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Coffou Cottage

Brininstool + Lynch

Shared By

dmadsen, hanley wood, llc

Project Name

Coffou Cottage

Project Status


Year Completed



2,800 sq. feet


  • Structural Engineer: C.E. Anderson & Associates
  • Christopher Barrett/Hedrich Blessing
  • General Contractor: Mulcahy Builders

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Project Description


For decades the woods and fields of Southwestern Michigan and Northwestern Indiana, with their close proximity to Lake Michigan and short travel distance from the city, have offered Chicagoans weekend reprieves from urban intensity. The owners of this cottage sought to gain a sense of privacy with their vacation property, and preferred the experience of pastoral views to the natural landscape over views to the lake waters. They were fortunate to find the land that fit their aesthetic aspirations, and subsequently desired a home that would meet their modern concept for living.
The cottage was designed with a simple structural system, and was enhanced by a horizontal wood rain screen to privatize the entry sequence on the North, and a wall of operable glass on the South. The open plan of the kitchen, dining, living area, and porch – perceived as one room - strengthens the views to the meadow and woods to the South and maximizes solar gain in the winter. Radiant heat in the ground concrete floors is enhanced by passive solar gain, and runs throughout the three-bedroom cottage. The arrangement of rooms and glass exterior walls allows for panoramic views of the outdoor environment, while providing the most energy efficient operation. A fireplace is positioned in the front hallway that divides the bedrooms from the living area, and a custom sofa bench set into the wall across from it creates a traditional fireplace inglenook.
Red cedar was used to establish a material warmth and visual interest on the exterior, using a board and batten-like pattern for an open screen, and tongue and groove siding to establish the solid form of the adjacent volume, separated by the entry sequence. The warmth of material and visual identity is continued on the interior, where the same wood siding is used on interior walls and cabinets as is on the exterior, and where the wood rain screen is visible from the screened porch and kitchen window.
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