damian farrell design group, ann arbor

The judges appreciated this project's "witty vernacular," deeming it "very appropriate for the location." Since location was one of architect Damian Farrell's primary challenges, the compliment is especially gratifying.

The clients asked for a contemporary Michigan farmhouse, even though their 4.5-acre property—heavily wooded, steeply sloped, and crisscrossed with deer tracks—is anything but farm-like. They also wanted a large gardening space.

Farrell's solution was to string the house across the site, pulling sleeping quarters and living quarters apart to create a raised terrace garden that is out of deer's reach. The terrace doubles as a play area for the clients' two small children. "We architecturally created two houses even though they are still connected," says the architect. The judges admired how the design "breaks down the scale nicely" and "creates a nice outdoor space from the massing."

project architect: Damian Farrell, Damian Farrell Design Group
general contractor: Christian Tennant, Christian Tennant Custom Homes, South Lyon, Mich.
project size: 4,700 square feet
site size: 4.5 acres
construction cost: Withheld
photographer: Fred Golden

A strolling gallery overlooking a terrace garden links the “sleeping house” and “living house.” High ceilings and clerestory windows make interiors bright and expansive.

A strolling gallery overlooking a terrace garden links the “sleeping house” and “living house.” High ceilings and clerestory windows make interiors bright and expansive.

Credit: Fred Golden