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2999 Crownview Ct. , Grand Rapids, MI:

When built in 1991, the owners wanted to build a house that would gracefully accommodate the changing  needs of their two growing children, while allowing the adults  appropriately sophisticated spaces in which they could entertain,  relax and converse with their families. They also sought to express their taste and lifestyle in a more modern fashion than what is generally available in new homes in this area.

Located on a hill top lot in a new development, the house was designed to use the steep back bank and rear view of the existing woods to best advantage. The first floor features the primary living and entertaining spaces: kitchen, living room, guest suite, and dining room. The second floor houses the master suite and private home office. The lower level contains the family room, children’s bedrooms and bath, laundry and mechanical rooms. This level is entirely concealed from the front of the house; it features extensive window groupings that frame the wooded view in the rear and patio doors that provide access to the terrace.

The dining room is the formal focus of the first floor. Located in view of the double doored entry, it is approached by a wide vestibule space which terminates in three stairs that raise the floors of the dining room and adjacent living room and kitchen. The dining room also has a lower ceiling, thus visually compressing the space and placing it in contrast to the adjacent tall spaces. The field of windows at the rear provides a living  mural of leaves and light. A two sided fireplace divides the dining  and living rooms . In contrast to the dining room, the living room’s focus is up, rather than out, as the tall ceiling emphasizes the sculptural qualities of the stair and the fireplace.

The second floor is located under the high point of the wide gable roof that covers the overall structure. The master bedroom faces the rear of the house, and the home office provides a view  overlooking the front approach to the house. Connecting these rooms are two parallel circulation spaces: an open catwalk that overlooks the living room and stairs, and a private corridor that is outfitted with the master dressing room and walkthrough bathroom.

The various components of the house are embraced by one simple roof form which visually and spatially simplifies the house. The garage door opening sets a visual motif that is repeated across the front of the house. These openings form a loggia: a covered promenade that connects the front  of the house to its side and rear. The center opening  is partially infilled with an open frame that suggests a Japanese Tori gate: an antique symbol of entrance and welcome.

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