This charred wood-clad home on Lake Michigan evokes the lines and colors of Edward Hopper’s famous “Rooms by the Sea” painting from 1951. Perhaps it’s the way the simple square floorplan frames water views by way of courtyards and windows, but there’s a seamlessness between indoor and outdoor space at play here that recalls the liminal boundary in Hopper’s work.
The Courtyard House, which is located in the beach town of Saint Joseph in southwest Michigan, was designed by Chicago-based studio John Ronan Architects and is so named for the way it is organized around a series of four courtyards. These outdoor spaces are strategically placed to optimize “dialogue” with the home’s interior rooms. Sliding glass doors, large windows, and translucent “sea glass” walls further the indoor-outdoor connection.
To enter the single-story residence, visitor cross a “bridge” over a reflecting pool, which creates the first of the home’s four courtyards. This leads to the expansive great room that includes a dining area and kitchen. In the lounge area, a section of sliding glass doors open onto the main courtyard, a partially enclosed deck with textured channel glass that affords gorgeous views of the lake. A dining courtyard is located to the east of the kitchen.
As for the home’s enticing color scheme of black timber that juxtaposes with white interiors and the green glass accents of the courtyards, the architect cites the lakefront site and its bonfires as its inspiration.