Gallery: Extraordinary Sustainable Retreat by roomTEN Design Opens Onto...

With a picturesque view of Lake Michigan, this shore-front home designed by roomTEN design is an perfect example of a sustainable-minded collaboration between designer and client. Tai Kojro-Badziak, founder and principal of the Chicago-based architecture and interior design firm roomTEN design, took design inspiration in part from the clients' nostalgia for the summer bungalow vacations of their childhood, and also from the stunning setting; which led him to connect every room to the outdoors. This dream home has large-scale efficient systems including on-demand water heating, radiant flooring and grey water recycling, but also shines in the details with sustainable furnishings, wood flooring, recycled stone flooring and low-VOC finishes.

Creating the home as a sustainable and healthy living space for the family was top priority, beginning with site selection. Calculating what available property would be the shortest in drive time (not just in distance) to regional transit directed toward Chicago led the family to select this location. The plan of the home considered the existing landscape so as to avoid harming or removal of the beautiful, towering trees. A winding, terraced path leads out to the lake, interfacing with the natural landscape and planted with all native species.

The materials used in the home were carefully selected to consider quality, durability, longevity, local and sustainable sourcing, and to promote healthy indoor air quality. All of the materials and fittings were selected to consider longevity, and the abuse they may endure from a life living near sand and sea.

Furniture in the home is a mix of locally sourced, custom handmade, and vintage. Exquisite detailing is seen in every aspect of this residential project. Kojro-Badziak, was hands-on throughout the design and build of the home, even living on site during the final phase.

The home design pays homage to the Arts and Crafts vernacular as well as the Prairie Style of Frank Lloyd Wright, while feeling fresh and accommodating for a young family. Large windows allow for optimal use of day lighting, and add to the luminescence of discrete and efficient ceiling lighting. The majority of the millwork and wood detailing was constructed from low-cost materials such as poplar, pine and alder, which had been FSC certified and finished with Low VOC stains.

In addition to the amazing wood details that stream across the ceilings and wall, are accents of high-profile materials. Hand-cast glass tile, onyx and bronze are all included in the material palette.

The floors are mixed-width pine and span between the large opening between the kitchen and living areas. Vintage furniture is mixed with distinct custom made pieces, like this amazing dining set.

To take advantage of the amazing lake view, indoor/outdoor rooms like this one allow for use year round. This room has elements of mid-century style, but also takes inspiration from a Moroccan riad, discovered by the clients own world travels. Large, folding NanaWall doors collapse allowing zero-threshold entry from outside. The absence of steps or level changes in most of the home will allow the couple and all of their guests to easily access their home, even as they age.

The custom kitchen cabinets were locally made, and are topped with natural tortuga stone. Both the designer and client wanted to create a “healthy” home, which includes considering air quality as well as long-term benefits like easy to clean surfaces and preventing spaces that harbor contaminants and dirt. The flat front of the cabinet doors ensure that they are easy to clean. The cabinets are also full height to the ceiling, adding plenty of storage, and preventing the collection of dust and grime in hard-to-clean areas.

The master bath features on-demand hot water to a wet room shower, as well as a soaking tub with a large view window. The wood paneled walls are accented with gorgeous lines of natural onyx.



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