Door County, Wisconsin
Architect: Johnsen Schmaling Architects
Contractor: Tielens Construction
This home in Door County is a small compact residence nestled in a clearing on the edge of a gently sloping site where its low-slung silhouette disappears in the forest's dense vegetation. Designing an unassuming dwelling that shows an attitude of diffidence to the surrounding forest was a key program requirement. The building is clad in charred cedar from Northern Wisconsin, with its textured blackness complemented by varnished clear cedar, dark-anodized aluminum and glass. The charred wood boards were installed over furring strips of varying depths to form a gently folding and undulating building skin, similar to a pleated curtain. Visitors approach the house from a narrow gravel road that leads to a small trellised forecourt carved deep into the home’s rectangular mass. A continuous wall of milled lumber, stacked at slight angles and finished with a lustrous varnish to create a surface of folding ribbons, extends from the forecourt into the house. Inside, the vestibule connects to an open living space with an oversized sliding glass door system. A sculptural steel staircase leads to the bedroom suite and a large vegetated roof covering. The interior is dominated by white walls, white lacquered cabinets and a grey polished concrete floor.
Jury Comment: "This is a really good house! While it seems simple, there is this layering of texture and materials that you start to appreciate as you get closer to the entry. It’s just really well done. It adds this richness and complexity that seems really appropriate for the setting. The detailing is incredible. There is a sophistication that shows the architects really know how to build houses. From the big concept down to the details, this is a really successful project – inside and out. It’s a very skillfully crafted home."
Photos: John J. Macaulay