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Inside a Beautifully Restored Richard Meier-Designed House on Lake Michigan

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With great architecture, comes great responsibility

Outside of the architecture world, minimalist icon Richard Meier doesn’t have quite the same name recognition as you might think. So when homebuyers Michael McCarthy and Marcia Myers purchased a worn out Meier-designed house on the Shore of Lake Michigan, it wasn’t until architecture professors began knocking on their door that they began to comprehend the full significance of restoring their modernist abode, the Douglas House.

"Douglas is probably Richard Meier’s best house," said architect and former Meier employee Henry Smith-Miller in an interview with Dwell for a 2011 feature on the home. Let's revisit its genius, shall we?

The design of the 3,200-square-foot home was heavily influenced by the modernist work of Le Corbusier—with an entrance on the top floor; ship-like railings, levels, and promenades; and an interior structure skinned with glass. But the 1973 building is also infused with Meier’s trademark touches—an all-white color palette, clean lines, and a sleek-but-airy feeling. The Pritzker Prize-winning architect is perhaps best known for designing luxurious minimalist homes and L.A.’s marble-clad Getty Center.

McCarthy and Myers bought the Douglas House in 2007 and embarked on a four-year restoration process that included fixing water damage, reinforcing the entrance bridge, removing and sandblasting the steel awning windows, replacing the home’s redwood siding, and even reupholstering a sofa that Meier designed for the living room.

But the result is stunning. Now, the couple is in conversation with various preservation organizations about ensuring the home’s future as an architectural treasure.

As McCarthy told Dwell, "Our role is to restore it and maintain it for America."