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Pure Michigan

Huge glass brings lakeside residents closer to the water

In northern Michigan, the summer – with its blue skies, low humidity, and pleasant temperatures – is short but wonderful. Vacationers and residents alike know their window for a supreme indoor-outdoor living experience is small, so they don’t take it for granted.
On Glen Lake, just a few miles from Lake Michigan and nestled up next to Sleeping Bears Dunes National Lakeshore, is a Midcentury Modern renovation that makes the most of this summertime paradise.
“Our approach was to create a glass box to take advantage of the amazing southern views and exposure to the site.” Ray Kendra, Environment Architects
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This 1,000-square-foot addition to the home frames stunning views of Glen Lake in northern Michigan.
In 2014, Ray Kendra of Traverse City-based Environment Architects spruced up a modest midcentury home with a 1,000-square-foot addition that makes full use of the home’s location along Glen Lake. Huge walls of glass frame truly picturesque views of the water just a few yards away, and they bathe the addition with tons of natural light, enlivening the space in the summer and giving it a soft, warm glow during the long, cold northern Michigan winter.
“Our approach was to create a glass box to take advantage of the amazing southern views and exposure to the site,” says Kendra. “As we are typically working on very sites with great natural attributes the indoor-outdoor connection is something we are constantly embracing in our designs.”
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Fixed and operable windows let in natural light in the summer and provide maximum energy efficiency during Michigan's long, cold winters.
Highlighting the project are two vast Series 600 Window Walls, which give the homeowners (the neighborhood’s only year-round residents) unfettered views of the rippling blue water, whether they are eating in the spacious dining area or relaxing in the living room. A large array of Series 670 Casement and Awning Windows surrounding the huge picture windows let in cool Lake Michigan breezes course through the home in the summer and seal in warmth during the winter.
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A combination of fixed windows and awning windows, as well as a Western Window Systems hinge door.
“The ability to create large expanses of glass along with good ventilation was key,” Kendra says. “And because we work in a climate with constant weather variations, the quality of the Western Window Systems products was important to us.”
“The ability to create large expanses of glass along with good ventilation was key.” Ray Kendra, Environment Architects
Pure Michigan
Western Window Systems' contemporary styling perfectly complements the Midcentury Modern architecture of the Glen Lake home.
And the thin sightlines and contemporary styling of the Western Window Systems products (including a sturdy and attractive Series 900 Hinged Door leading out from the addition to the sandy lakeshore) provide a complementary adaption of the Midcentury Modern aesthetics of the 50-year-old home, including floating ceilings, metal accents, Douglas fir paneling, and limestone flooring. The result is an interesting juxtaposition of some of the home’s original Midcentury Modern furniture with 21st-century amenities like smartphone-controlled heating, lighting, and sound.

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