7150 Artisan Woods, Grand Rapids, MI
This new single family home, situated on a 1- 1/2 acre wooded lot was
designed for a single, retired college professor. At 75 years of age
when she commissioned the work, the client wanted a “last, best house”
that satisfied her desire for a beautiful home which reflected her
taste, travel experiences, and interests, while also planning for the
needs of her advanced old age. This required full integration of
accessible design principles combined with a simple and compact plan
for economical operation and easy housekeeping.
Modestly sized (2546 excluding the garage), the house is divided
between two floors. The walk-out lower level (approx. 930 sq. ft.) is
designed to accommodate visiting family (the owner has four adult
children, all with families of their own), or a future live-in aide.
The main floor is 1613 sq. ft and is organized around a central
courtyard. The owner’s everyday requirements are met by the spaces on
this floor which include a front entry, powder room, living and dining
room, eat-in kitchen, master bedroom with master bath, dressing room
and laundry, mud room entry, home office and a “work room” which the
owner uses as a place to pursue craft and gardening projects.
Adjoining the house is a deck that permits two separate sitting/dining
areas and allows access to the surrounding grounds. It is punctuated
with a screened-in “teahouse”.
The owner’s affinity for Japanese art and architecture was the
inspiration for the Japanese courtyard/garden which is ringed by an “ungaro”:
an elevated walkway, bordering the garden, and is sheltered by the
deep overhanging eaves. Other features include a wall of shoji screens
separating the master bedroom from the main house, a “tokonoma” niche,
and a cedar soaking tub which is positioned for a view onto the
Special casework and cabinetry was designed for the master bath and
kitchen to allow accessibility and many other features were included
to more sympathetically accommodate an older person’s abilities.
Among these are wall hung toilets and bath/powder room countertops
positioned for wheelchair use, barrier free master shower, low height
kitchen wall cabinets, step lighting at the interior stairs, extra
wide doorways and accessible thresholds throughout.