T H E A R T O F C R E A T I V E D E S I G N
A W A R D W I N N I N G H O M E S - O V E R 1 3 0 A W A R D S
L U X U R Y H O U S E S
O L D - W O R L D E U R O P E A N H O M E S
F R E N C H C O U N T R Y H O M E S
One of the most romantic, enchanting and enduring of the old world European home styles is French Country. The design and details of this old world elegant style are easily adapted to today's lifestyles.
In the tradition of French countryside homes, the French Country estate houses designed by the firm inspire an elegantly casual lifestyle inducive to outdoor living and entertaining. Interior spaces are integrated with exterior courtyards, fountains and gardens to create a feeling of bringing the French Country lifestyle into your home.
Their French Country homes are designed with authentic old world details. Beautifully proportioned dormers, shutters, flower boxes, and chimneys grace timeless facades of rugged stonework with turrets and steeply-pitched hip roofs. Beautiful French doors and radius arch windows allow abundant natural light to flood into open floor plans with spacious rooms. Authentic Country French details like timber-beamed ceilings, stone masonry fireplaces, wrought-iron stairways, and wide-plank wood and tumbled limestone floors recall the rustic charm of French Country houses.
T U S C A N V I L L A H O M E S
Drawing inspiration from the classical architecture of Andrea Palladio, as well as the timeless, romantic villa architecture of Tuscany and the Moorish influence of Spain, the Tuscan Villa and Spanish Villa homes created by the firm capture the spirit of their European antecedents, while addressing the lifestyles of today.
Loggias, courtyards, fountains and gardens integrate with the interior spaces, creating a seamless flow between home and nature, and encourage a lifestyle of outdoor living and entertaining. Natural light floods into beautifully designed spaces in open-concept floor plans.
Old-world European architectural elements of rustic fieldstone, textured stucco, and terra-cotta tile roofs interplay with heavy timbers, wrought-iron balconies and gates, and wood shutters for a rustic elegance. Stone courtyard walls define outdoor spaces; while many of the villa estates feature a tower element, reminiscent of those in Tuscany.
A beautifully textured palette of stone, wrought-iron, and rustic wood continues in the interior details of their villa homes with stone fireplaces, interior stone walls, and stone floors; wrought-iron railings, doors and detailing; and exposed timber beamed ceilings.
Photos of award-winning Tuscan Villa home
Tuscan Villa Collection
Old-World Tuscan Style Lake Home virtual fly-around video
S H I N G L E - S T Y L E H O M E S
One of the classic architectural design styles that is a continuing source of inspiration, and a design favorite of the firm, is the Shingle Style. Typically associated with the Eastern seaboard regions, especially the Hamptons, Cape Cod, and Nantucket, the Shingle-style is easily adapted to any location.
With its great range of interpretation, from classic-traditional Shingle-style; to American vernacular; to a playful, and even whimsical expression; it enables creative exploration of both interior spaces and exterior massing, and a multitude of design possibilities.
Picturesque shingled towers and shingled exterior facades interplay with wide-rambling porches, playful dormers, bay windows, and Palladian-style windows. Crisp white-painted exterior trimwork creates a beautiful contrast with natural-cedar shingles or shake siding stained a coastal shade of gray.
Natural light floods into the interior spaces from expansive and beautiful, multiple windows and French doors. Exquisite millwork detailing is carried throughout the interior in painted or color-washed beamed or coffered ceilings, and shiplap and paneled walls - for an elegantly casual ambiance. The firm's Shingle-style homes have been lauded for their creativity and livability, and have been distinguished with numerous design awards.
P R A I R I E S T Y L E
The Prairie style was developed in Chicago in the early 1900's by an exceptionally talented group of architects, and is typically associated with its acknowledged master Frank Lloyd Wright.
It is distinguished by its strong horizontal lines articulated by low-pitched hipped roofs, widely overhanging eaves, horizontal rows of windows, and porches and landscape walls that extend to blend the architecture into the surrounding landscape. This organic style is perfectly suited to today's lifestyles, and the renewed awareness and sensitivity to the footprint that humans place on the environment.
The firm's principals John and Donna VanBrouck, both native Midwesterners, have long been inspired by the Prairie style. Traveling throughout Chicago, Oak Park, and River Forest, Illinois - they have studied the Prairie style landmark works concentrated in that area; they have also been inspired by visiting the acclaimed Fallingwater in Pennsylvania and Taliesin West in Arizona. This firsthand experience enables them to design Prairie style residences that firmly embrace the tenets of the style - while also inspiring them to create innovative Prairie style homes that blend classic elements of the style with a modern-inspired design aesthetic.
Photos of Prairie Modern home
C R A F T S M A N S T Y L E H O M E S
M O U N T A I N H O M E S
One of the design strengths of the firm is interpreting the challenging topography of mountain building sites, and creating stunning mountain homes that respond to their environment. These homes are designed to capture the most magnificent views, while creating a residence that embraces the outdoor lifestyle of mountain living.
Whether the mountain home is a primary residence, a vacation ski lodge, or a mountain retreat - a primary consideration is integrating the architecture with the beauty of the surrounding landscape, and designing interior spaces which fluidly interact with exterior spaces to create a connection with nature.
Expansive, beautifully designed glass doors and windows open rooms to the mountain views and allow natural light to flood into interior spaces. Screened-in porches, covered porches, terraces, and balconies are integrated into the mountain home designs to extend the interior living spaces to the outdoors and create places to relax and entertain.
The firm designs mountain homes in a wide range of architectural styles from Craftsman, Arts and Crafts, High-Country, elegant-rustic Old World, to Mountain Modern. They feature indigenous materials brought into the interior architecture for a unified composition; whether the design expression is rustic or modern - natural stone, timbers, and ironwork are prominently featured. For a rustic expression - heavy timber trusses, beamed ceilings, oversized rustic stone fireplaces, wrought-iron stair railings, flagstone and wide-planked wood floors are utilized. For a modern interpretation - a combination of metal, wood, and stone are creatively introduced - but are edited, restrained, and streamlined.
Mountain Home virtual fly-around video
L A K E H O M E S
The firm specializes in designing lake homes from high-end luxury residences; to custom homes for families who are fortunate to live a casual lifestyle on a lake; to vacation homes and cottages for playing and relaxing. Their lake homes are designed with creativity and vision to take advantage of breathtaking lake views - with open floor plans, expanses of beautiful windows and glass doors, and wide-covered porches and open terraces, to extend the indoor spaces to the outdoors.
Their lake homes capture the unique qualities and essence of living near the water - whether it is an energetic all-sports lake or the peaceful solitude of a tranquil conservancy lake.
The lake homes created by the firm vary widely in design from classic Shingle Style, charming Cape Cod, rustic Craftsman Style, and American Vernacular; to French Normandy, Country French, English Manor, and English cottage; to Italian Villa style, Prairie style, and Mountain modern.
The firm's distinctive lake homes have been built throughout Southeastern Michigan on numerous lakes including: Orchard Lake, Upper Straits Lake, Middle Straits Lake, Wing Lake, Cass Lake, Long Lake, Commerce Lake, Crooked Lake, Brighton Lake, Strawberry Lake, Whitmore Lake, Tipsico Lake and Lake St. Clair, as well as the Detroit River; and on Northern Michigan lakes including Torch Lake and Lake Charlevoix. We have designed lake homes for Lake Norman, Lake Wylie and Lake Keowee in North and South Carolina; and for numerous other lakes throughout the Midwest and the Eastern-seaboard states.
V A C A T I O N H O M E S
Vacation homes give us a place to escape from the stresses of everyday life, a place to relax, to play, and to spend quality time with family and friends. Whether your dream vacation home is a rustic ski lodge in the mountains; an English cottage or Craftsman bungalow in the woods; or a Cape Cod style seaside cottage; the emphasis is on easy living and reconnecting with nature.
Upon embarking on the design of a vacation home, a primary consideration is the land upon which it will interact - as capturing views and feeling immersed in the surrounding environment is such an important aspect of creating an enjoyable and fulfilling vacation experience.
The ocean beach homes and lake houses created by the firm focus on capturing views of the water; while their mountain homes and cottages that are sited amidst forested land are designed to capture the most magnificent views of the surrounding landscape. They feature large expanses of glass doors and windows, wide-covered porches, and open terraces which extend the interior living spaces to the outdoors and create places to relax and entertain.
Vacation homes also provide a unique opportunity to design interior spaces that are playful, creative, and interact with nature without all of the requirements of our primary residences.
Photos of award-winning Coastal Shingle Style home
Photos of award-winning Shingle Style home
Photos of award-winning Craftsman High-Country home
P R E M I E R E P L A N C O L L E C T I O N S
A number of projects from the firm's extensive archives have been selected and compiled into fourteen exclusive and proprietary plan collections. The collections showcase diverse architectural styles and floor plans, and provide an ideal launching point to begin the creative exploration process for designing a home.
The collections are a useful tool for beginning a dialogue about style, architectural elements, design components, and the allocation of space. The diverse floor plans enable an exploration of different functional and creative relationships between interior spaces and their integration with exterior spaces. The conceptual color renderings showcase diverse architectural styles, incorporating classic design, traditional detailing, and old-world European charm, and assist in defining the creative vision, which establishes the creative direction for the project.
For clients who would prefer starting with one of these designs as a launching point for building their home, the firm offers an opportunity to purchase these plans, which they will customize to meet the client's needs and desires, site requirements, and State and local building codes.