Tusen Takk is slipped into a rolling terrain of coastal sand dunes within a dense forest of red pine, cedar, and mixed hardwoods that stretches along the northeastern shore of Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula.
Responding to environmental restrictions on the shapes of two building envelopes on the site, we saw the opportunity to thread the main house and a separate guest house through the forest on two adjoining dunes, delicately connected by a sheltered elevated boardwalk. The boardwalk spans a shallow gully and reaches to a tall glazed volume, a lantern in the forest marking the main entry. Here a door from the family’s old fishing shack was repurposed as part of the front door.
Black-stained wood walls veil initial views of the lake, while inside the building's taut, faceted glass envelope blurs the boundary between indoors and outdoors as the lake is glimpsed through breaks in the forest. Slender steel columns dance along the edge of the complex much the same as the tall red pines outside. Bleached interior wood finishes glow with a soft northern light and are highlighted by areas of translucent stained colored stairs and cabinets that tie the buildings together. A long wood roof deck with spectacular views of sunsets over Lake Michigan projects over the edge of a steep dune.
A center for family gathering as well as contemplation, this is a place of nuance and a place for discovery.