A steeply sloped site in the Wisconsin forest, plus an equally steep budget, led architect Brian Johnsen to reinvent the archetypal cabin for a sturdy vacation home.
A couple in Evanston, Illinois, asked John Issa of Perimeter Architects to add on a two-story, 650-square-foot addition to their traditional farmhouse. The new volume is clad in composite slate siding by Inspire Roofing Products; the windows are Pella.
Taking its cues from local barns and silos and the rolling Wisconsin terrain, the Field House is a kind of modern observatory for watching winter turn to spring and the great vault of the heavens.
Geoff and Joanna Mouming’s compact modern farmhouse is the first permanent structure at Yum Yum Farm in Wellman, Iowa. On the field that stretches out before it, organic vegetables will soon make attentive farmers of the Moumings. The benches on their entry porch were built by Geoff using a design plan by Aldo Leopold, the pioneering Iowa-born conservationist and writer whose spirit and thoughts seem to preside over the house.
Crowned with a glass observatory, this scenic Wisconsin home commands panoramic views of the surrounding grasslands.
This sagging ranch house was reborn as a spacious cabin with a soaring roof in Harbert, Michigan. "When you’re doing a second home, a lot of the character of the design is defined by what it isn’t,” says architect Greg Howe, as a way of explaining the minimalistic approach that was taken on this Michigan weekend home. “If you think of it as cold, you have to remember, the setting, and accessing nature, is the point.”
The house at 157 Congress Run in the Cincinnati suburb of Wyoming was a fine little place, a sturdy 1940s brick Cape with trim, boxy rooms and an undulating yard punctuated with old trees. In perfect condition and in one of the state’s best school districts, it was one of those iconic suburban homes that young couples with growing families fantasize about.
But to Terry Boling the house was all wrong. When he and his then wife, Debbie, bought it in 2003, he immediately ripped off the top floor and started tearing things up, leaving neighbors and passersby mystified and confused. Even Terry—a seasoned architect and professor of architecture at the University of Cincinnati—sometimes wondered. “I thought about it myself,” he now admits. “Are we doing the right thing?”
But four years, five and a half tons of concrete fiberboard, and one (amicable) divorce later, the iconic suburban house has been transformed, along with the Boling family, and everything is the better for it. At least the Bolings think so.