is an integral part of the house," says Yashinsky. Encompassing an arcade, recreation room, dining nook and two guest suites, the basement level also features 9-foot ceilings and an insulated wood floor built atop the poured concrete foundation. "It makes the basement feel much more like conventional living space," says Yashinsky.

The false-floor design also made it possible to run the ductwork for the forced air HVAC system underneath, providing more efficient heating and cooling.

The home was completed in June 2001.

Style of Home | Prairie

Location | Orchard Lake, Mich.

Total Square Footage | 5,509

Hard Costs (per sq. ft., excluding land) | $250

Builder | Landmark Building Co., Oak Park, Mich.

Architect | Dominick Tringali Architects Inc., Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Interior Design | Craig Steinhaus, Perlmutter Freiwald Interiors, Franklin, Mich.

Custom Luxury Residence



A tray ceiling visually expands the space in the master bathroom. "The tile work is really fantastic here," says builder Dennis Yashinsky of the travertine, which was imported directly from Italy and was used for the floor and tub/shower surround in the bath.

Major Products Used | Appliances: Sub-Zero (refrigerator); Bosch (dishwasher); Dacor (ovens, warming drawer); Thermador (cooktop); Best (range hood) | Cabinetry: Millennium | Countertops: granite | Doors: Marvin Window and Door (exterior); TruStile (interior) | Fireplace: AFP | Flooring: red oak; travertine | Home Controls/Automation: Vitex Corp. | HVAC: Carrier Corp. | Lighting: Halo | Plumbing Fixtures: Grohe America; Franke Consumer Products; Kallista; Kohler Co. | Exterior Finish: Sioux City Brick; fond du lac; western red cedar | Roofing: CertainTeed Corp. | Windows: Marvin Window and Door | Skylights: Velux America

Photography by Beth Singer Photography

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