Behind This Home’s Private Facade Is an Expansive Wall of Windows


A slate-covered home in rural Michigan proves there’s always more than meets the eye.

From minute 1:15 they start talking about the slate in this design house.

Nestled among the rolling meadows of western Michigan, the Slate House by husband-and-wife team Nathan and Becky Vandenbroek of Hygge Design+Build is a reflection of dualities.
«I always like to do some kind of a darker cladding, just so it pops against the greenery in the summer and then in the winter with the snow. It just brings a nice dramatic contrast,» says Becky.

The property favors privacy on the front, road-facing side of the house, while offering expansive windows and unobstructed views on the back side. The exterior is stone-clad with a matte gray standing seam roof, while the interior remains neutral and airy. And the land itself feels bucolic, neighboring a goat farm and lush greenery, while also sitting only 15 minutes east of bustling downtown Grand Rapids.

The 3,249-square foot home sits on a rural 1.4-acre lot in picturesque Ada, Michigan.

While the facade favors privacy, clear cedar was used on the entryway to create a warmer welcome.

«In developing the site plan for this home, we intentionally oriented all of our windows and the views to take in as much nature as possible out to the east of the house,» says Nathan. «It faces the road to one side and then intentionally has all of the glass and views facing out towards the east to take in all of the forest and fields and everything that is out in that direction.»

The exterior features natural slate cladding and massive floor-to-ceiling Marvin windows on the east side to take advantage of the home’s views of the rolling terrain. The tongue-and-groove clear cedar accents are used between the windows to make them a single mass and «warm up and bring some accents to the house,» says Nathan.

To create this wall-of-glass effect on the east-facing facade, the Vandenbroeks turned to Marvin Essential™ windows for their large sizing and clean sightlines.

«I always tell Nate, we don’t do a lot of artwork in homes. We bring the exterior in and that’s the artwork of the home,» says Becky, who handles the design of Hygge Design + Build’s projects, while Nathan acts as the general contractor. «And it changes four times a year. It’s great to bring in those outdoor views, natural lighting, and just take advantage of the four seasons here in Michigan.»

The main floor includes 20-foot vaulted ceilings and an open kitchen with custom cabinetry, Thermador appliances, and quartz countertops.

To extend the home’s daylighting to the north-facing side as well, the Vandenbroeks opted to connect the main floor’s living area directly to a covered porch area. With the help of the Marvin Elevate® Sliding Patio Door, they were able to maintain the eight-foot casing around the entire inside of the home and integrate the indoor/outdoor spaces seamlessly.

The Marvin Elevate Sliding Door functions as a large window that you can also walk through onto the 14-foot-high open-air porch.

While the property is immersed in color via its natural surroundings, the interiors rely on creamy, calming hues, «not any stark whites,» adds Becky. The majority of the floor plan is open-concept, but one of the main design features of the home is a white oak-clad «cube» that centers the kitchen space. The interior of the cube houses a modern interpretation of a scullery, while the exterior of the cube houses the kitchen and a separate bar area. «It just gives the homeowner some added storage space in addition to helping keep a clean kitchen and just kind of pushing everything back there out of sight,» says Becky.

A large hidden open-air scullery centers the main living area. Hygge Design + Build covered the cube with a paneling system of white oak and black aluminum trim to give it some detail and break up the monolith.

«It’s a hidden door, so you just push it open and it’s on springs and it returns back to its closed spot, and you don’t even know that it’s there unless you push on it,» says Nathan of the scullery’s entrance.

The main level also houses the primary bedroom that opens up into a large bathroom and walk-in closet, while the lower level features three additional bedrooms and two full bathrooms. The Vandenbroeks say this layout, along with the material palette, keeps longevity top of mind, allowing the homeowners the opportunity to age in place with main-floor living while giving their two boys room (and privacy) to grow downstairs.

The lower level walk-out offers three additional bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kids’ cubby, family room, and plenty of storage.

The door in the laundry room is the Marvin Elevate Swinging French Door, and was initially designed as a walkway out into a dog run. «We love dogs and we take into consideration most of our clients have dogs,» Becky says. «Typically, laundry rooms can be dark with no windows, no doors. It was an opportunity for us to bring some natural light into that space.

«In choosing slate siding with some cedar accents and a metal roof, we provided our clients with a product that they don’t have to do anything to for a very, very long time,» says Nathan. «That in combination with the Marvin windows provides essentially a maintenance free-product on the outside of the house.»


Source: Dwell

Author: Dwell

Photography: Dwell Creative Services

Slate Definition | Roofing slate maintenance | SLATE natural benefits