Stunning Lake Michigan Home Is a Paragon of Sustainable Design

Give a man some dead, beetle-infested ash trees ...

August 8, 2018 9:00 am

Had this Lake Michigan summer home decided to call it quits on the whole nature thing and spend its life as a studio in Brooklyn instead, it’d be hard to blame it.

Built by Desai Chia Architecture and Environment Architects of Traverse City, MI, the waterfront home sits on land that’s been ravaged by the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle indigenous to northeastern Asia that found its way to the States 15 years ago, and which feasts on ash trees like Joey Chestnut wolfs down hot dogs on July 4th.

Somehow, though, the award-winning domicile has embraced its embattled environs. In fact … it’s even made of it.

michigan (7 images)

Commissioned by a couple determined to move into the beetles’ marauding waterfront kingdom, Desai and Environment immediately cut down 100 dead trees, and used every single one in crafting the home. The lustrous, revivified ash wood was applied all around the property, from the cabinetry, to the furniture to the wall panels. And to keep the critters officially at bay, the designers employed a protective wood-burning Japanese technique called shou sugi ban on the exterior wood, putting it through a gauntlet of burning, wire-brushing, cleaning and oiling.

All that work went a long way toward defeating the emerald ash borer, and along the way, creating one heck of a waterfront home. The burnt and finished exterior wood showcases a gorgeous midnight black (just look at that veranda), while the interior, a fluid mix of gathering areas and tucked-away bedrooms, might be the ultimate sign that peace has at last arrived to the property.

Find more information on the project here. And never trust a beetle.

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