Brookside

Designed by Katherine Hillbrand

with Ann Hauer and Jared Banks

To find this place it is necessary to park one’s vehicle and stroll down a small dirt road to search for a wooden gate, hidden in a thick wall of old growth cedars. The gate opens to a path that meanders through a magical woodland garden. The path diverges, one way leading to a break in a thick hedge that opens to a grassy veranda overlooking Lake Michigan. The other comes to a timber footbridge that crosses a pristine trout stream and then traverses a single stone slab that spans a delicately flowered wetland. The cottage comes into view gradually amidst the lacey birch and curved cedars.

The diminutive structure looks as if it grew from the site. Oversized boulders support a low, undulating roof. The windows are deeply recessed within the walls. It is beguiling in an earthly, almost rustic way, but the interior is a celebration of refinement. Materials were selected for their tactile and calming effect. Large timbers express strength and security. The massive asymmetrical stone fireplace anchors the structure to the ground. All elements are nuanced to give this cottage a sense of connection to the natural environment, and to provide safety, security and sanctuary from an over-stimulated world.

Construction by Evening Star Joinery, Jeffery Ford
Structural Engineering by Johnston Engineering, Harbor Springs, MI
Interior Design by Tom Stringer Design Group, Tom Stringer
Landscape Design by Hoerr Schaudt, Doug Hoerr
Photographs by Werner Straube